Tag: Free

Free Business Mentoring Program #ideas #for #starting #a #business


#business mentor

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Start a Conversation. Grow a Business.

We’re Better Together

For entrepreneurs, turning a passion into a business is the ultimate dream. But that dream doesn’t come easily. It’s hard work, and there are challenges around every corner. Fortunately, entrepreneurs don’t have to go it alone. Their chance of success increases with access to the business knowledge and guidance of experienced professionals.

MicroMentor is a free, easy-to-use social network that allows entrepreneurs and volunteer business mentors to connect so they can solve problems and build businesses together. Join a growing community that has already created thousands of mentor-mentee matches and continues to make an impact through the power of mentoring to help small businesses thrive.

Our growth was inevitable with my mentor holding me accountable.

Morgan, co-founder of Specialized Emergency Training

How It Works

Create your profile

Sign up and complete your profile. Describe yourself, what you do, and what you hope to accomplish here.

Reach Out

Send messages to others in the community to express your interest in starting a new mentoring conversation.

Start Mentoring

Talk on the phone to get to know one another. Move forward by setting goals and solving problems together!

For Organizations

MicroMentor also bundles our unique, web-based platform with dedicated programmatic support to help large organizations get employee volunteering and mentoring initiatives off the ground easily, effectively, and at scale. With a track record of creating satisfying mentoring experiences and fueling business growth, MicroMentor offers corporations and government agencies the potential for unprecedented reach and maximum impact.

To learn more, select which type of organization you work for:

My mentee did as much for me as I could have possibly done for her. It was unbelievable how she uplifted my life.

Newton, mentor and corporate executive

Powering Vision

Cynthia is a young social entrepreneur from Nigeria who joined MicroMentor to grow her biodegradable dish soap business, Everglow. Cyndy was connected with Gary, a former executive from UPS. Gary leveraged his extensive experience with sales, marketing and global logistics to help Cynthia, who then implemented a major rebrand and made crucial decisions about labeling, pricing, packaging and distribution. Gary helped Cyndy gain a competitive advantage within the burgeoning liquid soap market in Nigeria. Her business grew by 40% and hired 6 new employees. EverGlow is now being pursued by venture capitalists and bar soap manufacturers.

Cynthia is now launching a second social enterprise focused on cassava which will improve the environment and increase farmers’ incomes. Read more.

Business Mentoring Fuels Success

Thriving entrepreneurs often cite mentoring as a critical component of their success.
Our results show that entrepreneurs who use MicroMentor reap the benefits of mentoring, growing their businesses every year.

SURVIVE

Compared to a 74% survival rate for businesses that didn’t receive mentoring.

THRIVE

Mentored businesses increased revenues by 83% — five times better than without a mentor.


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Free Online Brochure Maker #grants #for #small #businesses


#business brochures

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Use Canva’s drag-and-drop brochure maker and create a beautiful brochure that won’t bore your audience.

Create a professional brochure that will hook your audience

  1. Open Canva and add Custom Dimensions for your brochure
  2. Choose from our library of professional graphic design elements such as banners, icons, frames and more.
  3. Upload your own photos or choose from over 1 million stock images
  4. Fix your images, add stunning filters and edit text
  5. Save and share

Customize your brochure with these 4 simple steps

  1. Change the images. Upload your own images or choose from our stock library of over 1 million photographs, graphics and illustrations.
  2. Change the fonts. Choose from of over 130 fresh fonts.
  3. Change the background. Choose a background from our library or use an image.
  4. Change the colors. Change the color of your text boxes and text to add extra flair.

Choose images from our professional stock library or upload your own

We re proud of our amazing stock libary of over 1 million stock images, graphics and illustrations. Many of these images are free, while premium images are all priced at just $1 each. If you want to create a professional brochure to use as marketing material these images are the perfect choice.

You can also upload your own images for free. Once you upload them in Canva you can use them as many times as you like.

Print your brochure in stunning high resolution

As well as using your brochure as online marketing material you can also print it in stunning high resolution. For the best quality printed brochure export your Canva design as a PDF.

