What's On Your Business Wishlist?
This is day one of powerful business planning with barbara findlay skank, as I said, bob has been with us before we're really excited to welcome her back she's in marketing and business strategist use a small business advocates who helps business leaders start brand market and eventually sell their companies and she's going to talk me a lot about that in the next couple of days. She's worked with hundreds of businesses over the years, and she shares her advice in what is a shelf full off the for dummies action. You see some of them here on the set and she's going to be talking about that the for dummies books. In addition, she's, a columnist for msn she's, a well known speaker international conferences I'm really excited to welcome back to creative life. Barbarous finley skank welcome bob it's, so nice to see you welcome back to creating life way really excited tomorrow morning we're going to be talking peace well, we really appreciate you him in front of a camera you win that deserves...
a vote for a crunchy award don't do go online and click I already did today, so appreciate that. Well, I'm gonna get out of the way, there's a click up we're looking forward to getting going, looking forward to some of the chat rooms and the questions barbara take it away thank you so much. Welcome to powerful business planning two days dedicated to nothing but putting your business in the fast track to success because you are in a crowded environment. Whether you are thinking about starting a business, starting a business, turning a business around from a struggling situation, taking a business to all new heights, you are surrounded by many others. Tens of thousands of businesses there started every single year, and tens of millions of businesses small businesses are already in existence, according to u s tax returns alone, so times that in the world and there are a lot of people out there, and a lot of them are not succeeding. One out of three businesses fails before its first birthday, and only one of five makes it to a fifth anniversary. It's not for lack of hope, it's, for lack of planning simply by showing up today online or in studio, you've moved your business into the fast lane. You've done it by agreeing to a plan for success, and the analogy I use is one I borrow from peter, who you get to hear from tomorrow, and that is there's. A couple liken planning for business success to planning for a trip you can say to a friend, let's, take a trip this year, and it kind of lingers out there or you can say let's agree to meet in front of the rocky statue in front of the philadelphia art museum at noon on october first. Now, once you get that commitment, what do you do? You start planning I'm like in a drive or fly or take some other means of transportation how much time off um I going to get him? I'm going to go straight or am I going to plan some side trips? And if I plan some side trips how long I'm going to stop each place how much is it going to cost and do I need to save up money or can I tap a credit card? Who do I need to bring on board? Do I need to get to triple a to get some map instructions? Do I need to get the car tuned up? They need to arrange a dog sitter you start planning and by planning you actually make that trip happened and I use the rocky analogy because I've watched peter use it and it always works. And because rocky the rocky balboa, the fictional prizefighter that's pretty much known all over the world thanks to sylvester stallone is now a metaphor for overcoming adversity and beating the odds and that's what you have to do with small businesses and you do it by planning not just for your passion but how to convert that passion that you talked about to profitability and we're going to talk a lot about that because if your business isn't turning a profit or if it's a non profit if it isn't raising the funds it needs, then it isn't really a business it's a hobby and it's okay to have a hobby but understand it's a hobby and understand you are funding your hobby rather than having your hobby fund you so that's what we're going to talk about for two days and here's what's on tap day one I start with what's on your business wish list and that begins talking about where are you right now and where do you wish your business would be? Um because you have to be real about what your business is right now. Right now I freelance and I run it out of my checkbook you have to be honest about that if that's what you do right now then you say I want to turn it into a branded business people respect and that I'm not blind sided every april on taxes come that becomes your wish list and this session is all about what's your wish list what makes your wish list feasible? What stands in the way? What challenges do you need to knock down to get there? What great idea are you going to ride to success in your as you pursue that list and that brings me to sabonis materials because in the bonus materials is something called your business planning starting point checklist and this is one that we're going to go through because it forces you to really get real about where our might where am I now? Where do I need to be? What do I need to do to get there and who do I need to bring on board? It might be a bank loan it might be a significant other who is not supporting your dreams because they don't understand your dreams because you don't have a business plan to explain your dreams to them, but who do you need to bring on board and there's information in this form that we're going to go over? What does each different kind of target audience need to hear to support your plans? Second session is custom tailor your business planning and there's an important word here notice this is planning and not plan don't get hung up on your business plan that's sort of like saying you're going to write a novel and honest I meant to write a novel next