Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is Self Employment for you?

There is a great article on the self-employment on Michael Gerber’s Blog today entitled The Self-Employment Myth. For those of you not familiar with Michaels work, he is a well-known American authority on small business issues and his main idea is that, if you want your business to be successful, you need to create it in such a way that you are able to duplicate the business without you as the driving force behind it. As so many small businesses and even larger organisations heavily rely on the owner to create value and run the business itself, this type of business will provide you as the owner with little more than a highly stressful job.

Whether you agree with this or not, it is an interesting point to consider, especially if you are building a business which you want to franchise or sell in the long term.



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Business Plans

What are business plans if it is not your best attempt at predicting what will happen with your business idea or concept and how it may turn out over a certain period?

As with any type of plan, the more specific the details the better the odds of the implementation stage being successful. I am often surprised at the vague plans with which people come up. After a recent talk I gave on business planning, the dean of a university business school who was attending admitted that even at her level of professional achievement, the business plans for different departments within the business school lacked the type of detail I was referring to. “I now realise that without being aware of it my team may see the business planning process as a bit of a ‘going through the motions’ process and hence the plans we come up with rarely contributes to the achievement of our goals.” This was a real eye opener for her and I am now working with them on their next series of plans to add detail and ‘realness’ to what they are planning.

How many of us have found ourselves carrying out tasks or processes for which we are not prepared. When this happens we miss the opportunity to perform at our best. Business planning helps us to be prepared for what is coming. Yes, I can hear you say that we don’t always no what is coming and cant prepare for everything. That is certainly true and imagine how tedious life would be if we could really see into the future, but being prepared for various scenarios, especially as far as resource availability and backup is concerned will go a long way towards you and your team turning the unexpected into a unexpected success.

This week, I’ve been reading two books that try to predict where we are going in terms of technology, our economy, health and culture. They are remarkable, exciting, and at times frightening, but they generally base their arguments on two fundamental assumptions. (I’ll be reviewing both books in my Blog in weeks to come, so look out for that. )

First, they assume that the future will tend to look like the present, only more so. They assume that trends and patterns continue over time, and so, for instance, they predict a continued focus on the environment. If your life continues the way it is, where will that take you? This is a vital question!

The second assumption is that people can and do change their minds. For our culture the future is to some degree unpredictable because people change direction. They learn from their mistakes and take corrective action. Nations and cultures, like individuals, respond to new information, make decisions and re-invent themselves.

You have that power! You have the ability to choose the life you want, if you are willing to do so.

The point is, you are in charge of your business and effective planning whether a business plan, growth plans or weekly performance or sales plan, puts your hands on the steering wheel of your business and ensures that you drive it to the destination that you choose!

When you look back on your life five years from now you will see that your business and your life is a combination of the trends and patterns can you today plus of course the changes you chose to make. Hopefully, your business or business plans will take into consideration what you read today. Hopefully, you’ll choose to continue many of the relationships, patterns and habits you’ve developed to this point.

I trust that you’ll choose some changes. I trust you’ll choose to up-grade some things, eliminate other things, and perhaps add a few new habits and beliefs. There may be skills you’ll want to learn, or habits you’ll decide to cancel.

The woman who talked to me after my speech was proud of the achievements. But she was embarrassed that luck, habit and momentum had played too large a role in her department. If you’ve allowed habit and momentum to run your life, I certainly hope you have that same kind of good luck, but don’t count on it! Take charge! Choose the life you truly want, develop a strategy to achieve it, and take action. This is your life. Make it a good one!


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

FNB Enablis Business Launchpad 2009

The FNB and Enablis recently launched the 2009 version of it's business launchpad competition for new and growing businesses. The business plan competition which has been an annual event in South Africa since 2005 is a extremely welcome addition to the South African entrepreneurial landscape, supporting new and growing businesses and assisting those who want to bring their business ideas into reality.

"The Business LaunchPad competition aims to create an opportunity for anyone with a business idea or existing business, and who finds it difficult to secure conventional commercial funding, to be considered for access to start-up or expansion funding.

The competition process evaluates all the entries and scores them on the basis of their business viability and suitability for the funding criteria of the competition’s funding partners.

The process of entering the competition often assists the entrepreneur to clarify, refine and focus their business idea, which in itself is a valuable step."

The competition asks businesses or people with business ideas to submit a business plan, outlining its ideas and how these can be brought to market. With a range of attractive prizes on offer, this competition is not to be missed.

Best of luck with your entries,

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

SA Business Planning Seminar Series - How we promoted it

If you want to replicate the success we are having with promoting the SA Business Planning Seminar Series Launch, here are a few greta tools. Weve had great success with the marketing of the event, and most of itis free. Thats the secret behind the low cost of the events itself. Obevious you know by now that we are using this blog as one of our main strategies, not only because of our many readers but also as its well indexed on Google. Search for Business Planning event on google and see how easy you find us.

In adition, The SA Business Planning Seminar Series Launch is broadcasted on the Open Press website this week. A great free PR tool for businesses promoting events or news the Open Press can be used by anyone with something newsworthy to say about their organisation.

This is a great free tool for small firms especially. We also used a number of other sites to get the word out such as Free Press Release as well as South Africa's premier PR website, Biz Community.

So the great thing here is that just because you may have a limited marketing budget because you want to maximize value vs price for your clients, it does not mean that you can not get the word out very fast and effectively.

Till next time,

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Business Plan Workshop

For those of you who are regular readers in South Africa , as well as those who may have stumbled accross the blog from annother site or search engine, come and join us for a business planning workshop in a city near you.

Here is a shortened version of the blurb:
Come and write your business plan with us. Our team of accountants and ex business bankers know exactly what you have to do to gain funding for your business. Having worked with hundreds of business owners to successfully draw up business plans that work, the people at this workshop will help you to walk away with a winning recipe and business plan that will work for you. You come away inspired and, most significantly, you leave carrying brand new insights to dramatically enhance your own success.

Hope to see you there,

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