Share your brochure straight to social media

Share your brochure straight from Canva! To impress your friends and colleagues with your new design click the Share button on the top right of the editor. This will allow you to share your design straight to Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and more.


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Free business plan template #business #liability #insurance


#free business plan

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Write a business plan

Important

For a new business, a business plan helps improve your chance of securing financing and investment. Established businesses should review their business plan and update it regularly in order to provide direction for growth.

Use our free business plan and one page action plan templates

These templates will help you to create a business plan easily. The one page action plan (located within the Business Plan Template Guide) helps you to take quick action on goals that you have set.

What should your business plan cover?

A clearly written business plan should:

  • set the vision and direction of your business
  • carry out a SWOT analysis
  • map out a one page action plan for your next steps.

What’s the One Page Plan?

The One Page Plan allows you to prepare a summarised overview of the current situation and assists you to implement the right solutions at the right time to achieve your vision / targets. It’s also a practical way to record the outcomes of the planning process.

Elements of your One Page Plan

Now Analysis: In this section summarise your current situation. You should be able to fit up to five points. Which four or five accurately describe your issue right now?

Where Analysis. What is your vision? What is your competitive advantage? What are your key objectives? Summarise these elements in this section.

Strategies. What are the three or four key strategies you need to work on over the next twelve months? These can be drawn from your SWOT analysis that you have done earlier.

Action Plans. In this section, list what is to be done. Normally you have about three or four actions. There is no need to put every step into the action plan. Only list the strategically important ones. These actions can be drawn from the outcomes of your Force Field you did on your key issues / strategy.

Timing. Lists when you aim to achieve the result and who is responsible for it. These should be in priority order and are critical for accountability.

What’s next?


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Winning grants and free support for your business: It’s a RAPP – Small Business

#grants for small businesses

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Winning grants and free support for your business: It’s a RAPP

There are many opportunities for businesses to obtain free support and grants, both at start-up and during growth and development.

However, keeping up to date with what is available is a task in itself, with schemes appearing and disappearing on a regular basis.

Competition is high and success does not come easy.

If you follow the RAPP process when applying for grants and support, you will improve your chance of success.

The RAPP process

R esearch – find out what grants and support are available.

A pplicant suitability – when you identify an opportunity, ensure you meet the criteria or conditions required for the funding before spending time on an application.

P reparation – take time to prepare and tailor the application to meet the specific criteria and conditions. Alternatively, P can stand for a professional who has the skill set and knowledge of the type of grant you are seeking.

P atience – take time completing your application (but without missing deadlines) and be patient waiting for the result!

Financial support in the form of grants can be found at three levels. National grants primarily focus on growth and capital investment, such as the government’s Growth Accelerator scheme, while regional grants come from a local board specifically set up to help a region that has government and local authority support.

Local grants may be available from a local council, for example subsidised rents for new start-up businesses or funding to help tidy up a high street retail unit.

There are also European grants and funding support, details of which can be found at UK Trade and Investment .

Where you live or trade may significantly increase your chances of success of getting funding, particularly if your business is in an area defined as economically disadvantaged.

It is not unknown for businesses to set up in or move to an area where regional or local assistance is more readily available.

When looking for or considering grant options, four points generally apply.

1. Nothing is free; typically you must be prepared to put in some of your own funds. It is extremely rare for a grant to finance the total cost of, say, a start-up or project, unless it is for a very small amount. Many grants require match funding ie you need to match the funding from the grant provider.

For example, Growth Accelerator is a government-backed scheme providing mentor support, coaching and workshops for businesses looking for rapid growth.

The business has to pay a contribution towards the assistance; the amount depends on the size of the business, with the government contributing to the overall cost of the support.

A grant does mean that you are not giving up part of the ownership of your business, as you would if you were seeking equity funding or repaying the money and interest as you would on bank borrowing.

2. Grants are generally available for a specific project, for example development of a new product or job creation.

Therefore your application needs to meet the criteria for which the grant or support is being provided. Grants are not generally available for just starting a business.

3. The grant scheme provider will have objectives, strategies or aims which the funding supports, for example helping with youth employment.

Understand what the objectives or aims are when completing the application.