year no, the business plan simply summarizes all the wealth of information you came up with in your planning this course is about planning you will end up with a business plan but that's not the important part the important part is planning that you haven't done yet, as you've all said, because you got overwhelmed by the thought of a business plan, so we're going to do the planning and you're going to learn in this one what your business plan needs, what you need to include in your planning and if you're doing a plan, what needs to go in it to influence the right audience is the right way? Third thing we're going to do third session right after lunch and I'll try to keep it real pet because after lunch you will be, you know, sort of like relaxed structure and organized for success. A lot of businesses don't even have a business structure, they don't even have a sole proprietorship set up, they simply run what they call a business out of their checkbook and it's not really a business, and it doesn't really get the regard that it deserves as a business, and as a result it can't charge as much as it should. Customers don't have the credibility in it that they need to have to help the business grow. So that's what this session's about finally today raising, making and managing money raising it if you need to fund your business understanding that if you're not taking a salary, you are offending your business and so we're going to talk about how much you should be personally funding your business how to make money through pricing and profitability management and how to manage it through financial statements that makes sense tomorrow your goals were goingto actually set goals for what you want to achieve over this business plan period and assess your capabilities what strengths do you need to rely on and even strengthen which weaknesses do you need to overcome what risks do you need to be aware of what opportunities do you want to seize and I'll betcha warren's going to help me with that one because the spd sees which is what he's with the small business development course the core is very powerful in helping small businesses with what's called swat analyses am I right on that warrant and and one of many tools and swat analysis is an analysis of strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and I've got some really nice little charts that help you demystify that kind of terminology and just realize how to figure out what are your opportunities how do they align with their strength? How do you need to strengthen your strengths to seize your opportunities and let's go forward second is your growth strategy an action plan once you've set your goal we're going to go through what are your strategies for everything from where you how's your business to how you market your business to how you distribute your products to customers that type thing third branding and marketing this is going to be a minimized version of fearless marketing, which I hope you will love so much that everybody will decide to buy the package and get the full fearless marketing with it because fearless marketing was two days of nothing but marketing. And I will tell you got very good response, so I hope that that's, when you'll think about and then finally the nitty gritty, pulling it all into a business plan and you're going to walk away with, if not your plan, everything you know you need to do to slot into place for your plan. The reason I'm standing up here talking about this is because I have managed to write a shelf of books on these topics. I was with a public relations agency in honolulu, and peter was with the morning daily and hajnal only one. One day we saw an ad for the peace corps, and we sold everything we had and went to malaysia for two years. And over those two years we said, you know, we really got to go home and start making a living. So we came home and opened an ad agency, and the ad agency really did very, very well and after fifteen years we decided to sell it, and we ran an ad in the wall street journal, and we sold it, which is, like and and I make that sound happen chance, but it wasn't we founded that business with the idea that someday we would sell it, which I'm going to talk to you all about, because when you harvest, the most value from your business is the moment you sell it on dh, so we're going to talk about whether you want to include that in your long range goals, but anyway, we sold the ad agency, after which time I did nothing but dedicate my time and my efforts to helping small businesses who could never afford to buy the services of ad agencies as much as I can, I give everything I have away, I mean it's practically giving away to buy a book for twenty dollars, and on my web site, you can go on on the very home page. You can click to read the first first chapters of each of my books for free in pdf form, tons of information for free and then there's workshops like this that are available for free. I first book I wrote with small business marketing for dummies, which is now in its third edition as a kid with a cd rahm full of every kind of chart you would possibly want. Then I did branding your dummies branding for dummies, which really is a primer in what brands are, why they matter and how to build, manage and protect one. Then I did selling your business for dummies because people kept asking how we sold our business. And I know there's a book there and so did that one. And then this book I've actually done with two other fabulous authors who did the first version of it on their own. And then I got involved in the second edition. It just came out last month in a fourth edition. It is considered an evergreen title. You will. I always find it in bookstores. Every two and a half years it will come out the new edition. The authors are steven steven, d peterson, phd and peter jaret. And they own strategic plan a play, and I I owe them a