Top Mobile App Development Solutions Platform

The inception of mobile devices and the subsequent exponential growth in the field of mobility has led to an immense opportunity and challenge both at the same time for companies, organizations and institutions. The mobile world brings with it a huge opportunity in terms of the increased reach that you can have for your products and services. The biggest challenge is to be able to provide a great user experience while being able to sell your product or service efficiently.

The mobile app for your company or organization will become your best tool to market your products or services. Depending on the domain your organization works in, your app can be either the first touch-point between you and your potential customer or can be a platform where your customers can purchase your products or services. Whatever the case, you as an organization need to make a transition towards a mobile mindset to keep your business relevant in today’s era.

There can be various factors that come into play when deciding the way forward:

1. Which mobile platform should we get our Mobile App development done?

The answer to this question will depend on who your target audience is. It is best to get some background work done to understand the device preferences (and thereby the platform) of your existing & potential customers. Based on this you can decide if you need your app to be on a single platform (say Android) or multiple platforms (say Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry).

2. Should we go for native app development or use a cross platform development?

Native apps are usually preferred if you have sufficient budget allocated for your mobile app development solution. Some of the reasons for this choice are –

  • The taste in terms of UI/UX of an Android user is different than an iPhone user. Also, the designing standards vary from one platform to another.
  • It is easier to implement hardware related functionality efficiently. E.g. gestures or geo-location.
  • Performance is better due to faster execution of code.

On the other hand, if you have limited budget but would like to target users of multiple platforms and are OK to trade-off slightly between performance and cost, cross platform application development is the way to go. With improved tools like PhoneGap & Ionic, the overall performance of these apps have also enhanced over time.

3. What should be the UI/UX for the app be?

This will depend on the nature of your business and what you want to achieve through the mobile app. As a thumb rule though, your app should be easy to use, engaging and have a clean design.

4. How do we publicize our app so that we can have maximum outreach?

You can send out e-mailers, publicize on your social media pages or send messages to your existing customers. There are professionals who can help you with marketing of your app, especially to reach out to potential customers.

5. Who should we hire for the Mobile App Development Solution?

There are many companies who provide custom mobile application development solutions. It is best to hire a company that has got enough experience and expertise in developing mobile apps, preferably in your domain of work. It is also recommended to go for a company that also provides other related services like web design and development, digital marketing, app marketing and so on. This ensures that you can have all your work done through one company and don’t have to deal with separate vendors.

Credit Repair Business Plan

Here’s the executive summary of a Credit Repair Business Plan:

  • a description of your company, including your products and/or services
  • your mission statement
  • your business’s management
  • the market and your customer
  • marketing and sales
  • your competition
  • your business’s operations
  • financial projections and plans

For someone looking for a credit repair business plan, a simple description might be “Ace Credit restoration provides credit restoration services to help consumers attain good credit and therefore have more attractive financing options. The company provides credit repair on a fee-for-service model charging $800 to $2000 per client and reaches new clients via relationships by credit-dependent professionals (real estate, car dealers, etc.), financial professionals (tax, insurance, financal planners), consumer direct marketing (internet, radio, tv, postcards), and past-client referral cultivation.

Any business plan should then talk about management, which refers to your experience. If you have experience managing a team, attention to detail, and/or financial experience, this is relevant and should be included.

When writing about your client, the consumer, you’ll find there are about 70 to 80 million americans with bad credit, many millions of whom will need to finance a home or car or other purchase and will therefore be interested in purchasing credit repair services. While some people do attempt credit repair on their own, credit is becoming increasingly complex and important. Fewer people succeed or event attempt it, and like dealing with plumbing or auto repairs, most are willing to pay a professional to get it done right.

Next, you should include a specific marketing breakdown. We have found that at first, referral relationships are a great place to start. By offering “credit repair seminars” or “lunch and learn” events to local real estate agents or car dealers, you can quickly position yourself as an expert, develop referral sources, and help them sell more homes or cars. As your business grows, you’ll want to branch out into mass media, internet marketing to increase your visibility and scale up your operations.

The next section generally will cover competition, which of course varies by market. Currently, the credit repair business is still open and largely driven on referrals at time of need, meaning people often get their credit restored when preparing to buy a home or car, or after being declined for some type of financing (i.e. a credit card at better terms than they have presently). Longer term, the internet is a massive source of business that still has substantial opportunity. One still largely untapped area needing someone to execute their credit repair business plan is in the area of social marketing (i.e. Facebook) and joint ventures with point-of-need media i.e. a referral relationship with leading real estate websites, car dealer websites, etc. who depend on attractive financing.

Next, your plan should cover operations. You can run a credit repair home based business, or you can use office space. One under-used idea is renting a desk inside a busy real estate office. This can provide more than just a professional meeting place, but the proximity of agents who depend on their clients having good financing will virtually guarantee some clients are delivered to you. This can also help embed your credit repair business into the local ecosystem of potential referring businesses such as mortgage, insurance, and financial professionals. Most real estate offices would be open to renting a desk or office within or nearby the facility. Another option for your credit repair business plan is to run a home based credit repair business, but have a set schedule at local real estate offices or car dealers to review any new files and answer questions the agents or dealers might have.

