Day 10 – Business Planning

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Hi Victoria here from The Bookkeeper Hub, HBA Encompass, and of course author of Zest for Success.  Oh my god!  The amount of time I spend sitting in my car waiting for my children — aaahhh!  I’m gonna use this to the best of my advantage and talk you through building a business through the Zest for Success method and where possible I’m gonna relate that back to The Bookkeeper Hub which is our bookkeeping business.  So we’ve talked about basic product viability.  We’ve talked about production.  We’ve talked about cash flows.  Oh my god!  That’s heavy for the first couple of sessions of talking about these.  But before you go ahead and build a business and start spending money, you need to make sure that you’ve got those foundations and your business is going to work.  So hopefully by now you’ve done some number crunching.  You know where you stand.  And it’s just about all systems go.  And from now on in after today, it’s going to be all about ready set go or as my friend James Tuckerman says ready fire aim.  Think about that one.

So today, we’re gonna have a quick chat about business planning.  I do have some notes that I wanna refer to because I want to make sure that I don’t miss anything.  But keeping in mind that there are hundreds and thousands of business plan templates out there on the world wide web.  Your bank requires them.  Your mom and dad or your mentor might say you must have a business plan before you start a business.  And if you wanna borrow anyone or wanna get an investor, anyone who wants to lend or invest in your business wants to know that you’ve really put a thought into this.  And particularly mom and dad if they’re getting towards retirement stage and they’re starting funding your start up and it’s their retirement savings that they’re forking out.  They wanna make sure that you’re not gonna leave them destitute.  I know your parents will do anything for you but you wanna make sure that what you’re doing isn’t just wasting their money away.  So a business plan is important.  There’s a few things that do need to be covered in a business plan.  I’m gonna go through them and then gonna talk about a shortcut because I hate doing stuff for the sake of doing it rather than getting something that is gonna be useful that you can use going forward.  Okay?  So let’s have a look at the basic things that business plans traditionally cover.  So the first one is an overview and a vision of your business.  Where do you want to be?  Where do you want to be in twelve months time?  Where do you want to be in three years time, five years time, ten years time?  And that’s pretty heavy when you’ve just got this idea or  a product and gone ‘you know what this thing’s great I wanna go out and sell it’.  Where you wanna be?  At Bookkeeper Hub, we want to be the bookkeeper of choice for tradies.  We wanna be the bookkeeper that other bookkeepers come to to get advise.  We want to be the people that help businesses succeed.  Hence the fact we’re doing this video today.  Then you need to talk about your USP, or your unique service proposition.  We spoke about that a few weeks ago.  Something that is unique to you that is different from everyone else who sells your product or service.  And that’s really hard when you sit there and you think about it and you go ‘you know what, I’m a bookkeeper.  What do I do that’s different from any other bookkeeper that’s around?  Yeah, I use Xero.  There’s thousands of people who use Xero.  Yeah, I’m virtual.  Whoo-hoo!  That’s really exciting but what we’ve put together is the book Zest for Success and the Zest for Success method that we’re using to assist our clients to grow their businesses.  Having these resources, with the downloads and the book, is something that’s totally different and of course these videos that’s totally different to any other bookkeeper that’s out there.  That’s our unique selling proposition.  And of course we have our fix-it service.  So I’m not gonna go in depth about that.  If you want, you can check it out here.  So once you’ve done that, you put in the details of your product or service, so what do we do?  We do bookkeeping.  We do bookkeeping training.  And we have a Xero Fix-It service — three services.  Simple.  If you have lots of products or services, try to bring it back down to your main ones.  The core of your business because someone who’s gonna invest in your business needs to get an understanding of what it is that you do.  And as hard as it is try to make this as simple as you can, not technical.  I had a client years ago in the telecommunications industry.  He used to come and be in our meetings and he’d talk about his product.  He would be technical and he would talk about a DSL and whatever it is and VoIP and we just go well what do you do.  At the end of the day, we actually drilled down.  What he does is have a product that plugs into your phone system.  That then uses either effectively VoIP which is voice over the internet or your telephone line depending on which is the best connection and which one is gonna charge you the least.  And it automatically split from one to the other if the other dropped out.  So back in the day, VoIP was all the rage.  But the actual service because the internet was crud, it was horrible.  You’d make a phone call that would drop out and you get really frustrated.  Your clients get frustrated.  His service if the VoIP dropped out instantaneously dropped back to a phone line and he didn’t even know the difference but that wasn’t the way that he brought it when he came to explain what his product was.  It was all technical, highfalutin, because that’s what he got off on.  We just wanted to know that we can make cheap phone calls that would work.  So make sure that when you’re talking about your product or service, you are actually putting in what it is in a way that people can understand.  And then you go through and talk about SWOT.  Now SWOT is a long-term business planning tool that stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  Now, we’re gonna go in detail of this in quite a few sessions time.  We get deep down into business planning but strengths and weaknesses are things that relates to your business.  Opportunities and threats are relating to your industry.  So just keep that in mind if you through that process.  Then we talk about production.  How your product or service is gonna be delivered?  How it’s gonna be produced?  What you’re gonna do and how you’re gonna do it?  Then we talk about marketing, structures.  The type of business structure that you’re gonna use.  Different responsibilities of different people, your organizational chart.  You know what, this is getting really deep and really hard talking about how your business is gonna be managed.  What kind of licenses you need? — your processes, your products, your management information systems.  Are your eyes closing over already?  I know I’m sitting here going ‘oh my god, if I got to go through all of this just to start a business…’.    We’ll it’s stuff that you need to think about and it’s stuff that we’re gonna talk about going forward in a one-by-one basis.  But if you really wanna get your business plan up and running quickly, it’s a matter of combining your vision, your plan, your service, and your numbers into something that people can understand.  And the best thing that I’ve come across is a one-page plan.  It’s by a business called Gazelles which is owned by Verne Harnish.  He’s in the US so a lot of his stuff comes out as US terminology.  But he has all these resources that you can download off the web to complete a one-page plan.  We print it off in A3, stick it to our wall.  And it’s there.  We know where it is.  We look at it each quarter, we update it each quarter.  And it gives us a target of where we gonna go for the next ninety days.  Verne’s got a book called The Rockefeller  Habits if you like reading.  And if you wanna check out his website here.  So if you wanna have a look at that by all means but we have adapted one of his one-page plans and put it on our download page. You’ll find that there’s a one-page business plan.  I suggest that you have a look at that and have a cracker of filling that out before you do get too bogged down into business planning.  Thanks.  I’ll see you tomorrow.

And one thing I didn’t mention if you are going to the bank and you are going for bank finance, they probably want the full-blown business plan because the bank guys have their own structures, tick offs, and procedures.  And something that’s different throws them out and usually makes them say no.  If that’s the case go to the website of the bank that you’re looking at and see if they have any resources there and if they have any business plans because if you can take your stuff off your one-page plan or off your head of what we’ve been talking about and put it into their structure, you’ve got more chance of them saying yes.  Thanks!

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