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Crime / Court

September 14, 2011

Planning is crucial before starting a business

Business planning is crucial to all new commercial endeavors, home businesses, storefronts and larger operations. Unfortunately, bankruptcies and business failures continue to prevail in the ongoing sluggish economy. So, having a solid written business plan including a number of basic elements will increase the likelihood of survival.

Define the business List products or services, and where and how you will deliver them. I've observed folks struggle with a "mission statement," which is often an exercise in grammatical ping pong and interpretation of words.

This is not what you need. Clearly define for yourself and others what you will do.

Market research Is there a need for the service? Business planning evaluates the actual demand for the good or service you will provide in your location. Too often I've heard, "We thought it was a good idea." Not good enough.

Where will business come from? Are there computer searches for this product or service? Are there others from whom you can trade referrals?

Identify all potential business sources, such as others in similar, non-competitive endeavors. Introduce yourself and your plans. Determine if mutual referrals will help you both.

Marketing and advertising Without a plan to initiate new business, what's the point? Web marketing is crucial. This can be done relatively inexpensively if you talk to several different providers before making a commitment.

Having a pretty web page is less important than optimizing it and making your web presence easily available to potential customers. Don't overlook print. Some types of business benefit from distributing fliers at events attended by potential customers.

Be creative. But target your marketing. If you think marketing and advertising are dirty words, then having your own business is not for you.

Financing Shop around for low-cost loans. Consider that, in general, the first year you will lose money. With luck and planning. you may break even the second year and start to turn a profit the third.

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