Financial projections and plans in your credit repair business plan should address startup costs and revenue, and possibly even exit such as sale of the company. Since there are systems that provide more than just software, but complete turn-key systems (similar to a franchise) including training to make you the expert, unlimited paralegal support, annual conferences, marketing support, legal support, and much more you should investigate your options.

Obviously success varies by talent, work, resources and abilities with any business opportunity. That said, we know of affiliates who have taken their credit repair business plan and executed on that plan, grossing over $100,000 per month. If you like the idea of being your own boss and earning an executive level income, we encourage you to take look at your business plan as just the first step an an exciting new venture.

Starting a Hip Hop Blog – 5 Easy Steps to Rap Profits

Are you a hip-hop artist, producer, entrepreneur or fan who wants to make money in the rap industry? Have you ever thought about starting a hip-hop blog? Believe it or not, hip-hop blogs are becoming more and more popular, and there are plenty of opportunities for hip-hop bloggers to make money online. If the idea of getting paid to share your thoughts and opinions about rap is music to your ears, here’s how to get started.

Step 1 – Choose a Domain Name and Web Host

A domain name is the website address that people will use to visit your blog. In general, you will want to choose a domain name that is easy to remember and gives people an idea of what type of content they will find on your site. Examples of things you may want to use as a domain name are:

  • Your stage name (if you are an artist)
  • Your company name (if you have an entertainment company or independent record label)
  • Your blog name
  • Catch phrases or descriptive names

Chances are, your first option for a domain name will already be taken, so be prepared with alternates.

Once you find an available domain you like, you will need to register it quickly to prevent someone else from using it. There is a small domain registration fee, but many web hosting services will waive the domain registration fee when you sign up for hosting.

Step 2 – Install WordPress

WordPress is blogging software that has been used to power over 200 million websites. There are a number of reasons WordPress is so popular:

  • Affordability – WordPress is 100% free
  • Ease of Use – It does not require any computer or programming skills to install or use
  • Highly Customizable – There are thousands of free themes and plug-ins available for download
  • Supported – WordPress has one of the largest development communities of any open source software, so it’s easy to find free technical support online

WordPress can usually be installed in less than five minutes through your web hosting control panel. Once installed, you can customize your blog by downloading the hip-hop theme of your choice and installing whichever plug-ins you want to use through your blog’s dashboard.

Step 3 – Start Publishing Hip-Hop Related Content

Once you set up your blog, you will be ready to start publishing content. In general, you will want to publish content of interest to hip-hop fans. This could include:

  • Hip-hop related news
  • Music, videos and images featuring rappers
  • Reviews of new rap music
  • Information about upcoming hip-hop events
  • Links to other hip-hop blogs

If you are a rapper or producer, you should have no problem creating content based on your own music. Similarly, if you are starting your own entertainment company or independent hip-hop record label, you can blog about the artists you’re working with. If you are not in the music business at all, you can spend a couple of hours each day reading other hip-hop blogs and write a post each day about the hottest hip-hop topics. The key is to create as many good hip-hop related posts as you can each week.

The posts you publish on your blog will eventually be “crawled” and “indexed” by the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). Once indexed, your blog will start showing up in search results for hip-hop related content. The more posts you publish and the better the quality of those posts, the better chance you have of people discovering your blog through search engines.

Step 4 – Monetize Your Blog

There are lots of ways to make money as a hip-hop blogger. Here are some of the easiest ways:

  • Join an advertising network and earn money each time someone clicks on an advertisement on your site
  • Join an affiliate program and earn commissions by recommending products and services you use to your readers
  • Install a free e-commerce plug-in and sell your own CDs, digital downloads and hip-hop related merchandise
  • Sell ad space directly to artists and labels who want to promote their music through your site
  • Turn your blog into a membership site and charge people a fee for access to exclusive content
  • Charge a small fee for each CD you review on your blog
  • Charge people to post their rap videos on your blog

These are just some of the easy ways to make money as a hip-hop blogger. Experiment with each of these methods and see which methods earn you the most cash. Or, be creative and come up with something entirely new. As long as you keep coming up with content and getting traffic, the money will come.

Step 5 – Promote Your Blog

Now that you have got your hip-hop blog up and running, you need to start promoting it. The more targeted web traffic you get, the more money you are likely to make. Therefore, it is important that your blog gets seen by as many hip-hop fans as possible. Here are some free ways to promote your hip-hop blog:

  • Add your website to as many hip-hop friendly website directories as you can
  • Become an active participant in hip-hop forums and conversations on other hip-hop blogs (be sure to include a link to your blog in your “signature”)
  • Set up pages on social media sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, and link them to your blog
  • Talk to other bloggers about reviewing your site, swapping links and possibly writing guest posts
  • Write hip-hop related articles and submit them to article directories (like this one)

By following these quick, easy steps, you can start your own hip-hop blog and be on the road to rap profits in a matter of hours.

