Business Consultant Business Plan: Leave the Holes

Today we are going to talk about your business consultant business plan and I am going to challenge you to leave the hole. Let me explain what I mean. As consultants we do a lot of thinking. Our job is to think on behalf of our clients, but when it comes to our own business we think too much. Whether you are creating your first business plan or fifth generation new growth plan, I am going to challenge you to leave the hole. Don’t try to think through all the iterations before you actually roll the plan out. Don’t try to come up with every contingency, every plan A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Do your best to come up with sharp thinking, trust your thinking, and then roll the plan.

Old Mindset: Holes are bad and you must fill them. The old mindset that most of us have is that holes are bad and you must fix them. There is a fear that comes along with holes. We don’t want anybody to assume we haven’t thought our plan all the way through; we don’t want the public embarrassment. However, one thing about holes is that holes don’t make mistakes. If you allow your fear of failure to drive you, you will rush to create a new process to solve for a problem that may not exist at all. That rushed process can create plenty of mistakes. But if you have the courage to leave the hole then no new problems will arise. You can manage the situation with more patience and savvy.

Also, consider that a hole is a legitimate data point. Customer complaints are data. Lost revenue is data. Low employee morale is data. Even if you get a zero as the specific output, that is a data point as well. The holes you find are prompts to ask great questions. Think about how the work is supposed to be done. If you realize a hole, this is an opportunity to brainstorm around how the hole got there and solve for the root cause.

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Business Plan Development – Free Government Resources to Aid in Business Planning

In your quest to develop your business plan you will want to obtain information regarding industry analysis, legal and regulatory statutes, manufacturing, training and counseling, and maybe corporate financials and international information and data. This is just a few of the areas you can research through our government’s online resources. Though they are free and free is often synonymous with undervalued they are indeed not free. Your tax dollars pay for them and the information is rich and vast. These government resources are put there to help you succeed so there is no better place to start your research than with the resources you pay for. The U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration, Internal Revenue Service, The State Department, FedStats, Export.gov, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission all have information that you will find helpful. I will talk a little about each one, what they do, and how you can use them.

The first place you may want to start with your investigation on industry analysis is through The Department of Commerce. The DoC is comprised of twelve separate agencies responsible for many things regarding business from weather forecasts to patent protection. Their mission statement states exactly what they do and there is no better way to sum it up, “The DoC touches the daily lives of the American people in many ways, with a wide range of responsibilities in the areas of trade, economic development, technology, entrepreneurship and business development, environmental stewardship, and statistical research and analysis.” There is much to the DoC and they also are a portal to several other government agencies and partners that you may find useful.

The U.S. Census Bureau, a derivative of the DoC, is a great resource for industry analysis and they are arguably the most important branch of the DoC for demographic information ranging from population breakdown, income, education levels, and housing to name just a few which you can find in the Peoples and Households section of their website. The Census Bureau also collects massive amounts of data on economic activity. You may need to search the industry code for the particular type of business you’re in or looking for, by searching its NAICS code. You can break information down from a national level and/or by zip code for information on total number of businesses as well as types and average sales in their business and industry section. They also have information on foreign trade and so much more. The fact of the matter is that there is so much data that the U.S. Census Bureau has accumulated it may seem daunting. It is in fact a huge database with so many useful links that I have to write three paragraphs about all the different links worth noting. You should spend some time navigating around, taking notes, and leaving yourself a trail of breadcrumbs one way or another so that you can remember just how you got from place to place.

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How To Develop A Successful Business Plan

Make Sure You Have A Business Plan

The first point to keep in mind about business plans is… have a business plan! This may seem obvious but is overlooked. Many people start businesses without a plan; sometimes it can come from sheer bravado, thinking “I don’t need a plan”, or alternatively you might hear “It’s all inside my head, that’s my business plan”. The reality is no matter how much you work with things in your head, no matter how confident you may be and how much you think you already have a great vision for your business, there are so many great reasons why you should get it down on paper.

Most of all if you are seeking funding for your business, it will be absolutely crucial to go along and show someone an actual plan, because there will be very few people who will loan you money on the basis of what’s just in your head. So it’s pivotal to have a plan and be committed to preparing that document. If you are someone who shies away from planning, or you don’t like writing or preparing documents, nevertheless you are going to have to force yourself on this occasion. I say that because it is such a key document for the future success of your business, such a tool throughout its development to return and refer to.

Have An Overall Vision

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