Monthly Archives: August 2016

Reasons You Need a Business Plan

When I am asked to explain why business planning is so important, my first inclination is to quote Lewis Carroll. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice comes to a fork in the road and asks:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

For me this scene encapsulates perfectly the problems of not having an over-arching goal and plan for your business. Without a plan, or using a cookie cutter business plan template a business is essentially rudderless, and day-to-day activities are likely to be haphazard and reactive, in stark contrast to those businesses implementing a well thought out business plan.

The following represents a list of my top five reasons a firm needs a business plan.

1. To map the future

A business plan is not just required to secure funding at the start-up phase, but is a vital aid to help you manage your business more effectively. By committing your thoughts to paper, you can understand your business better and also chart specific courses of action that need to be taken to improve your business. A plan can detail alternative future scenarios and set specific objectives and goals along with the resources required to achieve these goals.

By understanding your business and the market a little better and planning how best to operate within this environment, you will be well placed to ensure your long-term success.

2. To support growth and secure funding

Most businesses face investment decisions during the course of their lifetime. Often, these opportunities cannot be funded by free cash flows alone, and the business must seek external funding. However, despite the fact that the market for funding is highly competitive, all prospective lenders will require access to the company’s recent Income Statements/Profit and Loss Statements, along with an up-to-date business plan. In essence the former helps investors understand the past, whereas the business plan helps give them a window on the future.

When seeking investment in your business, it is important to clearly describe the opportunity, as investors will want to know:

  • Why they would be better off investing in your business, rather than leaving money in a bank account or investing in another business?
  • What the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for the business arising from the opportunity is?
  • Why people will part with their cash to buy from your business?

A well-written business plan can help you convey these points to prospective investors, helping them feel confident in you and in the thoroughness with which you have considered future scenarios. The most crucial component for them will be clear evidence of the company’s future ability to generate sufficient cash flows to meet debt obligations, while enabling the business to operate effectively.

3. To develop and communicate a course of action

A business plan helps a company assess future opportunities and commit to a particular course of action. By committing the plan to paper, all other options are effectively marginalized and the company is aligned to focus on key activities. The plan can assign milestones to specific individuals and ultimately help management to monitor progress. Once written, a plan can be disseminated quickly and will also prompt further questions and feedback by the readers helping to ensure a more collaborative plan is produced.

Better Business Plan

Is it the length of the business plan? The information it covers? How well it’s written, or the brilliance of its strategy. No.

The following illustration shows a business plan as part of a process. You can think about the good or bad of a plan as the plan itself, measuring its value by its contents. There are some qualities in a plan that make it more likely to create results, and these are important. However, it is even better to see the plan as part of the whole process of results, because even a great plan is wasted if nobody follows it.

A business plan will be hard to implement unless it is simple, specific, realistic and complete. Even if it is all these things, a good plan will need someone to follow up and check on it. The plan depends on the human elements around it, particularly the process of commitment and involvement, and the tracking and follow-up that comes afterward.

Successful implementation starts with a good plan. There are elements that will make a plan more likely to be successfully implemented. Some of the clues to implementation include:

  1. Is the plan simple? Is it easy to understand and to act on? Does it communicate its contents easily and practically?
  2. Is the plan specific? Are its objectives concrete and measurable? Does it include specific actions and activities, each with specific dates of completion, specific persons responsible and specific budgets?
  3. Is the plan realistic? Are the sales goals, expense budgets, and milestone dates realistic? Nothing stifles implementation like unrealistic goals.
  4. Is the plan complete? Does it include all the necessary elements? Requirements of a business plan vary, depending on the context. There is no guarantee, however, that the plan will work if it doesn’t cover the main bases.

Tips to be an Entrepreneur

In a world increasingly affected by globalisation, increased competitiveness and maturing products, the need for creativity and entrepreneurship has never been greater. Luckily, the attractions of becoming an entrepreneur have never been greater either, especially since a shift from a predominantly manufacturing- to a service-based economy has lowered the cost and barriers to entry for entrepreneurs. The British government has moved entrepreneurship (and support for it) to the top of their domestic agenda. Meanwhile, entrepreneurship has become a hot topic, with conferences, exhibitions, and even TV shows, such as “Risking it All” and “The Dragons’ Den” evidencing the popularity. But while the environmental conditions may be attractive, entrepreneurs still need a workable idea that is commercially viable. This article endeavours to assist wannabe entrepreneurs (wantrepreneurs) in coming up with ‘the plan’ so as to enable them to finally take the plunge into the world of entrepreneurship.

 

The environment

Before deciding on ‘the idea’ it is worth assessing the landscape thoroughly so as to consider the broader context and the impact that trends or changes may have on it, i.e. whether it is future-proof, etc. There are three main trends to look at – global trends, national trends and local trends.

Keeping up to date with global developments via The Economist or the BBC will certainly give you a good base to start from. However, to gain a more in-depth understanding of global changes from a business opportunity perspective, websites such as Trendwatching (www.springwise.com) are very useful. In an increasingly homogeneous global economy, it is obvious that what works well in one market can easily transplant into other ones with the minimum of localisation. Between them, these sites give a more in-depth insight into some of the latest emergent business ideas and can be considered in tandem with macro trends affecting us all, like environmental challenges, the increasing cost of oil, volatile currencies, etc.

On a national level, there are a number of trends that we are all familiar with in the UK: increased ubiquity of broadband access, the fact that as a population we are aging, increased expected life spans, growth in the number of single-person households, and so on. The key with all of these trends is to focus on the opportunities associated with these demographic shifts and trends. For example, it is safe to predict that an aging population will increase the demand for certain goods and services, such as home-help services, medication, nursing, and glasses, and that the growth in single-person households will increase the demand for convenience food products and more economical white goods such as smaller fridges and washer/ dryer all in one’s.