Avon Representative Guide – How To Use Your Facebook Page To Build Your Avon Business

If you are a focused Avon representative, you will always be on the look-out to find new ways to build your business. You may know that Avon has their own Facebook Fan page, but did you know that if YOU are on Facebook, you can create your own unique following to promote your business? In this Avon representative guide, I would like to show how to use your Facebook page to build your own Avon business.

There are several benefits to creating your own fan page on Facebook to build your business. For instance, you could do a product review and post it on Facebook; you could remind people when you will be collecting and delivering orders; you could promote special offers and you can let people know the dates you are free to do parties – all from the comfort of your own home!

And who could possibly resist your very own “how-to” video, demonstrating the latest Avon product? You could also post a call to action to recruit new representatives and use the fan page to connect with and use as a training forum. This will seriously help with personal-branding and set you apart from competition.

The first page you can use is the Groups page. Find the link on the left-hand side of your Newsfeed page. If you can’t see it, click on “see more” and groups will appear in the drop down box. Although all pages look alike, you can identify a groups page by the JOIN icon in the top tabs.

Type in any area you wish to explore and simply click on links that pop up that engage your interest. This page is designed to connect you to people with shared interests. You are allowed up to 5,000 friends, so it will be easy to connect with other Avon users or representatives and communicate in a fun way.

The other page is the Fan Page, which is also located in the “see more” section. This is the place you are allowed to share your Avon business information and give and receive interactive feedback from your customers. Upload photos and videos to create fun content to keep your fan base interested and post regular updates.

Fan pages can be identified by the LIKE icon. Click on the Ads & pages button to create your own business page. Start off with the easy info and pass on anything you are not sure about. You can come back and edit the page once it is created.

As you can see in this guide, Facebook is a great resource that can be easily used in any home based business, but it is not universally known. I learnt this information whilst training to increase my own marketing skills from my mentoring centre. If you would like to find out more for yourself, make yourself a coffee, pull up a chair and click on the following link. http://www.earnyourwealth.co.uk I hope this guide has helped show how to use your Facebook page to build your Avon Business as an Avon representative.

Benefits of Magento Web Development

Do you also want to start an online business? If yes, so, this is the correct time to put your efforts into actions. And when it comes to choosing the right platform for your online business, so, the first name comes in mind is Magento. It’s because Magento is one of the most popular open source e-commerce platform that it loved not only by the e-store owners but also by countless web developers in all around the globe.

It ensures the quicker development of shopping friendly sites and it gives you a sense of achievement. If you truly want to provide a better user-experience to your users, so, you should choose this platform. It offers various benefits have a look below to know about them.

Customer interaction: It is very important to choose a Magento Web Development Service if you want to provide a customer-friendly solution to your users. Its major benefit is that it allows you to carry out features like account creation, currency conversion, customized forms and different language conversion etc. without facing any kind of trouble.

Cost-effective: Another major benefit of using Magento Web development is that it requires a very little running cost. For setting up an online business on this platform you just need to pay hosting registration cost, custom theme development, and extension cost etc.

User-friendly solution: Magento helps you to develop a user-friendly e-commerce platform, so, that one can easily modify it even without much technical knowledge. It allows you to add images, new products, and services in your catalog and can also adjust different payment gateway in an effective and efficient manner.

SEO-friendly: The major benefit of Magento that attracts the attention of various web developers is that it is an SEO-friendly platform for your e-commerce business. And allow you to easily view your SEO report and change accordingly.

Themes and Add-ons: last but not the least, Magento offers plenty of themes that help you to develop a website, which exceeds your expectations and helps you to attract customer to your site.

All the above points clear all your doubts and help you to understand that Magento is the right option for your e-commerce business. For this, you can also take the help of any Magento Web Development Company near you that help you to cater your online business needs in the best possible manner. So, what are you waiting for? Time is running out before your competitors take your customers away, you should opt for this platform. It offers you all such benefits that you are actually looking for your online business.

A Draw-Down Schedule Is Vital For Every Business Plan

Every business concept has brilliant ideas or elements in them. Unfortunately, great ideas are not enough to produce a great business. I have seen hundreds of great ideas, but few of those great ideas end up creating a new business because so many ‘would-be’ business owners lack either the experience or the expertise to successfully manage their great concepts into cash-rich businesses.

Go ahead and develop your business concept. Identify and consult all the professionals essential to the project [accountants, lawyers, engineers, designers, architects, builders, and trades ]. Now you will have a clear understanding of what is involved in completing the implementation of your project.

You have sourced competitive quotations on the costs each profession needs to charge for their professional work, the input of the various trades and the materials for each task and stage of the complete job. So eventually, you have brought all this information together with the scheduling plan of your project manager. Now you can place every task, stage and the corresponding cost into a timeline format.

So, the draw-down schedule brings together each task, the cost of that task or stage, and the time in which the work is to be completed. These are the 3 elements of a draw-down schedule.