debt of gratitude because they're the real strategic minds behind this book, and I brought it because it also has business plan templates and a cd rahm with tons of good information. If you buy the e version, you download the cd rahm. So anyway, that's a little bit about me, and there you have it and here's the one thing I know businesses with plans make more money how's that for incentive and that's, not me that's, the kaufman institute they interviewed all the winners, all the applicants tio entrepreneur of the year awards, and found that those that I had business plans and I wrote it down here had fifty percent greater sales growth and twelve percent higher profit than those without. You need to plan for profit. You need to plan for growth. You need to plan for success, and you need to start your planning by making a wish list. What do you want to accomplish, what's your dream what's your starting point? And what business are you planning for? And one of the handouts that is in even the enrollment pack? So those of you who haven't who are watching online, who haven't yet enrolled click to enroll because you can immediately down download the forms for I think it's immediate one saving rules, and then you get these forms for free with the enrollment pack. If you purchase, you, get these and additional forms for free and these air in the studio packages, but what's on your current business what's your current business situation a business idea, but uncertain about whether or how to turn it into a business a full time job with a side gig that I'd like to turn into a business, a new business that needs funding a going business that's struggling and needs to get back on track these air the way these are the situations people bring to business planning a going business that seems stuck in place, a going business that needs to attract better talent partners or customers a going business with growth that seems out of control, you know you can collapse under your own weight if you start growing, especially if your business isn't scaleable, which is a term we're going to talk a lot about today, I'm saying, nodding anybody who sells time by the hour is nodding right now a going business limited by lack of scale ability business is going great, but guess what? There are eight hours in the day and you're already selling eleven and, um and you can't grow anymore. Ah going business, preparing to introduce a major new product or service a going business, preparing for management, transition sale or to add new products. So those air kind of some of the situations that people bring with it's worth it to think which of those apply to me? What change do you want a plan for development test my business idea launch a new business, keep my full time job while I developed my side business anyway, you go through this form and you start to figure out what it is you want to accomplish and then what milestone priorities do you want to reach along the way and that's what we're going to do next so anyway that's my big thing is to be sure that before tomorrow's class at least you filled out this form I want to ask bob before we get too far along we've got as always with creative life have a truly international audience who got cedric in switzerland we've got masters he's in canada they're asking are all these things going to apply to international business is launching as well they are the one thing that and I will try always to point it out when it comes to taxation when it comes to business structure in which business structure is most appealing from a liability standpoint or whatever that's where you have to check in your own country likewise when it comes to registering a business name even within the united states each state and sometimes even each county does it differently so always tell you where to get the resource is for what to do so yes it will and the truth is the same formula follows for success whether you are in switzerland or in the united states if you don't know where you're going, you will not get there and so some of the technicalities in fact they're going to have to go check with their attorney their account their business development group in their own country but in terms of the flow the path from here to success it's exactly the thing what's motivating you're planning a business idea side gig a struggling stuck business that's the first thing you need to figure out what business change are you aiming for? You want a green line an idea launch a business or product growth grow freelancing into a business and I suspect and you're going to see in slides later that this is a huge part of the audience grow pivot or turn a business around pivot being the big word right now because we're in such a time of enormous change that businesses are not just changing their products, they're entirely pivoting their products and twitter is one of the examples I mean they started out as a podcast sharing service and what they realized is people were using as a communication means instead of and somebody beat them to the pivot or to the podcast sharing arena and so they completely pivoted and went to message um gagne scale ability obtained funding what are your priorities you can on lee do so much in a business plan period now you can no long term I want to build build a business like himself long term I want to have the kind of products that will sell and support me so I no longer have to put in the hours every day that's long term but over this planning period what are your priorities? Launch a business get more customers or sometimes the answer here is get better customers not better in that in a judgmental since better in a profitability and manageability since positive cash flow so that when the bills come in the money's there that maybe your entire goal versus that middle of the month scramble when the bills of there and the revenues haven't come and you're checking