5 Components Of A Successful Business Plan

A business plan is a documentation of a business’ future. It contains strategies, goals and solutions to potential challenges in a business. It can also contain important information about the structure of a business, business concepts and finance. In other words, a business plan is a blueprint of a business.  The success of a business depends on how successfully an entrepreneur puts this plan together. There are a few things that find special mention in a business plan and upon which the success of a business is largely dependent. In this post today, we will try to take a quick look at some of them and try to formulate an ideal strategy for the success of a business:

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source


Communication is an indispensable part of a business. You need to communicate with customers, vendors, partners, investors, your colleagues and employees for various business reasons. Building a proper channel of communication is therefore imperative for the success of your business. A phone system can prove to be expensive for a new entrepreneur or for a small business. Moreover, in today’s time, when business can happen anytime and anywhere, it is important for an entrepreneur to use advanced features that ensure business always and at any place.

Solution to try: Try using a virtual phone system. According to Carol Wasserman, Online Marketing Executive at iTeleCenter, “a virtual phone provides entrepreneurs all the benefits of a traditional phone system and a few advanced features that keep them connected and encourage business 24×7. Features including advanced call forwarding, auto attendant, voicemail and virtual fax deserve special mention.”


Website performs dual functions – it acts as the gateway to the online business world and also brands a business – businesses invest hefty amounts of money in developing their corporate website. But investing heavily may not ensure an effective website. There are other things to consider as well. Content of course is important. But it is not the only component necessary for building effective websites. In today’s world, where people use a variety of browsers and devices to access a website, developing an effective website can be a challenge.

Solution to try: While developing your website, remember to check its browser compatibility. There are tons of browser with a variety of versions available – make sure to check the compatibility with each one. Also, check your website using devices including desktops, laptops, smart phones and tablets. Change the pattern and layout of a website if necessary to suit each of these devices.

Marketing and sales

Building a healthy communications channel or developing a responsive website – the ultimate goal for any of these is to make people aware about your products/services and ultimately successful sales. How does an entrepreneur ensure effective marketing and successful sales?

Solution to try: Use toll free numbers. Research shows that these numbers are successful in generating response from a marketing campaign. These numbers do not charge callers instead it charges the recipient for the cost of the call. This is an important reason for attracting people to call a business.  A business can also try using vanity or a sequential toll free numbers.

A webinar is also successful in attracting, retaining and finally converting a lead. This is because a webinar is an audio-visual aid and hence more efficient than simple text on web page.


How do people recognize you? The question might sound funny but it’s important to answer this question. You’ll say by your name. Exactly! How do you know a business? The answer is the same – by its name. Every business has a name but that is not its brand. A brand involves more than just a name – it involves your customers’ trust and your brand shows your professionalism and credibility.

A brand is often compared to a magnet that draws in people’s attention and interest. Developing a brand is not easy.

Solutions to try: Accordingto Ken Carbone of Carbone Smolan Agency says, a “brand is the magnet that draws consumers to…products or service.”  While planning for your brand, closely follow your marketing strategy and marketing plans. Also understand your customers’ behavior. Importantly, keep space for any future growth. You can depict your corporate ethics and beliefs through your brand or you can focus solely on your product/services.

Online presence

Online presence is important for each and every business. It’s important for individuals and for businesses it is even more so. But creating an online presence is not easy. Entrepreneurs need to develop a different strategy to approach the virtual world. Creating a presence on social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube needs a different style.

Solution to try: Quality content can help to get you noticed on social networking platforms. The content need not always have a sales tone but it should be informative. Simultaneously, you should also decide the matter of discussion on these platforms – should it be general or you would like to create a niche corner of your conversation. Every networking site has characteristics of its own. It is important to formulate a strategy compatible with the characteristics of the site.

About the Author: Alex Christopher is an Online Marketer. For years he has been monitoring and advising the implementation of online marketing strategies for small businesses and start-ups. He is responsible for the success of quite a few online marketing companies. 

Owning a Piece of the Apple: How Small Businesses Get Started in New York

New York Real Estate

New York City presents a lot of opportunities for small business owners, but it can be daunting to navigate through the world of commercial real estate. Although the city has vacancies just like anywhere else in the country, it also has a higher concentration of new businesses starting every day. Due to this, you will need to be patient and dedicated if you are going to find the perfect place within your price range.

Tips for Finding the Right Place

1) Use a Real Estate or Rental Agent – Whether you are looking for a commercial rental or purchase, it will be much easier to navigate through all of the current listings with the assistance of a professional agent. Not only will they be able to help you avoid looking at places that are not suitable for your new business, but they will also have the inside track on any new properties that become available.

