A Sample Business Plan for a Small Business May Not Be the Best Way

You can find a sample business plan for a small business in all kinds of formats. There is a sample business plan for a small business where you basically fill in the blanks or you can have access to a sample business plan for a small business where you can pattern yours from it or you can develop a business plan that is centered on what you want for your dreams and your life.

I don’t know of better way than to let your business give you what you want for your lifestyle. Whether it’s a sample business plan for a small business or one where your business gives you a plan, it should tell you what is needed to take you where you want to go and when and how you can get there and it should be in clear simple terms, supported with all the specifics.

So using a sample business plan for a small business is just one of many ways to make a business plan but frankly I think designing one that will have your business give you exactly what you want is by far the best way.

So, why not start out with what you would like to have in life for you and your family? Then develop a business plan that could show you exactly what your business would need to do to give you that life style. If you think about it, there is no other way where you have more control over what you want in life than letting your own business do it for you. If you work for someone else, you’re sure not going to have as much control over your future.

So how would you go about making a plan like this? Well if you know a fair amount about business, you can. It will take some special calculations and some work but if you know how to put together a Profit & Loss Statement, you can probably do it.

You would first do a P&L for the present year for your existing business and the first year and as many years after as you would like to have your plan cover. Your existing business financials will be the foundation for building yourself a business plan for as many years out as you want. This data will tell you a number of things but first if you want to build your plan around what you want in life, you would need to decide some things about your life:

1. You would need to decide how much income you would like to have for yourself for each of the years you plan for.
2. You would need to determine what kind of profit margin you would want from your business for each of the years.
3. And by combining these 2 things into a P&L format you can develop a financial business plan that can extend as for into the future as you would like.
4. The first thing it will show you is how much sales you would need each year to give you the income and profit you would like. Once you see the sales needed, if you know your business well enough, you should be able to estimate those additional expenses needed to overcome capacity constraints that will occur as your business grows.

With this information you can actually predict not only what your sales will be, but you can see how much your fixed and variable expenses will be, what your labor cost will be, your material cost, and your profit.

1. So let’s first look at what exactly are fixed expenses? They are exactly what they say they are; they are fixed. This simply means these are expenses that are ongoing whether you have a lot of sales or “0″ sales. They are expenses like utilities, taxes, rent, salaries other than the wages used in the making of the actual product or doing a service, business fees, telephone, etc. See how these expenses would continue on even if you have 0 sales? Any expenses that fall into this category are fixed expenses. Far too many small business owners never divide their expenses into fixed and variable. As a matter of fact, if you could have a business that had “0″ fixed expenses; this would be the best of all worlds, why? If you had “0″ sales, you would have “0″ expenses. So the closer you could get to this the better you would be.

2. Variable expenses are those expenses that track directly with sales. If sales stop they stop. These are expenses like supplies used to support in the making of your product or doing your service. Such things as shipping cost for raw materials for your product or service. If you have no sales then you’re not going to be purchasing materials so your shipping cost for those materials will stop as well. As an example, if you have a lawn mowing business and there are no lawns to mow, then you wouldn’t be buying gasoline to travel to your lawn mowing site. These kinds of things are variable expenses. If you’re producing a product, it would include supplies used to produce that product like sand paper, glue, finishing materials, cutting tools, etc.

3. Labor and material costs are also directly proportionate to sales. These are things that go directly into the making of the product or into doing the service.

a. Labor cost is the actual direct labor used in the making of product or doing the service. The cost would also include all the fringe benefits like social security, payroll taxes, vacation pay, holidays, sick pay days, etc.
b. Material costs are all the materials used in the making of product or in doing the service. In the lawn mower service as an example it would be the gasoline used in the mower and any other materials used directly in that service. For producing a product it would be all the materials used in the product that is sent to the customer including all the packaging materials.

Average Selling Price

Now when you calculate your average selling price which is your cost of sales (material + labor) divided by (1-gross profit), you can determine how many customers you would need and then come up with what you think your conversion rate would be for converting leads to customers, you can determine how many leads you would need. Then from this and with the aid of the U.S. Census Bureau and some basic research on your own you can actually have a pretty decent idea of what size your market is and is going to be in the future so you can see if it will support your business plan or not.

