Creating a business plan can take months, but the document is helpful in launching a successful business, and obtaining investors and loans.
Marcus Carr, who has more than 25 years of businesses management experience and entrepreneur expertise, discussed the benefits of having such a plan.
As the project director of the Central Texas Business Resource Center, Carr delivers business counseling and training for potential and existing small-business owners.
Carr was a managing partner of a Hereford cattle company and worked more than seven years as general manager of a family-owned concrete company. He owned two Internet-based businesses before selling them to other individuals.
As part of the center, Marcus has earned several awards, including Best New Chamber of Commerce Program in Texas in 2006 from the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives and the Quality of Life Award for Exceptional Quality of Life Partnerships in 2009 from the secretary of the Army.
He also is a member of several local civic groups, including Killeen Volunteers Inc., Killeen-Heights Rotary Club, NAACP, LULAC and the Regional Hispanic Contractor’s Association.
How can creating a business plan help someone operate a business?
I work with many individuals that come see me when they have an idea or recognize a potential business opportunity. An idea is just an idea until you actually put it down on paper.
A business plan forces you to think about how that idea will provide an opportunity for a successful business venture. Many people focus on the cosmetics of a business opportunity and don’t realize what it actually takes to make that business a true reality. A business plan helps you to think through the starting up and operating of a business on a daily basis.
It forces you to map it all out on paper to be sure that you have thought of almost everything. Overall, a well-developed business plan will help you be better prepared for conducting the business and managing risk.
What is the most important thing to remember when creating a business plan?
You have to conduct the right market research to determine if a business is feasible and will potentially be a success.
There are two types of market research that can be analyzed. Primary research is data obtained specifically for the business venture. Secondary research is information that has already been gathered for another business or purpose.
The research data is analyzed and used to make key business decisions for the business plan. Collecting the right kind of information is crucial and helps with the decision making in any kind of business venture. In most cases, the right research will help determine the profitability of a business.
What should a business plan always include?
At a minimum, a well-developed business plan for a startup venture contains information about the background and performance of the business’ industry.
There should be a snapshot of the management team, credentials and an overview of organization structure.
An overview of the product or service being offered with an explanation of the value and details of the features and benefits to customers should be provided.
The plan contains a profile of the potential customer and identifies the target market.
A competitive analysis explains as much as possible about the current competition and the business’ position in the marketplace.
The marketing section describes marketing strategies that will be used, and how the business will be advertised and promoted.
There should be financial projections for a minimum of three years and an overview of the profitability that is to be expected.
Does creating a business plan contribute to the success and longevity of businesses? Do you know of any brief success stories you can share?
Planning is important for any organization that wants to approach the future with a plan of action.
Studies show that failure rates among new businesses based on a business plan are significantly lower than for new businesses without a plan (www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/01/small-business-successfailure-rates/). A business plan can be a tool to help anticipate the future and make well-informed decisions, because you have thought about the alternatives you will be faced with. Without a plan, there is no meaningful way to evaluate the results of your business actions, and then future actions won’t be based on a revised plan but rather revised instinct. That makes it difficult to communicate goals and objectives in the business organization. I personally have found that most people will respond better with important decision-making in their business when they have already thought of not only how they will begin, but also in how they would like to end the venture (startup and exit strategy).
If someone is looking to start a business, where should they go to learn the process of creating a proper business plan?
A Business Plan Boot Camp is being offered at the Central Texas Business Resource Center located inside the Killeen Workforce Center, 300 Cheyenne, Killeen. The event costs $45 per person and is to be conducted Dec. 18 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Interested individuals should contact the center to reserve a seat by calling 254-200-2001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Central Texas Business Resource Center provides high-quality business counseling, training, and assistance to potential and existing small-business owners, including the selfemployed. Topics discussed include anything from starting a new business to researching and writing a well-developed business plan.
Regularly scheduled workshops are available throughout the work week at the Killeen Workforce Center and other various locations in the region.