When all this is completed you may now quantify the draw-down schedule, where you need to pay each contractor or professional as they complete their stages of your project.

How to do this? Create a timeline with markers at regular intervals, indicate each month of the project implementation phase. [Tip: Number the first month of project implementation as Month 1 etc. Therefore, if there are delays in starting, you don’t have to re-write the spreadsheet.]

Now locate each component of your project on that timeline, show when each piece of the task needs to begin, and when it should be ended. You may find that this is quite complex. If you’re doing this on paper it may take a few tries to finalise. This will depend upon the complexity of the project implementation.

If you’re recording the timeline on a computer you may need to re-sort the information a few times to get it all ordered. Now plot on this timeline axis a place for the expenditure for each component of the work. When this is done for every piece of the project you shall have a $$$ value for the amount of capital needed to pay for all the work. Make sure that you include the costs of accessing the investment funding, any commissions payable etc.

When you identify the amount of capital you and your fellow shareholders have in hand at the start, you shall be able to identify the point in time when you shall need to have access to an investor’s funds to continue the development program.

Now your ‘draw-down schedule’ is complete. This is a vital piece of information you need to bring to us, as we prepare your winning business plan. Your detailed work demonstrates to the investor that you understand the complexity of all the dimensions of the project, and have thoroughly prepared for the implementation phases of your new business venture.

For a quality business plan not only sells your investment opportunity to an investor, it also demonstrates your competence. The investor shall place a high value on your capability and preparedness, as they will on the profitability, or the impact of the project.

Make sure that you utilise great professionals to ensure that your great idea, becomes a successful new venture in every way!

5 Common Herbal Remedies For High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is the medical term used to describe high blood pressure. Blood pressure is a measurement of the force against the walls of your arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body.

Blood pressure readings are given as two numbers, 120 over 80 (written as 120/80).

The top number is your systolic pressure. It is considered high if it is over 140 most of the time.

The bottom number is your diastolic pressure. It is considered high if it is over 90 most of the time.

One or both of these numbers can be too high. There are many reasons why your blood pressure can be high sometimes it is due to heredity, ethnicity, diet, excess salt, obesity, stress or it can be brought on by another disease like kidney failure or endocrine disorders. Even worse your more likely to get high blood pressure as you get older because your blood vessels stiffen with age, that’s not surprising everything seems to go to pot as we get older.

Also consider when taking a reading, getting a high reading on one day, and normal readings on other days could be due to other factors for example one day I didn’t drink enough water during exercise, so I was very dehydrated – my blood pressure reading came out to 148/92 – when it was taken again later after I had water and rest it read 120/80 that is why it should be 148/92 or around that level most of the time for me to have high blood pressure.

The good news is that high blood pressure/hypertension can be controlled with diet and exercise.

Since I am prone to high blood pressure (family history) I have done a lot of research on the internet and in the library, where I have discovered 5 common herbs that can be used to control your blood pressure. The best part is that these items can be found in your local grocery and you won’ t have to spend a small fortune at some health food store or even at GNC.

1. Garlic – the British and Australian researchers have done studies where they have concluded that garlic reduces blood pressure significantly. One precaution garlic is an anticoagulant and may cause bruising or delay blood clotting.

2. Celery – this one is especially surprising to me – celery maybe used to help relieve gout, insomnia, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The Chinese have been using celery as a treatment for high blood pressure while of course we use pills. Precautions celery has a very high salt content which is known to raise blood pressure in some people also long term use of celery can deplete your potassium levels.

3. Pomegranates – like most fruits are filled with powerful antioxidants -Israeli researchers have found that subjects who drank at least 3 ounces of juice daily for one year reduced their blood pressure by 21%. Pomegranate juice antioxidant power is higher than what can be found in red wines or teas, research has shown it to effective in treatment for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. Preliminary studies show the juice maybe effective for use to prevent inflammatory diseases, and bacterial infections, plus it boosts your immunity. Expecting a baby this juice helps babies brains develop normally and protects their brains against prenatal brain injury.there are no precautions listed but since it is kind of sour check your sugar content, you don’t want to wipe out the benefits by drinking something that is overloaded with sugar.

4. Cocoa – now this is just awesome if you ever needed an excuse to indulge here it is but it has to be dark chocolate. Researchers having discovered that dark chocolate was higher in antioxidants than tea or red wine started to look into whether dark chocolate can help with heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. German researchers have found 3 ½ ounces of chocolate consumed daily was just as effective as taking a daily dose of your blood pressure pills. Things to watch out for chocolate does contain caffeine not as much as coffee but it can still mess with your sleep and of course some people might be allergic.

5. Ginger – the New England Journal of medicine published a study linking the use of ginger to a reduction of Heart disease and strokes because it helps lower blood pressure and prevents clots. On a personal note I have used ginger to help with nausea it is very effective for that purpose.

As with anything, even herbal remedies always check with your doctor first before using natural remedies and use common sense, over use of even natural ingredients can be bad for you. However, adding natural foods and ingredients can lead to a healthier diet which is always good for you in long run.