4. You must have a business plan that explains what you require the funding for and which is tailored to the grant provider’s specific criteria and conditions.

A blanket application or plan is not going to work. On most occasions, your business plan will have to be entered into the provider’s prescribed application form.

Do not just think of grants and support as financial support. Other types of free support can come in many guises.

For example, when opening your business bank account you may be offered free book keeping software, and many local councils and chambers of commerce offer free training seminars on topics such as social media.

The type of product or service for which you are seeking funding supporting has a major impact on your chances of success. Key areas for which grants and support are readily found are:

Innovation

There are a wide range of schemes and support to encourage research and development. The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) provides grants and support to help develop new products and services and put them in a position to be brought to market.

Energy and environment

here are schemes specifically for developments that will improve energy efficiency or reduce environmental impact. Natural England lists a number on their website .

Training

There is plenty of funding and support is available to develop skills, including those of the business owner, as well as support for new employees where the business will be providing training and development.

For example, the National Apprenticeship Service provides advice and support on starting a subsidised apprenticeship. Alternatively, it could mean taking on an intern from the local university for the summer with the university providing match funding to pay the student’s salary.

Exports

Politicians’ emphasis on exports driving the economic recovery have led to considerable support and assistance for businesses looking to export the goods they manufacture. UK Trade Investment provide funding and subsided advice and services to help business export their products.

Business grants are notoriously hard to come by, but there is assistance out there if you know where to look. Follow the RAPP and hopefully you will be one of the successful ones. Good luck!

Further reading on grants

Related Topics

Comments (34)

How small and medium businesses can take on flexible working

Some 57 per cent of employees say the availability of flexible working in their workplace is important to them, according to Sage data. This guide to Sage 200 Online shows why more and more businesses are turning to the cloud.

Controlling Cash Flow – Learn to master your money

Find out how five small businesses met the challenges of raising finance, from drawing up a business plan to securing investment. Complete with expert guides and tips to help you through the process.

The Vitesse Network

Further Information

Vitesse Media Plc, 14 Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4BX T. 0207 250 7010

2016 Vitesse Media Plc

2016 Vitesse Media Plc


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Free Corporate Business Card Template (PSD) #business #supplies


#business card template

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Free Corporate Business Card Template (PSD)

This free business card PSD template is great for any corporate business. Highest-quality business card template with two fully editable Photoshop PSD files. This free business card template is suitable for both corporate business and personal usage. Stylish business card PSD template available for free download.

All text layers can be changed with one click. All objects are in vector shape, can be resized without any quality loss. All psd files are well organized and completely free for both personal and commercial aims.

You may be interested in the following modern related articles as well.

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Corporate Business Card Design Preview

Features

Fully Editable Photoshop PSD Layered Files
3.5 x 2 (3.75 x 2.25 with bleeds + Trim Mark)
300DPI CMYK Print Ready
White and Black Design Included.
Fonts Used: Nexa Slab Regular

License, Usage, and Sharing:

The business card is design by Yasir Jawaid exclusively for GDJ. The mockup is completely free for commercial and non-commercial usage. You cannot, however, claim them to be your own. You should include a link to our website when you share any where.

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Using a business continuity plan template: A free business continuity template and guide #business

#business continuity plan

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Using a business continuity plan template: A free business continuity template and guide

FREE DOWNLOAD:

SearchDisasterRecovery’s business continuity template

For many professionals, these steps present a formidable challenge. To make the process easier, people seek out alternatives, such as software, templates, checklists, or consultants. While each of these options can build a plan and its associated program elements, too often these tools are used to get something done quickly. Typically, the process involves some data gathering and interviewing, followed by a fill-in-the-blanks process that somehow magically creates a finished product.

SearchDisasterRecovery.com has created a free downloadable business continuity template to assist you in your business continuity planning. Download and print out our template, and then read the step-by-step guide below to create a successful business continuity plan .

A GUIDE TO USING OUR BUSINESS CONTINUITY TEMPLATE

Here’s a look a the structure and content of the template, indicating key issues to address and activities to perform.

