Would you ever think of taking a trip to a foreign location without some type of tourist guide or map? Could you imagine doing this and then the feeling of suddenly realizing that you have no idea where you are or what to do? I would imagine that would be a terrifying experience. Fortunately people take trips like this all of the time and these types of experiences are averted through proper planning. Operating a business without a business plan is like taking a trip without a map. You do not want to dedicate precious time to building a business only to suddenly realize that you have no idea where you are or what to do.We often see entrepreneurs who are working so much on the day-to-day tasks of building the business that they do not take the time to properly plan. Usually the business owner did not take the time to properly plan for the future. This is one of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make. In this article I will outline 5 reasons an entrepreneur needs a business plan to keep their business on the right track.Provide a RoadmapA business plan provides a guideline to help you achieve your goals. Mapping out a plan helps you in determining which strategic path you will use to reach your desired destination. The research and brainstorming conducted during the writing of the plan will assist you in figuring out where the business should go while providing a complete set of instructions to help you get there. The primary goal of a business plan is to provide a roadmap that ensures your business is heading in the right direction and stays on course.As a Motivational Tool Business plans are very important for internal motivation and the motivation of stakeholders. While writing your plan the first step you should take is to identify the correct business plan template needed. Secondly, you must determine your vision, or where you want to see your business in the next 1-3-5-10 years. Creating this vision becomes a motivational tool because it allows you to see the possibilities you can create for your business if you follow the plan.Identify Strategic Integration A comprehensive business plan assists the entrepreneur in making a cohesive strategy that brings into account all the elements of the strategic business plan, and identifies how they associate with each other. Looking at the business in this way promotes the elimination of components of the plan that do not correlate with the greater vision. The plan helps you to identify how you can build your company over time. For example if you have an existing business you might try to expand the business through your existing clients. Your strategies might evolve around deepening your client relationships through customer relationship management. A system for reaching out to clients could help move the company forward.Increase Creativity Strategic business plans can help to increase the creativity associated with the business. Without creativity, your company is only one of the many competing for market share in your field, area, or industry. By using a creative approach you can design a business that sets itself apart in the marketplace with a distinctive look and brand. All too often, we see bland, boring marketing messages and products presented in uninspired ways. To succeed you must stand out in the crowd by getting creative and differentiating your business by identifying your competitive edge. A well-crafted business plan can help you do just that.Define Desired Outcomes In simple terms a business plan helps the entrepreneur get the job done. The business plan defines the desired outcomes and outlines the steps necessary to reach them. By performing the actions dictated in the business plan, the entrepreneur is able to stay on track. It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day details of the operation as pointed out before. By reviewing the plan periodically, the business owner is reminded to schedule time to do the strategic tasks outlined in the business plan. In short, taking focused and strategic action leads the entrepreneur to success.It is very important that an entrepreneur sets a direction before moving forward. This can only be done through proper business planning. Below is an honest review of a company that can help you do just that. It may be the key to your success.Make sure you set yourself up to be successful and do not find yourself in a strange land without a map. Develop a strategic business plan that will outline the growing success of your organization over time, and watch as your business succeeds beyond your wildest dreams.
It is not a surprise that we are witnessing ongoing dwindling economic situation coupled with increasing prices of commodities – groceries, petrol, and diesel that tend to make life hard and miserable for people and businesses.We are in a period when many startup businesses and entrepreneurs are quick to give up their startup business ideas on the pretense that “time is hard,” or simply put, “there is no money in the economy.”From my experience as a business coach, this as one of those good times when anyone that is serious about starting a new business should venture in. Many businesses started in economic recession have higher propensity of survival for many reasons ranging from less competition, cheap labour, and more support available for startup businesses.Although the emphasis is not on why you should be starting a new business in bad economy, nevertheless, it might interest you to remember that in every ten or fifteen years, economies go through phases of growth, recession, Trough, and recovery. With careful preparation, planning, and execution; great businesses, entrepreneurs and organizations are made at such times.To succeed with your startup business ideas you need these 3 key ingredients…1. Be clear about your visionTrue vision is the realistic inspiring picture of what you are trying to create, the difference you want to make and be remembered by. Having a vivid vision of the type of business you want to start will make a great difference to how inspired you will be when communicating it to others. I am not talking about crafting the best vision/mission/value statements on paper; no. When you clarify your vision for starting a new business, a clearly defined vision answers the following questions about:• Who is are you service… your ideal customer?
• What benefit do you give to your stakeholders, community and the world?
• Why does your organization exist?At any time when your vision is not clear enough to provide answers to the above questions either through the products or services you’re offering, it might be worth going back to the drawing board to gain deeper clarity of what you’re trying to do.Assuming you want to start a food business for example; what type of food do you see yourself offering? Who are the people buying from you? What will make them to continue to buy from you? Who else is selling the type of food you want to sell (your major competitors), and how do you want to distinguish yourself from them? What type of impact is your food and business going to make to your community…?Your vision is at the foundation of the business you want to build; and it is what you want your organization to become even many years after. However clearly you paint the vision will set the path to how successful your business will be because, you cannot build a business beyond the vision you have about it. Keeping your vision simple and exciting will keep you constantly energized and inspired to communicate it to the world both in good market and in bad market.2. Strategize Your ActionsNo matter how vivid your vision may be, if you don’t have a plan of simple actions that you will be executing daily or weekly towards manifesting your startup business ideas, your whole exercise would be mere waste of time.What you need to start a business is usually not a bunch of complicated tips for starting a business, rather a disciplined culture of commitment to take simple steps each day over a long period of time before you can see the results you desire. To strategize your actions therefore means to identify the most important part of the activities you must do regularly, day after day until you see your business come alive in reality.This is one of the very important steps in startup business guide where most startup entrepreneurs quit their dreams for lack of discipline and commitment.3. Hire a Coach or MentorYour business coach is someone that helps you to see the things you couldn’t see your business. One of the challenges of starting a new business is lack of direction and execution. Many startup businesses and entrepreneurs often lose focus of the direction their business is heading. This can result in loss of enthusiasm, waste of time, money and resources. Paraphrasing Anthony Robbins, your energy flows to wherever, and on whatever you give focus. Your coach will make sure that you are constantly focused to on your highest priority objectives, and that every action you are taking is in sync with your startup business ideas.