Emerging Trends in Business Communication

Communication is perceived as relying of messages between two or more parties. Communication has grown to more than just relaying a message. Communication is a mutual transmission of ideas, opinions and questions leading to a common understanding or in some cases misunderstandings. Communication has proved to be a make or break aspect of every business and many businesses are scrambling to keep up with the fast growing world of business communication.

Growth of business communication infrastructure.

Over the last half decade, businesses have greatly invested in modern communication systems that facilitates quick and efficient exchange of both oral and written communication. According to Cisco Systems, largest provider of business communication solutions, equipment sales have been on the rise and more notably teleconferencing equipment and internet gadgetry. In the heart of modern communication we have the internet.

High speed internet has been in high demand owing to the increasing literacy levels all over the world. In the last three years, over ten fibre optic lines have been laid down in the Indian ocean with African countries being on the forefront to connect their citizens to high speed internet. South Africa, Kenya and Ghana are the highest internet consumers in Africa. In fact, Kenya is referred by many as the Silicon Valley of Africa.

Emerging trends in business communication.

Social media. Businesses are literary taking work to where the play is. There are over 1 billion Facebook user and nearly half a billion twitter and there is no way you can ignore such numbers. Many successful businesses have established customer care teams that interact and answer customer questions using social media platforms. You can barely go thirty minutes on Facebook without coming across a business advert. Social media is both fun and cheap to use making it a preferred marketing tool.

Outsourcing. This is a cost cutting move that businesses are employing to enhance customer service and feedback collection. With advancement in technology, customer desks can be located thousands of miles away from your business establishment. A business can have a 24hrs customer's desk without paying a single cent as allowance.

Teleconferencing. Although it has been there for a while, teleconferencing has advanced with many businesses holding their AGMs remotely using telecommunication facilities.

A look into the future.

With many businesses on the final stages of recovery from the great recession, the future looks promising especially for small businesses. In a study conducted by Lloyds TSB Commercial, 42% of firms expect an increase in orders spreading over first six months of 2013. 44% are confident that sales will increase in the same time period while others are anticipating an increase in profits. Almost half of the firms involved in the study plan on allocating more to communication infrastructure and media advertising.

Leading communication firms, Huawei and ZTE expect an increase in production and sales in order to satisfy the technology hungry population. We expect business communication to receive a boost with the anticipated release of BlackBerry by RIM. BlackBerry has been the preferred business communication mobile phone owing to its advance security feature and email feature. We can not ignore the role played by tablet phones in business communication, especially presentations. Microsoft will be releasing dozens of tablets running on their new Windows8 OS that easily synchronize with your laptop or desktop. This will be a boost to office portability.

Web Design Plays an Essential Role in Website Development

Designing websites is now a major service in the fast moving world of Internet business. The number of websites to be found on the World Wide Web has mushroomed and thus so has the importance of web design to business. All burgeoning and successful companies are eager to run a successful website and every thrusting businessman wants to improve the prospects of their business via the Internet, which is why website designing has become a flourishing business in itself.

As a result, website designing now forms a critical part of the web development process. Building attractive, glamorous and easily navigable websites have far greater appeal to users than ones that are uninteresting. It is in this area that web designing plays a critical role. It is only the websites with the best web design that will win over the best users or subscribers. Therefore, websites are one of the most important tools a business can have to bring clients straight to your business and help business to achieve their full business potential.

Designing a website is a complex activity which needs a thorough understanding of the process and any agency employed needs to be able to translate your company's Internet aspirations into reality. It is much better to hire a professional web designer to serve your purpose and to build a bespoke website for your business, rather than using a template supplied by your domain provider. It is also not a good idea to outsource your requirements to other countries offering cheap web design because not only is there the possibility of language barriers so that you may not get your message across to the designer, but there may also be cultural differences which could result in a website that is not suitable for the main target audience of your products and services.

It is preferable to find a website design agency that allows you to outline your requirements clearly, perhaps by asking for your favourite colour schemes, perhaps naming three of your favourite sites so they can see what you like and who are generally prepared to listen to what you want. Being able to clearly identify your requirements at the outset will not only lead to the swift design of your website, but also avoids the unnecessary redesigning and reworking of designs. Everyone who wants a website will prefer to have it done efficiently first time around.

In order to facilitate this, there are a number of steps involved in designing a site that works well and is appealing. You need to be very clear about what you believe would best suit your business needs and your website needs to be in tune with the type of business you are operating. The site needs to be easy to navigate and user-friendly.

When choosing a designer, look carefully at their portfolio and experience and ensure they can handle complex design projects. With a little research, it is perfectly possible to find affordable web design, but research is vital for this to be effectively achieved.

How to Write a Business Plan That Works

Key components in and organisation's success will depend on a great degree on how well you;

  • can gather and interpret information
  • adapt to change
  • manage staff and resources
  • promote your business
  • look after customers and more.

This is where forward planning can help you.

A colleague once told me that 'even a bad plan is better than no plan at all'. A bad plan at least shows that you have given some thought to the direction you want to go in.

