Excel Formula To Convert Time Duration To Proportion Of Year Small Business Secret #3 – Seven Documents All Small Businesses Must Have To Be Successful

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Small Business Secret #3 – Seven Documents All Small Businesses Must Have To Be Successful

When many small business owners start thinking about building a small business, they are often misled into believing that the only document they need to succeed is a business plan. In fact this plan is only one of seven documents that every small business should have if they ever hope to survive, let alone succeed.

Let me explain…

Document 1. Business Plan

A business plan, which most accountants, lawyers and business coaches will say is the only document you need, is the first document you need to complete. I definitely strongly disagree that this is the only document you need, as the real role of this document is to summarize the other six mandatory documents you must have.

The size of your business plan document depends on the size of the business you are buying or building. Your business plan should include how your business will be run, how you will finance the business, what kind of profit you will make, how you will advertise and market your business, what your exit strategy will be, what form your business will take, where it will be located. will etc.

If you are buying a business rather than starting from scratch, always ask the previous owner to see their business plan. This will give you a better insight into the inner workings of the business and where it has come from. One thing to note, always make sure whether you are buying an existing business or building your own, you create your own business plan so you have a clear understanding of where you are going with this business.

Document 2. Business model

Business models are usually created using tools such as Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access. The model allows you to apply different scenarios to your business model to see what kind of results will occur. It’s a great tool for running scenarios and seeing what the outcome would be if certain situations could happen, like if your truck breaks down or what happens to your profits if a certain piece of machinery breaks down for a period of time.

A business model is also very useful when dealing with organizations such as banks or financial institutions. If your business model can show how different factors can affect your business and you can still survive, then banks and financial institutions are more likely to give you the money you need.

Document 3. Marketing plan

A marketing plan document sets out how you are going to market your business. This includes the brochures you are going to use, the type of ads you may use, the frequency of the campaign, the medium you are using and so on. A marketing plan provides an in-depth look at how you will market your business. Your marketing plan should represent 12 months of operations, that is, you should develop all of your marketing strategies so that they flow and build on each previous marketing campaign over a 12 month period.

Document 4. Operational Plan

Your operations plan is designed to define exactly how you will operate your business. An operations plan should include checklists of how to do each task in your organization, what needs to be done each day, week, month and year. Essentially the operating plan defines how your business will actually operate.

The main benefit of your operations plan is that if at any time you lose a staff member, you can use the operations plan to teach your new staff members the tasks they need to complete each day.

Document 5. Sales Plan

A sales plan outlines how sales will be made on a day-to-day basis. How will you sell your products and services, who are your target markets, your approach techniques for new customers, any customers you contact on a day-to-day basis and what your contact procedures are. In addition it should define the step-by-step process for you to convert a prospect into a customer.

A sales plan should use flow charts and also include any letters or marketing materials to be used for a particular sales process.

Document 6. Human Resource Planning

Human resource planning sets out the human resource structure of your organization. This should include information such as position descriptions, who each person reports to, who they are responsible for, what tasks they are responsible for and any specific duties they perform throughout the year.

The HR plan should also include information such as job advertisement templates, approved position descriptions and templates, hourly rates, acceptable work practices and more. An HR plan defines how your employees should engage in work and what you define as acceptable workplace behavior in your workplace.

Document 7. Style Manual

An organizational style manual sets out how you are going to present yourself to your customers. A style manual includes information about your logo, your business cards, the colors your business uses for its logo, banner layouts, how to place newspaper ads and what colors to use, what fonts to use in letters or faxes. A style manual also sets out what information will go on your business cards, where the logo will sit and what information should be included.

An organizational style manual sets out how you are going to present yourself to the public and what standards you will use. If you’ve never seen a style manual before, go to any major corporation’s website and type in ‘style manual’ and you’ll usually find one available for review.

After 10 years in small business and several small businesses under my belt, one thing I’ve learned is that if you don’t have these 7 plans and documents in place before creating or building your business, they will never get done. The simple fact is that small business is incredibly demanding on the small business owner and once the business is up and going, it is very unusual that the owner will ever have the time to go back and create them. Without each of these documents your business will not focus on what you want to achieve and that is why 70% of all small businesses worldwide fail in the first 12 months.

To conclude, I’d like to take a moment to summarize the seven documents that all small business owners should have before considering a small business.

1. Business plan

2. Business model

3. Marketing plan

4. Operational Plan

5. Sales plan

6. Human Resource Planning

7. Style Manual

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