Beta Testers Wanted

Beta Testers Wanted

Your feedback could help revolutionize the business plan

  • Fact: Businesses with a formal business plan last longer and make more than businesses without
  • Fact: Only 35% of small business owners complete a business plan

Conclusion: There has to be a better way!

To support business success in our region, our goal is to have more business owners in the region complete a business plan. Even if a business doesn’t need outside funding, it still needs an internal roadmap to guide operations. A business plan doesn’t have to be fancy or comprehensive to be effective, but it does have to exist.

We’re experimenting with a new business plan writing and presentation system that we’ve been calling “The five page business plan” and we need testers to make sure that the process and the plans work in the real world. So, if you’ve been putting off writing a business plan because it seems too complicated and time consuming and you meet our requirements below, sign up to become a beta tester for the Five Page Business Plan.

Beta Testers must:

  • Live or work in the Yellowhead East region
  • Score 50 or more on the Entrepreneurial Aptitude Survey
  • Own a business or have a desire to start or expand your business in the next 6-12 months
  • Be willing to provide timely feedback on lessons and process
What's a beta tester?

A beta test is an external pilot test of a product or service. In a beta test, the product is released to selected customers for testing under normal, everyday conditions. This process helps spot the remaining flaws and identify areas needing improvement. The participants or selected customers are called beta testers.

In this case, you’ll be testing a new system for developing business plans that we’re hoping will simplify and streamline the process. It’s in the form of an online self study training course that walks participants through all the elements of developing a five page business plan.

 

How much does it cost?

Nothing. There is zero cost to you other than your time and your feedback.

Business planning is one of our core services and we never charge for help with business planning for any of the business owners or prospective business owners in the Yellowhead East.

 

How long will it take?

That depends on how much time you are able to devote to the plan. The program is currently formatted as an online self study workshop that can take one to five weeks to complete. Though it may take longer depending on your circumstances, part of the testing is to see how long it takes with real schedules and real business ideas. Both of the source training programs that these were derived from took five full (6-7 hour) days to cover the content, but this is unrealistic for most people. Which is one reason why we’re testing this style of delivery.

Other questions we’ll be asking include:

  • Can we maintain the quality and the flow of content without the live interaction?
  • Will the resulting business plans be sufficient for assessing a business for loan consideration?
  • Is the process easy to understand and navigate?
  • Do participants enjoy the process?
What kind of feedback will I need to give?

Each lesson will be followed by a brief survey – generally looking at whether it was easy to understand and easy to apply to your own five page business plan. At the end of the series, you’ll be asked to submit your business plan so we can score it for completeness and you’ll be invited to participate in an interview for your thoughts on the plan and the overall process.

More Questions?

If you have any more questions before signing up, please email me at pkorchinski@cfyellowheadeast.ca

Work on your business not in your business

Work ON your business, not IN your business

a post on leadership and business planning

Owning a business can seem like the best thing in the world. When you’re in the planning and dreaming stage it seems like you’ll have more freedom, time and money. In fact, you probably had visions of spending a lot of time at the beach or on the golf course as you made your plans.

Then reality set in and you soon realized that your business is a daily drudge and worse than a regular job. You start feeling like you want to run away, escape and end your business. But, the truth is, all you need to do is change a few things so that you can work on your business and not in it.

* Change Your Mindset – It can be hard, after years of having an employee mindset, to switch to an ownership and entrepreneurial mindset. It’s time for you to start thinking like an owner, or at least a manager by setting up systems, delegating tasks, and finding ways to do less but still get more done.

* Set Up Systems and Standards – When you set up systems and standards, it will be a lot easier to get people to help you with your business. You’ll have a clear understanding of what needs to be done each day and which things you must do compared to which things your contractors or employees can do.

* Use the Right Tools – Part of setting up systems is to use technology and other tools to help you make the most of your time. Technology such as email autoresponders, customer management, project management, cloud storage and more is important to use as you can afford in order to make the most of your time.

* Plan for Success in Advance – Don’t just work by putting out fires, instead make plans of what you’re going to do each day, week, month, quarter and year. Planning out basic tasks and duties far in advance will give you time to include additional tasks at the last minute as your industry demands.

* Outsource Strategically – When you outsource, ask yourself whether or not that particular task needs your special touch or not. Many tasks, like customer service, data entry, posting blog posts, social media marketing, email marketing and so forth are all things that someone else can do successfully.

* Provide the Right Training – When you outsource to anyone, even though you’ll likely outsource to a specialist, you want to provide training about your business and your processes. Don’t control the process or their function, but rather control the due dates, quality and style which the deliverables will take.

* Delegate and Compensate Fairly – When you outsource to someone, you need to ensure that who you delegate to can do the job, but you also want to pay them fairly. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking they can get something for nothing or near nothing and still get what they need. In truth, you get what you pay for. If you want to command higher rates, you need to be willing to pay for expert help.

* Attract the Right Clients – One thing that will make your business less of a drudge is if you ensure that your marketing efforts are working to attract the right customers to your business. The right customers will be a joy to work with, and you’ll have fewer fires to put out and fewer mistakes to fix.

