Friday, February 8, 2013

Business Plan Experts Explain Their Thinking
SANDY NEAL, expert on business plans is a mentor at the NORTH COAST SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCE CENTER

I began visiting Sandy Neal when I built my first website. After multiple visits to the office and several websites later, he remains one of my favorite resources when I have a business question.
MOLLOY: What is the purpose of a business plan?
NEAL: Do you want the short answer or the long one?
MOLLOY: Can we do medium? I need some meat on the bones, but it is a short blog format.
NEAL: OK, the idea of a business plan is to explain to yourself and others, potential financiers, family, you expect to actually make some money with your idea.
MOLLOY: I  know you teach courses and classes, can you sum up for me?
NEAL: I have an 8-step approach.
1) It is a path to your success
2) It is a framework for your research, & an aid to identify target markets
3) It will help formulate marketing strategies
4) It will identify & assess competitors
5) It will create risk analysis & mitigation
6) It helps to develop assumptions for sales projections
7) It is the foundation for financial statements
8) It will determine your potential profit

Several years ago the North Coast Small Business Resource Center had a workshop of Women Entrepreneurs. One of the guest speakers was Rhonda Abrams, an author who was a gracious person with several successful books on consulting. I found her on facebook, & asked her how she got started.

MOLLOY: What triggered the writing of your first book on business planning?
ABRAMS: I was a business plan consultant when I was approached about writing a guide to developing business plans. This was before the Internet and it was hard to find info (still is tough to find really good, qualified info!) and the few books on business plans were terrible. There was, I believe one business plan software package that was a "fill in the blanks" approach that didn't help entrepreneurs grow SUCCESSFUL businesses. So I wrote a book that I wanted when I started out. 
I wanted to help entrepreneurs understand their strategic, competitive position - what would make them succeed and last over the long run. I'm THRILLED that my book has helped millions of people launch businesses - and I hear from so many about their successes.

Rhonda Abrams has been guiding entrepreneurs and small business owners for over 20 years. As CEO of her own small business, THE PLANNING SHOP, she's sold over one millions books.
Titles include: SUCCESSFUL MARKETING,  Secrets & Strategies  and SIX-WEEK START-UP  


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