2) Set Flexible Guidelines – In order to find the right place, you definitely need to have guidelines such as the price, general location and size. However, if you are not at least somewhat flexible with your guidelines, it might be impossible to find a location for your business. Therefore, you need to determine what the property absolutely must have and what you are willing to live without.

3) Be Prepared to Move Forward – Even though it is always a good idea to look at multiple options before you commit to something, it is also imperative in New York City to be willing to move quickly. For example, if you are looking for a rental property and you find one that fits all of your guidelines, it would be unwise to leave without filling out an application. In order to do this, you will need to have all of the necessary verification paperwork with you. Keep in mind that a rental application is not a contract, so you will not be locked into anything by simply filling one out.

4) Get Pre-Approved – If you are planning to buy a piece of real estate for your new business, you will want to obtain mortgage pre-approval. By doing this, you will not only know exactly how much money you can spend, but you will also look like a much more viable buyer to the individual or business that is selling the property. In fact, whether you ask a Brooklyn Realtor or a Manhattan real estate lawyer, you’ll hear that some people will not even accept a real estate offer unless a pre-approval letter is attached. Therefore, it is in your best interests to obtain that before you begin seriously looking at your options.

5) Hire a Real Estate Lawyer – There are two main reasons to work with a real estate lawyer in New York City: to review the contract before you sign it and to resolve any disputes that arise after the contract has been signed. By hiring a lawyer who specializes in real estate, you will be able to avoid a lot of the issues that have caused other businesses to fail before they even get a chance to greet their first customer.

Even though it can take a while to find the right place within the city limits, there are definitely prime real estate opportunities available for both buyers and renters. Therefore, you simply need to utilize the tips above and take the time to visit every property that matches up with your guidelines.

Ann Bailey, a business advice contributor, shares this list to help small business owners in their quest for commercial space in New York. The Manhattan real estate lawyer group at Canfield, Madden & Ruggerio LLP has thirty solid years of experience assisting clients in all aspects of business property purchases, leases and dispute resolutions.

Start Your Real Estate Business with an Effective Business Plan

The real estate industry has faced a number of hurdles in the past couple of years. Now, this is an obvious trend in any emerging business sector. However, after 2 consecutive ruthless years the market has sprung back and there have been quite a few real estate firms that have participated in the rebound. With the rising number of refinance and loan modifications, the activity in the real estate market is obvious. In fact, if we start thinking from the basic point of view, then starting a real estate company itself isn’t that easy. It requires a lot of careful research and hard work.

business plan
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Latest news reveals that Vornado Realty Trust is said to have acquired about 59 percent interest in Manhattan. This real estate basically happens to be a residential complex and the value of the deal is estimated to be somewhere around the likes of 844.8 million dollars. With the kind of money that’s raked in, it’s important that you have a grand plan before getting into real estate business.

Strategies to formulate a real estate business plan

It’s a fact that the real estate business is literally thronged with eager entrepreneurs. All of them are searching for the right niche. If you happen to be one of those innovative business people, then in spite of the housing and commercial estate being volatile avenues, there’s a lot of profit to be made as well. Formulate an effective business plan to take your first step into real estate business.

Study real estate trends

The ideal thing would be to educate yourself thoroughly on the real estate trends before starting a real estate business. Amongst other things that you need to write on the business plan, you should include the new techniques that you’d like to employ for reaching out to the customers. You can get updated information from online magazines like Realty News and various other such sources to get started with your business.

Lay out the principals

It’d be wise for you to lay out the principals as far as your advertising and marketing plans are concerned. There are quite a few real estate businesses that make use of guerrilla marketing tactics like say for instance street teams. On the other hand, there are other businesses which make use of traditional media to cater to the established property owners. Be careful and research thoroughly the promotional costs involved. At the same time, you should keep in mind the fact that there are advertising costs too.

Explain staffing needs

Your real estate business plan should include proper explanation for the staffing needs as well. Initially you should make sure that you’ve got a small group of agents who’ll take the onus of actively scouting for locations and taking care of customer service. Graphic designers, contractors, web consultants are others you should always keep in mind.

Include relevant biographies

For each member of your ownership team, make sure that you include a biography. This is important for those who read your business plan should be aware that the daily operations of your real estate business are actually managed by innovative and highly qualified professionals. Now, if it so happens that your team had participated in real estate ventures in the past, then you should include that in your real estate business plan as well. Highlight the certifications and real estate ventures clearly.

List the costs involved

You must have envisioned certain operational costs for your agency, at least for the next 2 years. Make sure that you include real estate investment costs, wages and the facility costs amongst the major aspects in your projections. Make sure that this section is put right at the beginning of your plan, so that investors can see it clearly. Remember, if you’re unable to adequately fund your operational costs, then there are high chances that you might have to refinance your real estate business some time down the line.