the mail every day to see if people have paid yet profitability a turnaround growth to gain funding better marketing, better management, leadership transition or sale know what your priorities are and what your time frame is your time frame is very important because sometimes you need a quick change you are moving and you need to have businesses that their clients that will move with you or maybe there's a real window of opportunity. Bridget and I were talking about the issue with a major yoga wear a lulu lemon and some of their issues will that provides a window of opportunity that you either move on quickly or you don't move on so sometimes you have to say do it they're a window of opportunity that's going to prompt me to have to put a timeline on this and really watch the clock do you face funding or personal issues if you're about to run out of money then that really pushes things forward and what deadlines are you dealing with? What road math will you follow business planning helps you define your desired destination success pathway and how you keep yourself and your business on track and that's it the value and at the end of this session and you can start thinking about it now I'm going to be asking you tomorrow after this break to bring me back questions why should I care questions you have about business plans or business planning why should you how should you how does it apply to you but I want to tell everybody right now interrupt me whenever you want because business plans are customizable item no two are alike everybody's air different the more I know about the issues you're all struggling with that somebody wants to know how does that fit internationally I want those questions so don't hesitate and you know around me when you see questions coming in that are worthwhile or let me know your thoughts deal I want you to know we're going to keep it simple if this is all you do if you leave this class with just a sense of this you've so surpassed your competitors in terms of planning knowing your situation today most people can't really explain their situation you can know the changes you aim to achieve the milestones and time prime frame you want accomplish how do you describe your business and we're going to go into that in a minute I have a theory and I I have been in this business long enough to know that I believe this theory if you can't explain it in a sentence or two you cannot sell it you can't sell it to a customer you can't sell it to a spouse or a partner who's support you're trying to achieve if you can't explain your idea you can't sell it you need to know your business description you need to know your projected costs and expenses and we have very simple formulas that we're going to give you for that your projected revenue and this is what you talked about how you'll generate it it started sounds so materialistic especially to all of you who are artists and very creative people and I know that's a huge part of the creative live audience um get down to the nitty gritty of yeah yeah that's all great but how does it make money? But the truth is it needs to make money so this is what we're going to talk about your business model which is the most important part of your business plan after deciding what you're trying to accomplish your goals, objectives and strategies, strategies and the support and resources you need to assemble as I was planning this course I actually got this fortune in a san francisco restaurant last month it's not the plan that's important it's the planning and so don't get hung up on the business plan which people do they actually company? Should I hire someone to write my business plan? Hire someone to write your business plan? No, you might hire someone to edit your business plan if it's going to go toe a venture capitalist or someone who really needs to see a tax short plan. But you need to do the planning yourself, possibly with consultants, but you don't just pass it off to someone. The benefits of business planning is that it tests the feasibility of a product of product idea. Brigitte and I had to talk about this a couple of weeks ago about her business idea, and at night, and I had some questions. It was wonderful idea, but I had some questions about the flying tuning. Next thing I know, I go on facebook and she's put up a post to her significant following. I have questions. What do you all think about this word? Which was a key word I had questioned in her, uh in in her positioning statement for the new business and tell me what you learned. I was creating a platform to really help women of all shapes and sizes celebrate their bodies, but because I identify as curvy, I was focusing on curvy women, and when I shared that language, I got the feedback that I was ostracised singh, women who weren't curvy and yet my intention was to celebrate all body types and it was kind of a big wake up call because obviously I don't want tio alienate anyone the idea is that we all deserve to love our bodies and do you know can you tell me what was the line you came up with because I loved it celebrating courageous women in yoga to help diversify the body face and stories of yoga in media all of a sudden that applies to a woman who just went through a divorce to a woman who just went through a major surgery to a woman whose overcoming in eating disorder whatever to a woman who just wants to be more courageous eso I so appreciate and that is the power of business planning by starting to think about business planning she started reaching out to people I among others questioned curvy I question it because I wasn't sure that if you don't if you're not curvy anymore than is it no longer for you know if you're still courageous it's still for you? So she tested her business idea and I think really ended up with a stronger concept think set or clarify your business purpose and goals blueprint your strategies and action