  • Initial data: If you have identified various people to contact in an incident, locate their contact information at the front of the plan, so you won’t have to waste valuable seconds paging through a lengthy document.
  • Revision management: Have a page that reflects your change management process.
  • Purpose and scope (Sections 1.1 through 1.6): Provide details on these attributes, as well as assumptions, team descriptions, a list of terms, and other background information.
  • How to use the plan (Sections 1.7.1 through 1.7.4): Provide information on circumstances under which the plan will be activated, including outage time frames, who declares a disaster, and who should be contacted on this situation.
  • Provide policy information (Section 1.7.5): this is a good place to use standards documents as references.
  • Emergency response and management (Section 1.7.6): Specify situations in which the plan is to be activated and response procedures.
  • Use step-by-step procedures (Sections 1.7.7 through 1.7.10): These are easier to follow than broad general statements such as relocate to alternate building that require considerable details to work properly.
  • Describe how often the plan is to be reviewed and updated, and by whom (Section 1.8).
  • Assuming a situation has occurred, Section 2 provides steps to take to address it; these can be in the form of checklists (useful to keep track of scheduled and completed tasks) and flow diagrams that provide a high-level view of response and recovery.
  • Information needs to be gathered before officially declaring a disaster; this includes damage assessment data and first-hand reports from staff and first responders; convene meetings as needed with key emergency team members to evaluate the facts before proceeding to a declaration.
  • Section 3 addresses actions to take when it becomes obvious that management needs to declare a disaster. A damage assessment can be initiated either before or after the declaration; it is up to company management.
  • Section 4 provides detailed instructions on recovering operations, relocating to an alternate site and related activities.
  • Detailed appendices are provided in Section 5; these include lists and contact details on all emergency teams, primary and alternate vendors, alternate work space locations. and other relevant information. It is very important to keep this information up to date.
  • Additional forms can be found in Appendix 5.7; these should be developed in advance, validated by exercising (as is the entire plan) and kept in a ready-to-use format.

GENERAL BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING TIPS

Here’s a checklist of things to keep in mind during business continuity planning:

  • Take the process seriously. If you want to protect your business from unplanned events that could disrupt operations, create a plan. It doesn’t have to be hundreds of pages long. It just needs the right information, and that information should be current and accurate.
  • Use disaster recovery/business continuity standards as a starting point. Almost two dozen business continuity standards are available worldwide. In the U.S. several options are currently in use:
    1. NFPA 1600 (the current U.S. national standard)
    2. BSI BS 25999 (the British standard)
    3. FFIEC Business Continuity Handbook (used by the banking and finance sectors)
    4. DRII/DRJ Generally Accepted Principles (GAP)
  • Keep it simple. Less can definitely be more in this situation, unless the user is primarily a technology-based group, such as IT.
  • Limit content to actual disaster response actions. Assuming you are creating a plan to respond to specific incidents, include only the information needed for the response and subsequent recovery.
  • Make it happen. Once the business continuity plan is complete, exercise it to ensure that the documented procedures make sense in the sequence indicated.
  • Be flexible. A single template may not be universally applicable to all department and/or locations in your organization; consider other templates, software or consultants.

The keys to a creating a successful business continuity plan are to define step-by-step procedures for response and recovery, validate these activities through periodic exercising, and maintain the plan and its various components up to date.

More business continuity template resources

About this author:
Paul F. Kirvan, FBCI, CBCP, CISSP, has more than 20 years experience in business continuity management as a consultant, author and educator. He is also secretary of the Business Continuity Institute USA Chapter.

This was first published in April 2009


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Free Business Cards: Where To Get Them And The Fine Print! #business #research


#free business cards

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Free Business Cards: Where To Get Them And The Fine Print!

Yes. However, you can only get 10 business cards for completely free. The offers for 250 free business cards are very misleading. You will end up paying a minimum of $5.00 to $12.00 for “free business cards”.

Click Here to get our FREE Google advertising guide and discover the 6 steps you can use to show up #1 in Google search

The Truth About Free Business Cards

When companies like Vistaprint or 1-800-Postcards offer free business cards, they are really offering you free business card printing. However, there are 4 ways in which they seek to make money from you.

