Tag Archives: Business Plan

Top 10 Networking Tips for Savvy Networkers


  • .  Be Prepared. Savvy Networkers always have their networking tools with them at all times.  The Networking tool kit includes: an ample supply of business cards, your name badge, any collateral material (flyers, brochures, etc), and your marketing message (often referred to as your elevator speech).

    .  Arrive early. Savvy Networkers arrive early and have their business cards readily available and can relax and focus on learning about the other people in the room.  As an early, Savvy Networker, you can pause to calmly gather your thoughts and your intentions so that your time spent networking will be of benefit to you and your goals.  Preparation goes a long way in making you appear to be someone that other people will want to get to know.  People do business with people they like.  And you will be judged by others, like it or not, based on their first impression of you.
  • .  Have a plan. Savvy Networkers always have an idea of what the goal is for each event they attend.  Know, before going in, what the outcome is that you want for yourself or for the people you meet at each event.  Do you want to meet 3 people and focus on getting to know them really well?  Are you looking for an introduction to a certain type of client?  Are you looking for information or connections that will get you that information?  When you have a plan, it is easier to stay focused and achieve your expected outcome.  It also helps you to keep on track to help others in achieving their goals when you remind yourself to be generous with your own knowledge and connections.  And, when you have a plan it is easier to stay on task as you meet with people.
  • Be a Giver and/or a Connector. When you focus on “giving” and being helpful to others, the “getting” will come later … and it will come in unexpected ways.  Foremost to remember, is that no one likes a person with a “taker” mentality.  When you are generous, people will notice and repsect you for your kind nature.  And, people generally do business with people that they respect, trust, and like.  Act like a host at every event you attend by connecting people.  This can be a simple act of intruducing 2 people to each other or as elaborate as giving a testimonial about 1 person and their services to the entire group.  All of these acts allow you to focus on the “other” and grows your social capital in the room.
  • Leave your troubles behind. Put on a happy face at the door and remind yourself that it is “show time”.  This is your time to sparkle and shine.  People will look forward to seeing you and meeting you if you are energetic, positive, and outgoing.  Again, people enjoy doing business with people that they like.  BE a person that others will like.  Hopefully you’ve heard the zen expression “Be the ball” … well, whenever you have the chance, “Be the ball of the ball!”  Do not burden or bore people with your troubles or your problems.  Everyone has enough of their own, and, trust me on this, they do not need or want to hear about yours.
  • Listen with focus. When someone is speaking with you, give that person your entire focus.  LISTEN.  Really hear what the person is saying.  Keep your eyes and ears focused and keep your self talk and thoughts focused too.  The greatest gift that you can give to another person is to truly hear what that person is saying.  You’ve seen this before and it bears repeating: you have 1 mouth and 2 ears for a reason.  Listen twice as much and talk 1/2 as much and everyone you treat this way will think you are a genius!
  • Be Genuine. Everyone knows when someone is “schmoozing” on or at them.  And, no one likes being “primed” for the pump.  Be genuine in your interactions with others at an event.  Again, it comes back to building trust,  to building “brand YOU”.  There is a huge difference between being INTERESTED and in trying to be INTERESTING.   When you are interested in learning about someone and their business entirely for the sake of learning about the other person, you will leave a lasting impression as someone who genuinely cares.  On the other hand, when you are interested only so that you can take what you learn and then use it to make yourself or your products interesting to this person … well, my friend, you have slipped into the category of “scorched earth networking” and it is not a good place to be.
  • Do Teach/Don’t Sell. The Savvy Networker knows that the immediate sale of a product is not the goal in networking.  Networking is about building relationships with people who will be happy to tell others about who you are and what you do.  Word of mouth advertising is the most cost effective and powerful advertising.   At every opportunity, teach others about who you are, as a person, and what it is that you do.  Always present a clear emphasis on the type of client that you are looking for.  In doing this, you will be building a salesforce that can reach far wider than you can on your own.
  • Follow up. After the event, send a thank you card to each person that you had direct contact with.  Mention something from your discussion in the thank you card (it helps if you jot notes on the back of each person’s business card that you collect).  If there is a referral that you can supply to someone you’ve just met, include that in the follow up note.  Showing up and following up are the two most important parts of networking.  Showing up, in most cases, is the easy part.  The follow up is, sadly, the most neglected part of networking.  Since so many people fail to follow up, you can really stand out by just doing this simple act of reaching out to remind someone of who you are and what you do … and that you are interested in exploring a relationship.
  • Follow up some more! Depending on where you look, marketing statistics state that it takes 7 to 12 impressions for a consumer to make a buying decision.  It also take somewhere between 5 to 12 impressions to become “top of mind”.  AND those are the OLD numbers.  Because of the overload of information that we are all faced with every day, the number of impressions is actually quite higher.  It is more likely to take 15 – 20 impressions before you make the connections that you are looking to build! Meeting face to face is the 1st impression.  An email, a phone call, another card, a lunch date … don’t stop after 1 or 2 impressions.  Keep going.  Savvy Networkers know that to build strong relationships they must dig deeper and make the continued effort to build ongoing relationships!