Another important fact is to include the costs that might be required for expansion in future. If you plan for new branch openings, then they should be there as well. Nevertheless, keep in mind the fact that refinancing doesn’t really come without its costs. Many businesses are known to salvage their businesses by refinancing undoubtedly, but there should be enough money to do so.

Finally, it’s for you to steer your real estate business, and if you feel that you need the anchor of refinance some where in between, then you have to take its help. However, make use of an effective plan and get going with your own business before anything else.

Unique Business Plans: Your First Line of Defense

While startups are making a splash in the business world, there is still no lack of criticism. Every business publication touts the small business failures and disheartening statistics. As a small business owner or budding entrepreneur, however, you can avoid being just another statistic.

Startup Genome found that 1 in 12 startups fail – another saddening statistic; the sources of this failure being customers, product, team, business model and funding. Unfortunately, not all of these are within your control.

In fact, many of them may spiral out of your hands before you even get a chance to steer it back on course. But, the one thing you can change is your business model. How do you do that? Write an effective business plan.

“Creating a business plan allows you to identify potential problems and opportunities your business might face, avoid penalties, fines or other legal problems, adapt to changes in the marketplace and let you expand or contract from a position of objectivity.” – Smallbusiness.chron.com

business plan

Image by Yodel Anecdotal / Flickr

Deviate From the Traditional

When starting your first business plan, you’ll probably take to the internet. There you’ll find business plan templates, business plan suggestions, sample and more. While these are good sources to start with, I find it’s best to focus on what your business plan needs instead of focusing on someone else’s.

There are different kinds of business plans, and you should choose the one that best first your business model and intentions. Entrepreneur.com suggests these three types:

  • Mini plan: your miniplan should cover the most important aspects of your business, such as finances, cash flow, and overall concept. This is meant to be a quick introduction, and should be accompanied by a more in-depth write up.
  • Working plan: Use this to lay out the details of your business operations, which are often the root cause of business setbacks. Avoid hiring and product issues down the line by taking your time with this.
  • Presentation plan: This is a polished document, meant to impress and inform potential investors, lenders, or financial backers.

Use Mind Maps

The traditional business plan lays out basic information and has been integral to business owners for a long time. Yet, it may not be in depth enough to keep you from being another one of those miserable facts. So, it’s time for some mind mapping. This is effective in business planning as it allows you to assess every facet of the business, where it could go wrong, and how you’ll handle it, but in a visual fashion.

When you do this, you end up building your business model around potential pitfalls. With such a high failure rate, this will be key in identifying problems before they arise, and handling them correctly if they do. As Entrepreneurship.org said, “A well-written business plan doesn’t oversell the good, undersell the bad or ignore the ugly!”

  • Start with all your basic business sub-categories: Finances, product, staffing, etc.
  • From there, build your circles out with an arm for potential pitfalls, room for advancement, and your over-all vision for that sector.
  • Continue this until you can go no longer. This may take days or weeks, spending a little time here and there, and that is okay.

Set Goals

The greatest benefit of any business plan is goal setting. When you set goals, you have a framework to operate in and a vision of what’s to come. This is essential to any successful business plan. In an interview with Inc.com, founder of The Killer Pitch suggested, “You have to know what you’re going for, and do it with your eyes wide open.” To make your goal setting effective, be sure that you focus on making them:

  • Attainable: Set goals that are achievable. It’s easy to be discouraged when you aren’t meeting goals – so start small.
  • Far fetching: On that same note, do write some goals that may seem out of your reach right now. Having something to strive for will always benefit you in the end.
  • Time sensitive: Make goals for next week, next month, and next year. Having a due date holds you accountable.

Writing a business plan may seem like a daunting task, but it’s one worth taking on. To avoid being another statistic take time to write out your goals, obstacles, desires and vision. Not only will this keep you on track, but help you stay in focus when other problems start tearing you down.

About the Author: Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer touching on topics that range from social media to business management. She is a professional blogger and web content writer for ResourceNation.com.

How To Get Started With A Cleaning Franchise

If you want to launch yourself into the business sphere, then you may want to consider buying into a cleaning franchise.  This would enable you to begin your business journey with a proven business model, and allow you to benefit from the established name and training of the parent franchise.  It’s a great business opportunity for people who don’t have a lot of experience running a business or don’t want too much risk.  In fact, it’s also a great business opportunity for seasoned business operators too, as there is a strong and healthy demand for cleaning services in the marketplace. Continue reading How To Get Started With A Cleaning Franchise