A good plan takes time and effort, especially the first time you do one and many business owners or operators think they do not have the time, or do not see the value in it. But believe me … it is worth the time and effort!

It is an opportunity for you to build solid foundations for your business, based on known facts and these allow you to:

  • be very accurate in your plans and future projections.
  • avoid unforeseen pitfalls and crisis situations
  • spend your money and / or other resources in the most effective way
  • stay ahead of the market
  • make the most of every opportunity
  • be pro active and choose your own course rather than be reactive and follow everyone else
  • stop wasting time, effort and resources on inefficient processes and more

Good business planning involves:

  • looking at what you've done in the past few years
  • looking at where you are now
  • drawing conclusions from the above two points
  • based on that information determining your objective for the coming year / s
  • setting key strategies to help achieve the objective

Analysis of Past Performance

In this section of a business plan you look at the past year (or two) to take a good look at what worked and what did not. Where you came from is every bit as important as where you are going. You need to look at:

  • What promotional activities did you run – for example did you have any discount deals, special offers etc?
  • What worked? What did not?
  • Why did the activities work so well, not so well – find the reasons
  • Advertising campaigns
  • (Again) What worked? What did not?
  • Why did the campaigns work so well, not so well – find the reasons
  • What mediums did you use? (Ie Newspapers, magazines, radio. List the actual companies you used as you may have used a number of different ones.)
  • How much did you spend on them?
  • Which ones generated enquiries and which ones did not?
  • Did you keep track of the enquiries, if so, what were the results?

Keeping statistics on where enquiries come from can help you to use your advertising budget in the most effective way. There's no point in spending a lot of money on advertising on television, for example, if most of your enquiries come from newspaper ads or word of mouth. Asking customers where they heard about you and keeping a record is the best way of determining advertising effectiveness.

  • Were there any noticeable or unusual increases or decreases in your business? If so, why did they happen?
  • Were the increases / decreases at any particular time of the year, or did they affect any particular product or service. If so why? Do a detailed analysis of product and service sales. How many of each individual product or service did you sell? Break these figures up by month (as shown in the graph above) as this will, again, show up regular high and low periods which will then allow you to forward plan. For example in high sales periods you know that you will have to order more stock and put on more staff whereas in low demand periods you order less. You can plan for these peaks and troughs in advance … because you have statistically shown that they are coming. An example of a detailed sales analysis is shown on page 15.
  • Did your competitors do anything that impacted on your business? If so, what was it?
  • How did it affect you?
  • Are they likely to do it again?
  • What did you (or could you) do about it?
  • Budgets – income and expenses. This is extremely important and we will look at this in detail later in the document. Over the years these statistics will build an extremely accurate picture of your expenditure habits and sales that will show trends. With this information you can anticipate what is going to happen and proactively avoid any pitfalls or take advantage of upcoming opportunities. You can forecast – with a fairly high degree of accuracy – how much you will earn and spend in the coming year. While you might have an accountant to look after the "book keeping" for you, it is essential that you know exactly where your money is being spent and what your income is made up of.

The answers to these and any other questions relevant to your particular industry and business will give you a solid base upon which to build your plans for the future. Knowing how you got to where you are now can show you where you went right … and where you went wrong and gives a clear

Conclusions

Looking at the above information – what conclusions can you draw? For example:

  • What will you do again next year and why?
  • What will not you do again next year and why?
  • What will you do differently and why?
  • Were there any lessons to be learned?
  • What were they?
  • Did you spend money on areas that were unsuccessful / unsuccessful?
  • How much?
  • Was this money well spent? Why / why not?
  • Which products sold well / not well?
  • Will you expand your product line?
  • Are there any products you should discontinue?

Overview of Current Situation

It is very important to have a firm grasp of your current business environment. This is where you look at what is happening around you right now. Things that are happening that could potentially have an impact on your business. This will:

  • give you a clear idea of ​​any issues that might get in the way of your plans in the foreseeable future
  • give you the opportunity and the time to take proactive action on any of these issues. This is much better than having to "react" to a change or problem that you did not anticipate.

It's like having a high powered torch in a tunnel as opposed to a match!

A good overview of your current situation will involve looking at:

  • the business environment in which you are operating
  • your strong and weak points
  • what your competitors are doing.

Business Environment Analysis

What exactly does "business environment" mean?

At its widest view point it can mean the sum total of a number of external and internal factors that affect you and the organisation you work for.

External factors could include such things as:

  • Political issues. The stability of the Government can have a dramatic affect on the country's or state's economy.
  • Legislative issues. New legislation can have an impact on your particular industry.
  • Economic Trends. Are people spending money? What are they spending it on and so forth.
  • Social Trends. What's in .. what's not? Safety & security issues as well as environmental protection issues etc are considered here.
  • Competitors. What is your competition doing and how does that affect your business?
  • Technology. This is an area that is constantly changing and can have quite an impact on the way business is done.