Source: Top10networkingtips.com

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Top 5 Tips for Writing a Killer Business Plan | Niche Volumes

Starting a business plan is a detailed process that is both educational and revealing. with existing companies it is a chance to re-evaluate profit margins and focus on the prominent areas of the business while cutting out the departments that are losing money. For business plans for new companies it is an opportunity to really focus on, and understand the industry and evaluate whether your next big idea will be successful before you make a large investment.
Although up to 44% of new businesses survive 4 years or more the success of any new business is good planning, access to capital and good business management.
Here are the 5 best tips for creating a killer business plan that will undoubtedly impress:


1) consider your Audience
Business plans are developed for many different reasons. Is it for presenting to a panel for project approval? will it be to submit for funding? Is it simply to restructure the business for profitability? Each of these avenues will require adjustments to the plan format and style you will need to use throughout the document. If you are attempting to obtain funding then you will have to have very detailed cost and ROI projections that are measurable and realistic. If you are making a presentation to a non-profit or a board of directors it is likely that you will need to include a directive on community impact or involvement and impact (either positive or negative) to the existing business. Remember your audience as you creates your document to ensure you focus on the important topics and leave no questions unanswered.


2) Quality Reference Material Is Key
It is important to integrate a diverse mix of reference material in your plan document. the web is great for the latest news but is not nearly as highly regarded as printed documents. be sure to use a good mix of reputable internet reference along with well-known facts and industry statistics most often found in printed literature. Industry specific publications and industry magazines are an excellent way to get the latest news and trends in a reliable place. Always include references from industry publications as well to raise the standard your business plan and build credibility in your due diligence. Always make sure to cite your research or any quotes you may use. this will also build credibility while ensuring you are not infringing on any protected or copyrighted content you use. To quickly and easily cite your sources there is a web-based tool that you can use to enter in your info and get back the properly formatted entry for the works cited page. it makes the process a breeze: easybib.com.


3) Do your Own Research
Creating a solid business plan is the singular first step in knowing your industry and understanding what it will take to be successful in your chosen field. Part of developing a plan should be to evaluate competitors, define your business strategy and start to understand if your value proposition meets a tangible need in the marketplace. Walking through the initial steps of creating a business plan is an invaluable process that will help to ensure that your business can survive the market trends. Don’t pay someone else to do your research for you or it may end up costing you more than you think.

4) using a Business plan Template
Now that you have various notes and articles, market information and loads of statistics it is time to put it all together in a layout that will highlight the data you have compiled. Finding  business plan examples can be a challenge as every business plan is different (see point #2 above), however you can develop your own based on a compilation of the different topics or areas you want to cover. If you want a business plan template that comes formatted with sample headings and the different categories already setup, try using the plan layout from online websites. this site has a real business plan in Word format for quickly changing out headings and information. In addition the plan comes with a break-even analysis template in Excel as well as a 1 year Pro-Forma template in Excel with the formulas already built for easily updating and projecting costs for your business. this is a big time saver and an easy way to quickly get the business plan document underway without having to start from scratch.


5) Seek Out Experts in the Industry
Finally, after you have organized your information reach out to some industry experts like local college professors, trade show organizers, or even your local Chamber of Commerce for some insight and feedback on your plan. it always helps to get a second opinion on the plan before making the final presentation. having one or more individuals look over the plan will shed light on areas that need to be revised or reinforce that the business plan is ready to present.
Don’t get distracted spending valuable time figuring out the Works Cited, Table of Contents or overall plan layout. use the templates or resources that are readily available to you and spend the time focusing where you should, on the reporting and presentation of your business idea.

Source: Onlinebusinessplans1.net

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Finding a Niche: Make your Business Plans Stand Out

Trying to tackle a wide market is usually too broad of a scope for any but the largest companies to handle. As a smaller business, it’s often a better strategy to try to divide potential demand for offerings into manageable market niches. Small operations can then offer specialized goods and services that are attractive to a specific group of prospective buyers.

Trying to tackle a wide market is usually too broad of a scope for any but the largest companies to handle. As a smaller business, it’s often a better strategy to try to divide potential demand for offerings into manageable market niches. Small operations can then offer specialized goods and services that are attractive to a specific group of prospective buyers.

 

There are undoubtedly some particular products or services that you will be especially suited to provide. Study the market carefully and you will find opportunities. For example, surgical instruments used to be sold in bulk to both small medical practices and large hospitals. One firm realized that the smaller practices often disposed of instruments because they could not afford to sterilize them after each use like hospitals did. The firm’s sales representatives talked to surgeons and hospital workers to learn what would be more suitable for them. Based on this information, the company developed disposable instruments which could be sold in larger quantities at a lower cost. Another firm capitalized on the fact that hospital operating rooms must carefully count the instruments used before and after surgery. This firm met that particular need by packaging their instruments in pre-counted, customized sets for different forms of surgery.

To research your own company’s niche, consider conducting a market survey with potential customers to uncover untapped needs. During your research process, also identify the areas in which your competitors are already firmly situated. Put this information into a table or a graph to illustrate where an opening might exist for your product or service. Your goal should be to try to find the right configuration of products, services, quality, and price that will ensure the least direct competition. Unfortunately, there is no universal method for making these comparisons effectively. Not only will the desired attributes vary from industry to industry, but there is also an element of creativity that is needed. For example, only someone who had already thought of developing pre-packaged surgical instruments could use a survey to determine whether or not a market actually existed for them.

If you do find a new niche market, make sure that this niche doesn’t conflict with your overall business plan. For example, a small bakery that makes cookies by hand cannot go after a market for inexpensive, mass-produced cookies, regardless of the demand.

Source: SBA.gov

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