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The Business Plan Company Blog

Technology: the key to unleashing your growth

Sep 04 2018, - by Warren Harmer

Written by: Daniel He, The Business Plan Company  ..

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Before you ask for money, put your pants on!

Sep 04 2018, - by Warren Harmer

Imagine for a moment that you are an investor, with eager entrepreneurs pitching their big ideas to you. In a very short time you need to make an assessment of the proposal, opportunity and risks. Alternatively, put yourself in the shoes of a bank loan processor, assessing a multitude of applications for business finance; again you need to quickly make decisions on the risk of the submission and likelihood of repayment or default. If that was you, what would you be looking for? Key criteria would include a strong performance, a well presented proposal, strong business management skills, reliable business owners, a proven track record and a well-operated business. No surprises there. A vital tool in the communication of the business, is the business plan, so strong presentation obviously increases the chances of getting a “yes”.  ..

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The Top 3 Social Media Tips For Small Business

Aug 02 2018, - by Warren Harmer

Social Media can offer small business owners a fantastic opportunity to connect and interact with potential and current customers in a cost effective and time efficient way.  Our new marketing planner Tanya Duncan shares her 3 top tips for small businesses starting out with social media.
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Sorry business owners, hard work is not enough

Aug 02 2018, - by Warren Harmer

Gina Reinhart once famously said “There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire... spend less time drinking, or smoking and socialising and more time working.” For the millions of small businesses who work endless hours, late nights and weekends over many years (i.e. about as hard as you can work), her quote doesn’t really ring true. In fact, for most business owners, when business gets harder, they just work harder and longer, a strategy I have used myself. My conclusion: hard work is not enough to grow a business beyond small.  ..

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$24,000 for Facebook? Marketing ≠ gambling.

Jul 03 2018, - by Warren Harmer

$24,000. That is the amount quoted to a colleague recently just to manage Facebook for their small business for a year, an amount larger than the whole marketing budget for most small businesses. In fact, this is not an isolated case, with many clients being quoted 5-figure fees to manage small parts of their marketing activities. Such fees are not unreasonable for larger businesses, with larger budgets and some form of marketing coordination. The fact that these fees were then paid by a small business operating a knee-jerk marketing strategy is foolhardy but typical. Many businesses jump on the nearest passing bandwagon, in the absence of an overall strategy or plan, and just look for quick fixes, not knowing any better and feeling anxious that they ‘need to be on social media’.

So here is a reminder that marketing needs planning, research and evidence to build a cost effective plan which won’t bleed your cash. Here is my list of tasks that small businesses should tick off when approaching their marketing, in order:

1. Fundamentals – work out the basics first
Define your target markets
Assess buying cycles and seasonality
Customer surveys
Competitor analysis
Branding and positioning

2. Deciding what to do
Research marketing channels and costs.
Work out your budget.
Create a short list.
Assess the risk of each.
Create an annual schedule for marketing activity and spend that fits your budget.
Create a schedule for marketing for at least 6 months.

3. Measurement and review
Set up your systems so you can measure what worked.

4. Execute plan
Spend money here

5. Review
Watch the results, outcomes and measurements closely
Decide what to do next, based on what worked (and didn’t).

In this schedule, note that money is not spent until Step 4 but in most cases it’s the only step that most businesses do. No research, no planning and no measurement. The problem with managing a marketing strategy on the run is that your messaging can be off, targeting the wrong markets using a shotgun approach that costs more than it needs to; not that you would know because no one is measuring anyway. It’s like putting the car in full speed with no roadmap.

So next time you get the feeling that you want to place a big bet on one single type of marketing, go back to the plan and ask yourself does it fit into the strategy and budget? Do your results suggest that it will work. Most importantly, can you afford to lose the investment if it doesn’t work?
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“It won’t happen to me.” Cyber risks are real and increasing.

Jul 03 2018, - by Warren Harmer

By:  Byron McPherson, Reliance Partners ..

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Secrets of blundering business owners ..who somehow win.

Jun 14 2018, - by Warren Harmer

Starting a business can be tough. For most, it’s blood, sweat and tears, a lot of anxiety, money lost and plenty of stupid mistakes along the way. Even for those who meticulously plan and prepare there is still no guarantee, with oft-reported small business failure rates and horror stories. Others - despite their dedication – languish and never reach their potential,. ..

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The biggest risk to small business is…

May 31 2018, - by Warren Harmer

Getting into small business is risky. In fact it could even be argued that it’s one of the most financially risky things someone can do. So it stands to reason that risk management should be alive and well in small business, but contrary to logic, it is almost non-existent. In the analysis we do during the business planning process, we look at the usual suspects: economic downturn, supplier constraints, employees, security, emergencies, disasters, product liabilities, funding models and regulation (among others). Whilst these are the headline, big-ticket factors that are the most obvious, there is an even bigger factor that is usually overlooked. That risk, the biggest risk to small businesses is a factor not often discussed, or even acknowledged.  ..

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Small decisions with big impact

May 01 2018, - by Warren Harmer

On the very first day that I went to university, one senior lecturer gave a pearl of wisdom to all of us fresh faced students: “if there is a simple solution presented to a problem, then it’s probably wrong.” These words have stayed in the back of my mind, and it has been a lesson repeated time and again. Working with small business, I frequently see them looking for that simple solution, that one thing, that silver bullet that will solve their problems. At business seminars, I see so many hopeful faces in the audience, waiting for the guru of the day tell them a magical spell that will turn on the tap for customers, get them a big investor or create some huge opportunity. The reality is that businesses are complex and (at times) unruly beasts and silver bullets are mythical solutions.  ..

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How to fund your business start up

May 01 2018, - by Warren Harmer

By: Shaun McGowan, Lend ..

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