* Set Your Fees High Enough – Many small business owners make the mistake of setting their rates too low. You need to set them high enough to provide for your family in the manner you deserve commensurate with the type of business you have and who your audience is. For example, high end life coaches will pay more for your personalized services than an internet marketer who uses “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris as their bible.

When you set up the right systems and use the right tools, you’ll be able to manage your business in a successful way that creates the success you deserve.

Pulling it all together begins with a business plan. A task that is made much bigger by the myths that surround business planning. Which is why I’ve developed a business plan bootcamp to help business owners get the plan out of their head and onto paper where it can be worked towards rather than dreamed about.

Join the Business Plan Bootcamp - Live - FREE - December 16

Register Now

How to Prepare Your Business for Future Growth

How to Prepare Your Business for Future Growth

How to Prepare Your Business for Future Growth

8 Aspects to Include in Your Growth Business Plan

If you’re planning on growing your business in the next year, it’s highly advisable to update your business plan to reflect your growing vision. Believe it or not, growing a business takes more thought than just making more sales. You could end up in a bad situation where you’re making more sales than your business can support. It can cause a serious problem with trust from the consumer, and can actually totally ruin your entire business. Better to be ready for future growth.

Here are 8 things you’ll want to consider integrating into your growth business plan. Most people neglect to consider these things in the startup stage, especially if they started with the “fly by the seat of your pants” method.

* Create Standard Operating Procedures – Every single business from a fast food restaurant to a service provider can improve their business by creating standard operating procedures. When you have procedures in place that are repeatable, you’ll experience smoother growing pains and even encourage growth.

* Save Money for Higher Expenses – When your business grows, expenses go up. Whether it’s marketing and advertising, materials, costs for contractors and so forth, you’ll spend a little more on expenses. But, if you’re ready for the higher costs (which can sometimes kick in prior to experiencing the revenue), it’ll go smoother.

* Set Up the Right Software – There are numerous types of cloud-based software that you’re going to need in your business. Whether it’s shopping cart software or a website, you need to ensure that what you’ve chosen is scalable. You don’t want to pay for more than you use, and you want to make sure it scales easily.

* Use Automation Carefully – Today you can automate so much, from social media to even accounting. But, it’s important to choose which things should be automated and which should not. Generally anything to do with engagement should not be automated, and anything that keeps you from having to do data entry should be.

* Put an Accounting System in Place – If you’re currently doing your accounting by hand and you want to grow, it’s going to be best to create an accounting system that is automated and done by a professional. You can do this with many programs, from Go Daddy Bookkeeping to QuickBooks to Quicken.

* Identify Holes in Skills – Sometimes when you want to expand there is a problem when it comes to skills. For example, if you have a service-based business such as a website building business, you’re going to have to hire people like yourself in order to scale up.

* Improve Social Media Accounts – As you seek growth, focus more on your social media accounts. Upgrade them, ensure there is a branding match across networks, and then hire someone to keep your accounts up to date and create a social media marketing strategy.

* Make Contact with Appropriate Contractors – You’re going to have to hire contractors or employees as you ramp up your business and plan for future growth. It depends on the type of business you have, but if you make contact now and get to know people now, you’ll be ready.

If you’re not ready for growth, you can actually end up losing your business. The reason is that you could end up making promises you can’t keep, or having to turn away people due to lack of supply. This can be really hard to take. But, if you prepare in advance you’ll be ready for future business growth.

If you want to build growth into your business in 2017, you won’t want to miss the free webinar on business planning on December 16th.

 

Join the Business Plan Bootcamp - Live - FREE - December 16

Register Now

The most wonderful time of the year

The most wonderful time of the year

Most people look forward to December due to the holiday season and festivities. Don’t get me wrong, I do too! But what has really got me excited in December over the past three years has been planning. Yeah, I know, it doesn’t sound exciting, but it is!

Planning, for me, has been the true difference between letting life happen and being my own boss. It’s been a hard fought battle. Partly because I’m stubborn and partly because I was misinformed about what planning and setting goals was all about.

When I started my first home based business nearly 20 years ago, I didn’t have a clue what a business plan entailed. I thought because I didn’t need money to start my venture (I had no credit and I had no idea that places like Community Futures existed back then!) that a plan was a waste of time and effort. I was wrong, but I wouldn’t learn that for another five years.

And even then, I was resistant to a formal business plan.

I’m a creative. I don’t like rigidity. No one is going to see it but me, why do I need to write it down.

I had a lot of excuses. And all they did was blind me from opportunity, limit my growth and left a boatload of money on the table.

I can see that now. The 20/20 vision of hindsight is both a gift and curse.

So now, I’m on the other side. And a huge proponent of business plans. Whether you need outside money to get your dream rolling or not. And so I’m thrilled that Lynette Chandler’s Blog Energizer let me know that December is officially “Write a business plan month”

I don’t know how long this month has been celebrated or who invented it, but this month…I’ll be rolling with it. And sharing tons of tools and resources for you to get rolling on your business plan if you don’t have one already.

The fact is that businesses that have a plan in place last longer and make more than those who don’t.

So what’s your excuse? Let’s break through the barriers this month and make it happen.