On a local level, there are also numerous resources we can use in assessing the local environment and, in particular, the likely demand for our goods or services. Websites such as ACORN (www.caci.co.uk/acorn) and UpMyStreet (www.upmystreet.com) provide extensive free demographic data about areas based on UK postcodes. These enable you to build up profiles of the local population and are ideal when you are looking to set up a shop or service to serve the local community specifically. Of course when it comes to local opportunities, these need to be assessed in conjunction with plenty of ‘on-the-ground’ research: walking in and around the area targeted for the new enterprise.

Tips to be a Marketing Assistant

Based in Raymond, Maine, Dielectric LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. and is a leading provider of innovative broadcast products. From remote stations to major markets, Dielectric delivers products for every need since 1942 and prides itself on being a solution-oriented engineering company. The Company is a trusted partner of broadcasters worldwide. We design, engineer, and manufacture antennas, combiners, switches, diplexers, transmission lines and waveguides for television, and FM radio. We collaborate with the consultant community, as well as with its customers’ engineering staffs, to design advanced and reliable antenna systems.

Dielectric is seeking a full-time dynamic and organized and skilled Marketing Assistant to join our growing team. This position will support the work of marketing managers and company marketing operations by compiling, formatting and reporting information and materials as well as help to develop marketing campaigns.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provide marketing tracking and research information by collecting, analyzing, summarizing data and trends
  • Coordinate and communicate with internal company partners (sales, marketing, engineering, finance, manufacturing) to ensure the most accurate marketing information
  • Compiling and distributing statistical information
  • Accomplishes organization marketing mission by completing related results as needed
  • Keeps all marketing information accessible by sorting and filing documents and up to date
  • Writing reports, company brochures and similar documents
  • Help to organize market research
  • Organizing and hosting presentations and customer visits
  • Assisting with promotional activities, support sales presentations, prepare mailers and brochures by formatting content and graphics, arrange printing and packages
  • Maintains marketing library and inventory
  • This position reports to Director of Marketing & Services

Required Experience:

  • College degree, BS/BA in Business Administration or relevant field
  • Must have experience using Adobe inDesign
  • Proven experience in a marketing field or relevant role including reporting skills, analyzing information, informing others, written communications, statistical analysis and financial skills
  • Proficient in a Windows based PC environment, Microsoft Office, and PowerPoint presentations
  • Knowledge of market research, data analysis and practices
  • Database input and update
  • Able to multitask, be self-directed and function independently in a fast paced environment
  • Excellent time management and efficiency skills
  • Excellent organizational skills and heavy attention to detail and numerical data
  • Excellent problem solving skills

Learn more about marketing manager

Bozzuto Management Company is seeking a seasoned Marketing Manager. The Marketing Manager will support Bozzuto Management Company by enhancing the revenue of properties through effective brand and property marketing. The Marketing Manager acts as an advisor to the business delivering impactful and meaningful programs, campaigns and communication strategies that position Bozzuto properties as a market leader.

Expected Contributions:

  • Understand unique marketing needs of each property and/or owner and deliver marketing programs and materials that meet expectations of all stakeholders.
  • Gather information, collaborate and work with SVP Corporate Marketing, SVP for BMC, Regional Property Managers, Property Managers, and clients
  • Partner with marketing/operations teams in analyzing local market/ customer & industry trends
  • Communicate effectively, drive execution, foster innovation, collaborate with others, solve problems creatively and demonstrate high integrity
  • Maintain professional internal and external relationships that meet company core values
  • Identify, recommend and implement new marketing trends in the industry
  • Drive properties’ performance by leading all marketing efforts.
  • Develop marketing action plans for properties
  • Implement interactive marketing – email communications, websites, banner ads, social media, SEO, SEM, mobile & video
  • Oversee all marketing, advertising, promotions, merchandizing and events.
  • Monitor, track, recommend & execute media buying
  • Analyze media trends through Lead2Lease, Call Source, Level One, Vaultware and Google Analytics
  • Maintain web content for property pages on Bozzuto.com
  • Keep current individual property websites within the Content Management System
  • Visit communities so each property is seen at least once a year
  • Assist in signage development & implementation
  • Evaluate photography needs and arrange for new photography
  • Assist with annual customer survey program and other relevant research studies
  • Improve property performance of under-performing assets by providing recommendations and specific marketing action plans targeted at these assets.
  • Meet objectives of each property while adhering to corporate brand standards.
  • Deliver and implement all marketing efforts on-time and on-budget.
  • In conjunction with the respective Regional Property Manager develop an annual marketing budget for each specific property
  • Manage advertising agencies
  • Manage the marketing transition of takeover properties
  • Identify and communicate press opportunities to PR
  • Foster new product development by communicating product key learnings to new product development team.

Required Education:

  • Bachelor’s Degree required

Required Experience:

  • Previous marketing experience in the real estate industry preferred.

Required Skills:

  • Leadership Competencies
  • Treats people with respect
  • Efficiency of execution
  • Flexible/adaptable
  • Personal Competencies
  • Integrity/honesty
  • Organization and planning
  • Calm under pressure
  • Intellectual Competencies
  • Analysis skills
  • Strategic thinking/visioning
  • Creative/innovative
  • Attention to detail
  • Motivational Competencies
  • Proactivity/takes initiative
  • Sets high standards
  • Interpersonal Competencies
  • Listening skills
  • Open to criticism and others’ ideas
  • Written and verbal communications
  • Technical/Functional Competencies
  • Interactive Marketing
  • Knowledge of leasing/PM industry
  • Microsoft Office Suite and HTML