  1. They charge you for shipping. While the printing is free, you will need to pay a shipping fee to receive them. While I cannot say for 100% sure, I suspect that their total costs including shipping are less than the shipping fee.
  2. They charge you for speed. If you need the cards for a meeting, tradeshow or convention in a few days, you may have pay an additional fee for express printing and even more for shipping. You get business cards free only if you can wait a couple weeks to receive them.
  3. The business card printer gets free advertising. Typically on the back of the cards, there is a logo or text advertisement for the company that printed the business cards. If you want to remove the advertisement, then you will have to buy a premium business card.
  4. They will try to convince you to buy premium cards or add-on items. Some companies offer 40 free design templates for free business cards, but hundreds of business card design templates for premium buyers.

With free business cards, you may also not have the option of different finishes. After you finish designing your business card, companies will try to sell you business card holders, magnetic business cards and all other sorts of other promotional items. When you try to order free business cards, the printing company will make the process drawn-out to give them lots of opportunities to sell you a product which is not free.

I said there was one completely free offer. Yes, Moo does offer 10 free business cards with no printing fee and no shipping fee. There is a small Moo.com logo on the back and you will receive the cards via USPS in about 10 days.

How much do free business cards really cost when you include shipping?

Vistaprint Offer: 250 Cards For $6.93. (For NYC address) Two weeks for delivery and small text ads appears on the back.

In practice, the best deal is not business cards but buying 500 cards which will cost less than $20 with shipping .

Moo.com Offer: 50 Business Cards For $5.00. Includes option of using recycled material or gloss finish at no extra charge. Free full color images on back and front of card for no additional charge. 10 days for delivery and small Moo.com logo appears on the back.

1-800-Postcards Offer: 250 Business Cards For $12.00 Three weeks for delivery and small text ads appears on the back.

Want a real bargain? Try Fiverr

You re reading this article because you re frugal. One place where frugal entrepreneurs go to get business cards, flyers, and brochures designed and a host of other services is Fiverr. All services on Fiverr start at only $5!

Can you print your own business cards for free?

Yes, there are a number of programs that provide free online templates (word and PDF formats) for business cards. Assuming that you have the following tools, you may be able to print your own business cards for free:

  • High-Quality Inkjet or Laser Printer
  • Exacto Knife or Paper Cutter or If Your Have Great Hands, A Sharp Scissor
  • High Quality Paper (ie 100 lb cotton paper)
  • Free Business Card Printing Software: Easy To Use More Choice Templates

This option may not appeal to most business people because, a hand cut business card can look slightly off. If you want a professional looking card, you can buy heavy-stock pre-cut paper. Literally, you can pop-out a card with a perfect edge. Unfortunately, this paper doesn’t come cheap. You can buy business card paper to print 250 cards for $15 to $20. Avery provides free business card templates that work with its paper products.

Click Here to get our FREE Google advertising guide and discover the 6 steps you can use to show up #1 in Google search

Why get free business cards cards, when premium cards only cost $15 more?

When do you give out business cards? When you’re meeting someone for the first time and making a first impression. While your business associate may not remember a great looking business card, there is a chance that they will remember a “bad” business card or a business card that gives the impression that your company is struggling or cheap. A business card that has an advertisement for the printing company sends the message that you NEED to watch every buck.

To learn how to get professional looking business cards without advertising on any budget see our article 7 Steps to the Perfect Business Card .

About the Author

Marc Prosser has been involved in many businesses as an executive, advisor, and investor. Prior to starting his own company, Marc Prosser was the first employee and Chief Marketing Officer of FXCM. During his ten years at FXCM, the company grew from a small business to over 700 employees.

Related Posts

Copyright © 2016 · FitSmallBusiness. All Right Reserved. Privacy Policy .

Disclaimer: We spend hours researching and writing our articles and strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content. However, our research is meant to aid your own, and we are not acting as licensed professionals. We recommend that you consult with your own lawyer, accountant, or other licensed professional for relevant business decisions. Click here to see our full disclaimer .


