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

Fox Creek Spring

Fox Creek Spring

Small Business 101: Condensed

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

 

 

 

Customer Service 101: Condensed

Tuesday April 4th 2017

 

Price Yourself Right Workshop

Wednesday, April 5th 2017

 

Registration is now open – Register to reserve your spot by clicking one or more of the Workshop Choices Below.

All the workshops:

  • Are free but require a $10 deposit to hold the space due to limited seating.
  • Located at Timber Ridge Inn and Suites in Fox Creek
  • From 7pm – 9pm

Small Business 101 Condensed

Monday April 3rd

By the end of this condensed version of the Small Business 101 workshop, participants will understand how to:
· start a business
· develop a business plan
· get financing for your business

Customer Service 101 Condensed

In this 2 hour condensed workshop, we’ll cover the customer service basics that will bring your customers back for more.

By the end of this session, participants will know how to:

  • Recognize how attitude affects customer service
  • Identify your customers’ needs
  • Use outstanding customer service to generate return business
  • Build good will through in-person customer service
  • Deal with difficult customers

Price Yourself Right Workshop

In this workshop, participants will learn how to juggle multiple variables to determine pricing that works for their product and service and the market they serve. Great for start-ups and expansions to determine the right pricing for satisfaction and growth.

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.

 

A Home Office or an Office Office for your small business?

A conversation this afternoon reminded me that while for some people working at home is the best of all worlds, for others working from home can be murder on productivity. For some businesses, working from home is not even an option. So if you know that’s true for you, you can pretty much skip this post. You’ll want to search the articles tagged “Storefront Options”.

For those who do have a choice – photographers, nail techs, massage therapists, plumbers, painters and so on – you have a significant choice to make. And the decision will be based upon a multitude of factors from your personality, your brand as a business, the industry you’re involved in and what challenges are easier for you to deal with. Both choices – in-home and out-of-home operations have advantages and disadvantages, but which side of the list they fall on depends largely on you.

For instance, while working from a home office can make it easier to engage in hands-on parenting, many find that the interruptions and emergencies can lead to an inability to fully focus on either part of your life fully. Alternatively, you may find that it feels like you’re working ALL THE TIME. When you work from home it can hard to delineate when work hours end and family hours begin – especially if you’re trying to fit in full-time hours with a ground-floor or start-up business around an active household.

Work at home entrepreneurs sometimes find that they get less respect for their space and their time than the conventional business owner. This can be especially true of creative or online endeavours, like writing or internet marketing. People may feel they can drop in unannounced for coffee or want to impose with errands for you to do “since you’re at home”. If you’re a passive person by nature it can be hard (but essential) to set (and enforce) solid boundaries to ensure your business gets the attention that it deserves.

An out of home office represents a (sometimes significant) regular set of bills to pay each month in addition to your home expenses. While some people see this as stress they don’t need during the start-up stages, others find it’s exactly the motivation they need to really put their plans into action from the start. Bills to pay can be effective prevention for procrastination. Or add so much pressure that you feel like you can’t function.

No matter what you decide, remember you can always make a new decision if things don’t work out the way you planned. Well at least you can if you don’t commit a long term lease on that out of the house office space or renovate your house to make office space until you’re certain what type of situation is going to work best for you and your business.

If you need help weighing the pros and cons, get in touch to book a coaching session to address your start up questions.