There are many issues to consider when insuring a vehicle that is owned and used by your business. The questions that surround these issues, and how you would answer these questions, will determine what insurance you need to properly protect yourself, your employees and your entire business. It is important to remember that for this insurance, you don’t want to just go with the cheapest option. Your business is at risk every time a business vehicle is in motion.As a business owner, you need many of the same insurance coverages for cars, trucks, vans or other types of vehicles you use for business purposes as you do for vehicles you operate in your personal life. The Business Owner’s Policy you purchased for your business does not usually provide liability or other coverages for vehicles used in your business. That means you will likely need a separate vehicle policy.Most states require you to purchase liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage that may result from a vehicle accident occurring while you or someone from your organization is driving for business. The Business Auto Coverage Form (BACF) is the most commonly used contract for providing business auto liability insurance. Although the form refers only to “autos,” autos are defined to include cars, trucks, trailers, vans or other vehicles designed for use on public roads.Many states also require you to have uninsured/underinsured motorist’s coverage and/or medical payments coverage, known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in some states. You can also purchase physical damage coverage for vehicles your business owns, leases or hires.Each vehicle you use in your business can be separately “scheduled,” or listed on your policy, along with corresponding coverages. In other words, you can choose different coverages for your various vehicles, depending on the vehicles’ characteristics and the coverage you need for each.Do I Need a Business Auto Policy?Your insurance agent will ask in detail how you use vehicles in your business: who will be driving them, whether you own, rent or lease, and whether you and your employees are likely to be driving their own cars for your business. The answers to these questions will indicate the types of coverage you need.In general, only a BACF can provide the level of liability protection-with a recommended minimum of $500,000-that even a small business needs to cover the potential damages in a serious accident.Will My Personal Auto Policy Cover Business Use?Your personal auto policy may provide some coverage for business uses of your vehicle. By the same token, your employees’ personal auto policies may cover some business uses if they were using their personal vehicles for business errands.If the vehicle you are using is used primarily in business, your personal auto policy might not be enough to cover any losses. It will most likely not provide coverage for any vehicle titled and registered to a business. If you, or your employees, are driving personal vehicles for occasional business activities that are covered by your personal auto policies, it is important to have sufficient liability coverage to protect the business in the event of a serious auto accident.Many business people have a personal umbrella policy, covering claims that may result for damages personally caused to another. It is typical for an umbrella policy to exclude any claims while in the course and scope of doing business.What Vehicles Are Covered in a Business Auto Policy?The choice in business auto policies can vary, depending on the coverages offered by your insurance company. The BAP could apply only to one specific car, or could be extended to cover the insured’s use of any automobile. Most states offer three general options for which vehicles could be covered under your policy:1. All autos owned by your business
2. All autos owned or leased or hired by your business
3. All autos used for the business, including those that are not owned, hired and/or leased.Most businesses should consider the third option as it will likely be the policy that protects a business when an owner or employee are using a personal vehicle for business.Details of the Business Auto Coverage Forms-Be sure the titled owner is listed as the principal insured on the insurance contract.
-Be sure to have “full” coverage on your vehicles, comprehensive and collision.
-It is recommend that a small business have an auto coverage limit of $1,000,000. This amount of coverage does not usually cost significantly more, and it could save your business in the event of a serious car accident involving a business automobile.
-The combined single limit (CSL) on your business policy should likewise be $1,000,000 at a minimum.
-A business umbrella policy is always a good idea. Ask your insurance agent about what options might be available to you on your policy. This gives added protection as long as the underlying policies are in force at certain minimums.When Your Business Vehicle Is Also Your Personal VehicleWhen an owner of a business, or an employee, drives a business vehicle for personal use and that person does not own their own personal vehicle, there is a gap in liability coverage. The BACF does not cover personal use of the business vehicle in these situations. An owner would need to add a “Drive Other Car Coverage Endorsement” to a BACF policy. This will allow for coverage to other vehicles driven by the business owner, making the policy now act more like a personal policy and covering the driver and vehicles under the business policy.Your Business May Be Liable if You Allow a Bad Driver on the RoadYou and your business can be legally liable for allowing someone to drive one of your business vehicles. If you fail to determine whether or not the person is qualified to drive or has a bad record, you might be liable for negligent entrustment. A case of negligent entrustment arises when you allow another person to drive your vehicle, knowing or having reason to know that the use of the vehicle by that person creates a risk of harm to others. Your business is responsible for verifying any driver’s qualifications before entrusting them with a vehicle.