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Free Business Plan Samples #at #home #business


#business plan

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Free Sample Business Plans

Get inspired with our gallery of over 500 example business plans. Choose the category that is closest to your own business or industry, and view a plan you like. LivePlan includes all 500 business plan samples, so you can easily reference any of them when you’re writing your own plan.

Popular Business Plan Categories

Restaurant, Cafe, and Bakery (46)

46 free business plans for restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and other eateries.

Medical and Health Care (26)

26 free business plans for doctors, medical billing companies, chiropractors, dentists, hospitals and more.

Retail and Online Store (116)

116 free business plans for clothing stores, online stores,
e-businesses, gift shops, eBay and more.

Services (216)

216 free business plans for accountants, insurance agents, self storage businesses, cleaning services and much more.

Find the sample plan you need

Other Categories

How to use a sample business plan to write your own plan

If you’re like most small business owners, you’ve never had to create a business plan before. In fact, you may have never even seen a formal business plan document let alone had to put one together.

This is why we gathered this collection of sample plans for you here on Bplans. Our business plans can give you a great sense of what a finished plan looks like, what should be included, and how a plan should be structured – whether you’re building a plan for investment or just to develop a better strategy for your business.

But, building your own plan isn’t as simple as just cutting and pasting from someone else’s plan. In fact, if you do that, you will be doing yourself (and your business!) a huge disservice. Here are a few tips to get the most out of our sample business plans and build the plan your business needs to succeed.

Find a plan from a similar industry to your business, but don’t worry about finding an exact match. In fact, you won’t find an exact match for your business. That’s because every business is as unique as its owners and managers. Every business has a different location, different team, and different marketing tactics that will work for them. Instead of looking for an exact match, look for a business plan that’s for a business that operates similarly to how your business will work. For example, a business plan for a steak restaurant will actually be useful for someone starting a vegetarian restaurant because the general concepts for planning and starting a restaurant are the same regardless of what type of food you serve.

Use the sample plans for inspiration and ideas. Staring at a blank page can be the worst part of writing a business plan. In fact, that’s probably the reason that’s preventing you from getting started right now. Instead, take advantage of our sample plans to avoid writer’s block. Feel free to copy words, phrasing, and the general structure of a plan to start your own. Also, as you read through several plans, you might find ideas for your business that you hadn’t considered. Use our plans for inspiration and ideas, borrow phrasing when it makes sense, and just get going!

Write a business plan that’s right for your business. As tempting as it is, don’t just cut and paste from a sample plan. Any banker or investor will be able to tell from miles away that you copied someone else’s plan. Not only will you be less likely to get funding if you copy a business plan, you’ll be greatly reducing your chances of success because you didn’t write a plan that’s right for your specific business, its specific location, target market, and your unique product or service. Thinking through how you are going to launch your business is a critical step in starting a business that you shouldn’t let go.

The value of business planning is in the process, not the final document. By creating your own business plan, you are going to have to think about how you are going to build your own business. What marketing tactics are you going to use? What kind of management team do you need to be successful? How is your business going to set itself apart from the competition?

The process of writing a business plan guides you through answering these questions so that you end up with a strategy that works for your business. You will also end up with a plan that you can share with business partners, investors, and friends and family. Sharing your vision and your strategy is the best way to get everyone on the same page and pushing forward to build a successful business.

Use your plan as a management tool and build a better business. When you’re done with your plan and your business is up and running, your plan shouldn’t just end up in a drawer. That would be a huge waste of all the time and effort you put into your strategy, budgets, and forecast. Instead, using your plan as a tool to grow your business can be one of the most powerful things you can do to grow your business. In fact, businesses that use their plan as a management tool to help run their business grow 30% faster than those businesses that don’t.

To use your business plan to grow 30% faster than the competition, you need to track your actual results – the sales that you get and the expenses that you incur – against the goals that you set out for yourself in your plan. If things aren’t going according to plan, perhaps you need to adjust your budgets or your sales forecast. If things are going well, your plan will help you think about how you can re-invest in your business. Either way, tracking your progress compared to your plan is one of the most powerful things you can do to grow your business.

Need more? Check out our philosophy on lean planning and download a free business plan template to get your business started.

LivePlan makes business planning easy

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