Also known as a PLESCT Analysis this is a thorough look at the world around you and the influences various issues may have upon your customers, suppliers and therefore your business. Doing this type of research means that you should not be caught unawares by new legislation, trends, changes or advancements. PLESCT stands for: Political, Legislative, Economic, Social, Competitor and Technology and looks at each of these sectors and how they may affect you positively – or negatively.

Doing a PLESCT Analysis

Some of the issues to consider when doing this analysis can include such things as:

Political issues. Here you should look at the general political stability of the country or state.

  • Is there an election due? People get nervous around election times and are cautious about spending / investing their money
  • Has there just been an election? In which case is the new government likely to make changes to the status quo – and if so, how will this affect you?
  • International economic and social environment – how stable is the situation?

and so on ….

For example changes in government often have an impact on businesses dealing with health, education and employment as existing programs are often changed or discontinued after an election, or new programs are introduced. International economic crises often have a big impact on our own market as does the increasing threat of terrorism or conflict situations.

Legislative issues

  • Have any new legislations been passed / or amended that affect your industry?
  • If so, what will you have to do to comply with them? How will these changes affect:
  • staff?
  • resources?
  • policies and procedures?
  • costs?
  • Do you need to obtain any licenses or permits?

For example all staff working in the childcare industry, or dealing with under 18's, must have a Blue Card, while industries dealing with tobacco or alcohol have very strict licensing laws.

Economic issues and trends

  • What is the current economic climate?
  • Does the current international climate have an effect on us?
  • Are people spending more / less money?
  • What are they spending it on?
  • Are they likely to spend it on your product or service?

For example, the cost of living is currently rising faster than wages – things such as petrol prices and interest rates are increasing rapidly and people are thinking twice about spending their hard earned money.

Social issues and trends

  • People will often be influenced in their purchase decisions by "what's IN", or may wish to keep pace with friends
  • Environmental issues such as water saving, conserving energy and so on can have an impact on people's purchasing decisions and so need to be considered
  • Cultural issues also need to be considered – people from different countries and backgrounds have views and customs that may dictate how they make their purchasing decisions.

Competitor information – This is a very important part of your business environment analysis – you need to know as much as you can about your competitors. Questions you need to ask are:

  • Who are they?
  • Where are they located?
  • How big are they (compared to you)?
  • Do they have any affiliations?
  • What are their promotional activities?
  • How do they advertise?
  • What do they advertise?
  • How does their product range compare to yours?
  • How do their prices compare to yours?
  • How does their service compare to yours?
  • What impact do they have on your business?

The answers to these questions will give you an overview of how you compare to them and what you can do to improve, and therefore win extra business.

If practical, a product / price comparison grid is an excellent way of keeping an eye on how you are faring against them.

It's also a good idea to also do a SWOT Analysis on your main competitors (next section) – you need to be able to:

  • counter their strengths
  • take advantage of their weaknesses
  • take advantage of the same opportunities and
  • maximise their threats.

Technology –

  • Is there any new technology available that will have an impact on the way you do business?
  • Is it viable for you to adopt this new technology from a cost point of view?
  • Can you afford not to adopt this new technology from an efficiency point of view?
  • What impact does the internet and electronic means of communication have on your business?

Internal influences also need to be taken into considerations and could include:

  • The overall economic state of your business. Is it doing well or not?
  • Change of ownership or management of the business. This could have a big affect on the internal workings of the company and the company morale.
  • Change of direction for the business. Are you offering new services or products?
  • Updating or upgrading of the business. New premises, new equipment etc.
  • Down or Upsizing. Are you laying off staff or hiring more?

Looking at the PLESCT Analysis and your internal influences in detail will give you a firm understanding of what is going on around you, and will help you:

  • avoid unpleasant surprises that could be costly and damaging to your business
  • stay a step ahead of your competitors
  • help you take advantage of new opportunities quickly
  • minimise the impact of negative trends …..

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis allows you to have a deep down, honest look at your organisation in terms of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and to look at ways to make you stronger.

Strengths

What are your organisations strong points? For example:

  • Do you have a great location?
  • Is it easily accessible?
  • Is it a long established company?
  • Does it have an excellent reputation?
  • Does if offer anything unique?
  • Do you have a lot of repeat business?
  • Are your prices the best?
  • Are you a market leader?

and so on.

Weaknesses

What are your organisations weaknesses? For example:

  • Is it a newly established business and not yet well known
  • Is the infrastructure in the surrounding area poor making it difficult for customers to get to you?
  • Are there any problems with suppliers or staff?

and so on. A point to remember is that not all weaknesses are negative and could be viewed as opportunities for improvement.

Opportunities

What opportunities are there that you could take advantage of? For example:

  • New legislation opening new markets to you
  • New housing or business developments bringing new customers into your area
  • New technology that will make your production or processes more efficient
  • Introduction of new product or service lines that will increase revenue

and so on.

Threats

What things could stop you from achieving your goals? For example:

  • A new competitor in the marketplace
  • A change in legislation that will mean major changes to your business practices.
  • Re-zoning of your area or roadways changing and taking customers away from their current routes (where you are located)

and so on.

