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Basics of Creating Your Business Plan

We now come to probably the most feared, most avoided but the most important task in beginning a business. Many believe that a business plan is only for those seeking outside financial help like from a bank or investors. Others believe that this is just unnecessary paperwork and that the best business plan is in their heads. Some who believe in it do so only half-heartedly and come up with a one or two page plan of how they see their business progressing. All these approaches are misguided and without proper direction, the business is more likely to sink than grow.

The most important point to remember about a business plan is that it is first and foremost for you! It is to layout a concrete plan to successfully start, manage and then grow your company. It will force you to think and invest in strategy planning, market research, financial planning, operational details and marketing plans.

However, we will concede that it is not easy to immediately start out working on a business plan and every business plan will need working and reworking. We will try to provide you first with some general guidelines on what a good business plan should include and once we have you thinking in that direction, we will start helping you fill out all the details in the business plan.

Let us first outline what a well written business plan will contain:

- An attractive statement of purpose – when people ask you what your business does, this is the first statement you will be using.

- Complete description of who you believe your customers will be, any special niche you are aiming for as well as a general strategy for winning over that niche.

- Complete description of your product or service. Mention what are the highlights and what could be its challenges, production or selling wise.

- A well compiled list of people who will be working with your or advising you in various aspects. Mention clearly what their skills and areas of expertise are.

- Details of financial plans that will show how you plan to finance the first few years and expected revenues and expenses

- Major risks that you may face before your business settles down and major advantages that may help it grow well.

As you can see, your business plan is more like a map to guide you through, at any point in time. If you have given sufficient thought to planning and written down the steps in sufficient detail in your business plan, no matter how many ups or downs there are, you should be able to stay on course. In fact, one expert likes to compare a business plan to the centerboard of a sailboat. Irrespective of how the wind is blowing, your business plan will always help you stay on course, headed in the right direction.

If you would like to look at some samples before you begin on one, you can speak to banks or business websites, which can help you by showing samples of a few business plans. You could also look up one of the thousands of books in your local library, which should contain a sample. However, treat the sample as just that. It is meant to give you an idea of what are the essentials that should go in a business plan. Do not worry if your plan is too long or short, simple or complicated. What should matter to you is that it is written in a manner that you can follow easily, contains information that is helpful to your business, identified possible challenges that could arise and outlined plans for overcoming them.

Create a Successful Home Business on eBay

Many people have at least entertained the idea of starting up their own business on eBay, to allow them the freedom of working from home on their own schedule. However, few actually make the leap into trying, and fewer still are actually successful at creating a home business on eBay that brings in a decent income. The reason for so many failures is that most people don’t bother to do their research, pay attention to their customers’ wants and needs, or even take advantage of the tools available to them to increase their chances at success. You can save yourself from making these pricey mistakes and steer clear of failure with these simple tips:

Do Your Research

Before you start picking up items on eBay, do some research to see what items are selling well at the moment. Just by checking out the current auctions on eBay, you can find the most profitable products that you can sell yourself to make money. Try viewing different categories, and then organize the listings by highest bid first, to see what items are fetching the highest price. These are the items you want to focus on selling yourself.

Focus On Customer Service

This is the most obvious way to build up a successful business, and yet, so many sellers completely ignore it. Customer service is the cornerstone of any good business. Unhappy customers means less sales, and ultimately, an unhappy seller. Go above and beyond with your customers, offering them a return policy, exceptional service, polite responses to their questions, and prompt solutions for their problems. Include extras in your packages, like a hand-written thank you note, or a small bonus item along with their auction item. Every little bit counts, and your customers will definitely take notice. These are the things that keeps customers coming back, and will encourage them to spread the word about your business.

Take Advantage Of The Extras

Sellers on eBay have a lot of tools available to them to boost their visibility and their business’s profits. Take advantage of everything eBay has to offer. Build up your about me page with information about you, your business, and your customer service policies. Use your eBay blog to talk about the products you are offering for sale. Participate in the forums and help new buyers out, and they’ll likely follow the link to your store. Anything that gets your name out there can help you gain more customers.

Taking the time to utilize the options available, provide your customers with quality customer service, and researching the items that sell before investing in anything are the three key steps to building a successful home business on eBay. With so many sellers skipping these essentials, you can really push yourself ahead of the competition if you just take the time to work out your strategies before you begin selling. Focus on these methods, and you will no doubt see wonderful results if you stick to it.

Taking the Plunge – Starting a Home Business

It’s more daunting than becoming a member of the Polar Bear Club. It’s more frightening than the thought of your entire extended family coming to your house for Christmas dinner. It’s even scarier than a root canal. Starting your own home business can be a terrifying transition in life, but it can also be the best decision you’ve ever made. So, get some courage together, and let’s talk turkey.

All your life you’ve comfortably come and gone from a brick and mortar business. The nine to five, Monday through Friday grind is your weekly ritual and your comfort zone. But all your life thus far has only served one purpose; to make someone else rich. While you are slaving away in your cubicle, have you ever wondered why management always has a few days a week to spare for golf games? Have you noticed management’s ever-increasing goals for productivity never really create any extra work for them? It’s good to be in charge, plain and simple. When you are calling your own shots, you’ll never again have to be angry about workplace injustices.

If you want to make a comfortable living for yourself and your family, move to the top of the profit pyramid. How? Find a niche to fill in the market and make it happen. Your entrepreneurial calling is only as far away as your strongest talent. Are you a great writer? Get typing, friend! Are you an amazing seamstress? Sew yourself up some profits. Determine the true passion in your life and hunt it down relentlessly. Just make sure that passion is practical and profitable. Don’t leave a decent job to pursue a career as a hand model if you aren’t totally convinced you’ve got something marketable under those mittens.

Talent isn’t the only thing you’ll need to get your home business going. You also must have some basic business sense. Lucky for you, nearly every business question you can think of has an answer online. Search for some good resources and start studying up on bookkeeping, budgeting and business proposals. You’ll also want to talk to an accountant about the tax-deductible expenses involved in starting up your business. Any money you get back from Uncle Sam is a good thing.

Transitioning from a full-time drone to owning your own work at home business may be difficult. Figure out how to provide for health insurance. Be mindful of tax laws so the IRS doesn’t pound down your door with an audit. Some people are more comfortable making a slow transition into their online business by going at it part-time while keeping their regular job. This is a good idea if you want to test the waters before you jump in. It also buffers start-up expenses you’ll accumulate while your business catches on and builds its place in the market.

A great idea and basic business skills are a good foundation, but to really get your home business humming you’ll need a heaping helping of moxie. Never underestimate the value of your own tenacity. Before you make your dreams a reality, you need to start dreaming. Think big! The size and scope of your home business, and ultimately the size of your profit margins, are directly related to your ambition. So, the more ambitious you are, the more money you stand to make. Just like any other investment, you need to take risks to see big returns. As long as your risks are calculated and well-researched, you will not regret them.