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The Business Plan Coach Tim Berry advises how to get started on your business plan and explains how the SWOT method helps ...
you implement changes starting today.
Tags:How to Get Started On Your Business Plan,business ideas,business oppurtunities,business plans,sbtv,small business,small business advice,small business stories,tim berry
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Beth Haselhorst: You’ve got a great business idea and you’re ready to get that business started. Your first step is you create your business plan, but that can be a hefty job, so where exactly do you start? To answer that question for us is the man known as the business plans coach, Tim Berry. He’s not only a successful business author but also founder of Palo Alto Software, which produces the nation leading business planning software.
Tim is giving seminars on business planning for entrepreneurs in 15 countries on four continents, and he is here with us today, welcome to SBTV.com Tim.
Tim Berry: Thank you very much.
Beth Haselhorst: So first of all, how do you know when you’re ready to begin a business plan?
Tim Berry: Start anywhere. This is one that I’m grateful for the chance to talk about this. People need to be relieved of the anxiety of “Oh, my guys I’ve got to do this first to that first.” We’re different. Most people most of the time will get into this core that I talked about sometimes the market, your own identity and your strategy because that’s easier for most people and that’s really important.
But then there are these weirdoes like you know when I started a business plan and I always have I was a literature major I don’t understand this, but I always start in a numbers for some reasons. And people will say, “But that’s weird, how can you do a sales forecast until you’ve done differences and what you’re selling and all of that.” Well, I think in my head I sort of assumed most things and it gets me into the numbers. So I say start anywhere because that next person there is going to prefer to do keys to success first, and this person is going to write about cost of sales and that person is going—and it doesn’t matter.
Start where you feel comfortable because we added computers and we’re going to jump around any aisle. So just get going is what important is more important than which step is first.
Beth Haselhorst: Should you seek outside help with writing your business plan?
Tim Berry: You know the problem with outside help is it’s impossible to deny particularly, “Hey, I’m somebody who raised the family as the outside help for years and years. My company grew out of my business plan consulting.” So you don’t want to deny that there are very smart people who are there to help sometimes, but on the other hand the worst business plan engagement I had. And I still have those memories of it. Was one where the entrepreneurs let me do the business plan? It didn’t really bother. They thought they were doing something else.
So when it really got important every question the investors would ask all three of the real product because I was a business plan consultant. The turned to me and I answered and the investors get it. You know, they say, “Well, okay.” But this guy isn’t it? And so it has to be your business plan. If you can work with somebody outside, and they work well with you and you work well with them, you have to understand that if you don’t know every number every thought, every word then don’t pretend that you have business planning. You’ve just got a document to somebody’s work.
Beth Haselhorst: Okay. Some people feel intimidated by the journey of the business plan. Do you have any advice to keep someone motivated through the process?
Tim Berry: Yes, that intimidation thing, what I say is part of the reason I have to start anywhere that I say not just start anywhere, but do a piece at a time and be comfortable with it. For example, real concrete example. I love to switch strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats because they help people start thinking and why I used as an example because you can do a swat analysis this afternoon with two or three people, and be using that in your business tomorrow.
And I used that example because it illustrates for it’s not like you don’t do anything until you finish the plan. Get going, used the plots, starts thinking and then the rest of the day, pick up the phone. Answer calls. Talk to your customers. Business goes on, and ultimately over time you’ll have a business plan, but and here’s where it gets paradoxical. You never want your business plan to be done. A company with the business plan that’s finished is a company that’s finished.
Business plans are always going on, and I don’t mean you’re spending years on it. I mean you’re spending an hour here and two hours there, but you’re always working your plan.
Beth Haselhorst: Some great advice on starting the plan and keeping it going. Thanks a lot Tim for being with us today. Be sure to visit www.TimBerry.com to learn more about Tim’s book, his work and his blog. And you can find more segments with Tim Berry in the Small Business Growth Series here on SBTV.com where small business is our only business.