Conclusion:

When looking at your SWOT Analysis what areas need to be addressed?

  • Strengths – what can you do to capitalise or maximise on them?
  • Weaknesses – what can you do to minimise or negate their impact. Which of them can be turned around to become a strength?
  • Opportunities – what do you need to do to take advantage of these opportunities? How can you ensure you get your slice of this opportunity?
  • Threats – what can you do to avoid or minimise the impact of the threat?

The answers to these questions will form part of your business plan.

Objective for Next Year

Having looked at your past analysis and current business situation you should now have a solid grasp of your business and where it needs to go to remain successful. Your endeavours to date will now give you a clear direction – or objectives – to aim for in the next one to three years.

One overall objective will have a number of Key Strategies – each of which will, in turn, have a set of tactics designed to help achieve each strategy and therefore the ultimate goal.

  • Your objective is WHERE you want to be in a given period of time (ideally 1 – 3 years0
  • Your Key Strategies are WHAT you need to do to achieve the objective and
  • Your Tactics are HOW you are going to go about actually making it work

Key Strategies

The objective, as stated, is where you want to be. The key strategies are the issues you need to address in order to achieve the objective; WHAT needs to happen. For example if your objective is to increase your revenue by 10% over the previous year, then typical key strategies could be:

  1. Introduce a new product range to fill an identified market need
  2. Decrease expenditure by 15%
  3. Increase your customer base by 10%

All of which would work towards achieving the overall objective.

Obviously strategies will be determined by your own business and industry needs, so think about the things you need to do to achieve your goal.

Tactics

Each strategy will have a series of tactics (or steps) that need to be taken to make that strategy work. As mentioned, these will outline HOW you will go about each strategy. For example.

Key Stratey 2: Decrease expenditure by 15%

2.1 – Review all current suppliers to ensure we are getting the best product for the best price

  • 2.1.1 Offer tender opportunitities to new suppliers
  • 2.1.2 Research new suppliers via web, phone calls etc
  • 2.1.3 Review all suppliers on an annual basis.

2.2 – Introduce new procedures regarding unnecessary printing of emails and other documents to decrease amount of paper being used

2.3 – Re-use single sided documents as scrap paper / memo pads to save paper

2.4 – All electrical equipment and lights to be turned off when not in use

2.5 – Review discounting policy and determine if this could be replaced in a more cost effective manner

2.6 – Review consumable usages

and so on.

Once again, the tactics will depend entirely on what strategies you need to fulfil and should be as detailed as possible. These tactics will form part of your action plan. If there is a cost involved, or extra resources, then detail them here.

Sales Forecast for Next Year

Forecasting is neither as scary nor as complicated as it sounds – if you keep accurate sales records!

Sales forecasting means making an "educated" guess on how much revenue you will earn in the coming year and for this reason accurate records are essential and indispensable. You need to know where your sales came from – by product or service and even by month or week of sale. This may seem overkill but eventually this data will give you a complete and detailed picture of exactly how your business is performing. For example spikes (up or down) in sales figures do not happen for no reason – detailed statistics can show up these spikes which might be due to such things as:

  • Promotional or advertising campaigns
  • New trends
  • New products
  • Competitor initiatives
  • Seasonal fluctuations
  • Economic climates and so on ….

For example – the Tourism Industry is very much affected by high and low seasons. They usually know well in advance when demand will increase or decrease. Travelling to Europe in their winter is low season and demand is not as high as going in their spring or summer time. Knowing this tourism operators can plan for these periods by developing specific products designed to increase sales and take advantage of increased demand in high season. They can also accurately forecast revenue because they have a solid knowledge of who their customers are and when they travel on a month by month basis.

The same may well apply to your own industry.

A review of past years sales statistics can give you an excellent idea of ​​how your sales happen on a month by month basis. You can read the trends like a story – allowing you to estimate with a large degree of accuracy what sales you can expect to make and know how much you will need to spend in the next year.

But what good does all this do you in forecasting? When you have collected this data for a number of years you can start to build up a picture of:

  • peaks and troughs in your sales
  • popular and less popular products,
  • popular times of the year
  • effects of advertising and / or promotional campaigns and so on

Sales figures rarely drop (or increase) for no good reason .. the trick is to be aware of what is going on around you so that you know why increases or decreases happen. This is where your PLESCT and SWOT prove valuable.

Armed with all this accurate and well researched information you should be able to make a reasonably accurate prediction on how many of each product you will sell in the coming year.

Action Plan

Points for your action plan will come from the tactics. By putting them into an actual action plan, detailing what needs to be done, by whom and by when, you can ensure that each task (or tactic) is done on time and will therefore take you that step closer to reaching your objective.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is basically it!

By following these logical steps you can:

  • gain a greater awareness of the environment in which you operate
  • avoid major pitfalls that may come your way
  • realise your strengths
  • overcome weak points
  • take advantage of opportunities that are presented to you and much more

A building for the Templates better business plan can be found on Www.lptraining.com.au