plans, address your opportunities and threats and define your customers and they're buying behaviors um you have to know how your customers by where your customers by why your customers by business planning gives you the chance to learn those things. It also lets you assess and plan around your competition aa lot of small businesses really small business owners really enjoy the answer I really don't have competition you have competition I mean when thomas edison invented the light bulb there was competition candles I mean, what people were doing before was there is competition their choice to do nothing toe live in the dark this competition so who is your competition? It forces you to address essential organizational and legal issues it forces you to forecast your start up and operating costs and needs this is where businesses get blindsided. Um yesterday we were talking about an ad agency in portland that closed its doors just like that now I don't know did they close? They were successful. Did they close because they ran out of money or did they close just because they wanted to close one way or another it's a business in my estimation of business planning failure because even if they just decided to pack it in they lost the opportunities sell it so it forces you to forecast on look forward it forces you to commit to a business model on revenue streams um and frankly, if you did nothing other than this you would be when we started our ad agency really this was what we concentrated on more than anything else how much time how much of our revenue would come from time sold how much would come from media commissions and markups on outside services how much would come from the two of us and how much from our staff how would we fund the non billable positions like receptionists and people that you can't build anybody for and at the same time cover unpaid bills bad debt mistakes you have to forecast that out and if you do that you will be successful and it provides you a business resume and success blueprint and particularly for all of you and freelancing this is the important thing as soon as you I can say you're not just a copywriter your whatever name you go by you know the the rapid pan or whatever you want to call it but all of a sudden that's a business and you're going to see later on the research that branded freelancing businesses make more money and get and some more hours here there's a little benefit risk and I'm saying this for all of us particularly online audience who are kind of thinking am I going to stick around for two days stick around for two days it's worth it if you can't stick around for two days it's re prod cast in the evenings and it's for sale for a really a ridiculously reasonable price because here's what you do the plan of planning benefit realistic forecasts of costs and time frames the risk averted run out of cash and my friend susan schrader who offers a wonderful class on business life called starting a business after forty and really, really worth that I I told her I don't know why it says after forty I think anybody could use her information, but her thing is your number one priority is don't run on the out of cash when it's gone it's gone and um and there's one thing you can do when you run out of cash put more of your own money into it, which really means you give your business alone and you know that's a that's a slippery slope um planning gives you knowledge of customer base and purchase tendencies risk averted unrealistic sales projections and approaches focused goals and strategies risk averted mission drift you see it all the time people just kind of well, you know what? Forget that we'll do this instead particularly if you have employees they can't follow that people in an organization stand in the shadow that the leader casts and if the leaders planning all over the place there is no shadow to stand in and so it's a mission drift waste of resource is team confucian and a rational business model for generating sales and profits clear and simple that the alternative is business failure why plan for a new business plan and test a new idea plan for a business launch forecast startup costs expenses needs in time for him nobody wants to do this people are so in love with their ideas and that's what keeps small business going is just the belief in ideas and and enthusiasm for the next great thing but at some point you have to say ok put all that excitement away and do the hard work forecasts startup costs expenses needs in time for him define your customers competition and the conditions you operated and define your business model for established businesses it's to plan and test product strategy and growth ideas not every business needs to grow but every business needs to continuously change because the world is changing around them most businesses want to grow but kiplinger newsletter called me maybe three months ago and said does every business have to go grow no no some businesses you have a studio maybe let's just say that all you want is to always keep that studio fill that if it's filled you don't need to grow now you do need to change because the demographics of your neighbor quarter whatever going to change and you have to adapt to that but not growing is an ok goal but not changing is not established businesses need to plan to launch products, strategies and growth plans I just well they need to do that doubly and they need to forecast business costs expenses needs in time frame they need to define opportunities threats, risks and strength, and this is part of that change component, and they need to adjust their business model continually every year. Look at the business model isn't working. Is it profitable? Do we need to change prices? Do we need to change cost of sales? Whatever. So whether you've got a new or an established business, you need to a business plan, and the beginning is what's your idea.