So if you can put this all together, you can have a complete business operating plan that would show you exactly what your business would need to do to give you the income and profit you would like to have and a rough idea whether your market would support it or not. All you would have left to do would be to figure out how to make it all happen.

It’s like planning backwards.

1. Determine what you want in life
2. Figure out what your business would need to do to give you that life.
3. Figure out how long it would take you to reach it.
4. Figure out how big of a market it would take each of the years you’re planning for.
5. Then see if that market is big enough.

Isn’t this a much better way to go about planning your business? Shouldn’t your business be designed to give you want you want instead of you working yourself to death just hoping for the best?

So how would you go about calculating all this?

There is quite a bit of calculations and you should know a little about business principles but it isn’t that complicated. So first let’s look at figuring out your future needed sales with this formula:

Projected sales = fixed expenses divided by (1-(var exp % of existing sales + mat cost % of existing sales + lab cost % of existing sales + desired net prof %))

So, let’s say you existing sales is $850,000 annually, your fixed expenses are $275,000, variable expenses is $55,000 or 6.5% of the $850,000, material cost is $236,000 or 27.8%, labor cost is $109,000 or 12.8%, and your existing profit margin is $175,000 or 20.6%.

Now let’s say next year you want to have a profit margin of 25% so what would your sales need to be to give you that profit margin? Now you might think you would simply tack on 4.4% more to sales (25% – 20.6%) and you would have it. Well not quiet. it doesn’t work that way because you are going to have the additional variable expenses, material cost, and labor cost too. Remember, the more sales the more each of these expenses and cost will be.

So here is how you would do it:

Projected sales = fixed exp ($275,000) divided by 1-(6.5% + 27.8% + 12.8% + 25% (your new profit margin) = $896,057 (new sales)

You can do this for as many years out as you want. Obviously this is based on your first year’s fixed expenses remaining constant and no consideration of depreciation, inflation, or taxes.

But most likely you would need to increase your fixed expenses because you’re going to probably have more rent, utilities, or such as your business grows. So, you would simple put in your new fixed expense number in place of the existing one for each of the years you would be planning for.

So, you see if you decided you wanted a 35% profit margin at year 5 then you could see how much sales it would take to give you that.

Now it’s also important to know how many more customers you would need as well so you should always look at that unless you have another way of growing your sales other than with new customers.

Let’s say your average selling price for your service is $925.50 and you have one transaction per year per customer.

Using that first years sales example we used above, you would calculate it this way.

$896,057 divided by $925.50 = 968 customers needed for the year. Now if your average transactions per customer are more than 1, then you would need fewer customers. As an example, let’s say your average transaction per customers per year is 2.5 then 968 divided by 2.5 = 387 customers per year.

Now let’s say you estimate your conversation rate to be 3% of turning leads into paying customers with the advertising method you’re going to use, how many leads would need to contact to get 387 customers? Simply divide 387 by 3% and you get 12,909 leads you’re going to need to contact.

Then the question is; is your market going to be big enough to provide you with 12,909 leads for the next year and how many will you need each of the following years?

It may be easier than you think to figure this out. You would do some research and with the aid of the U.S. Census Bureau you can roughly determine whether your plan can be supported by your market or not.

So what do you think? Is it better to build a business plan around what you want in life then see how your business can maybe give you that or is it better to use a sample business plan for a small business where you are probably guessing?

I’d love to help you some more. Please go to http://www.StrategicBusinessSolutionsLLC.com and see what might be available.

How to Write a Business Plan for a Computer Repair Business

So, you have decided to open up a new computer repair business, but really are not sure how to proceed. If that is the case, below we are going to tell you everything that you need to do in order to not only make an educated business decision. But also, the steps you need to take to create a comprehensive business plans that will at the very least, provide you an excellent road map for your new venture.

There are many different kinds of formats used to create a business plan. In this example, we are going to assume that you will not need an outside financing source and that your computer repair business will only be a local operation, at least initially.

The concept behind a business plan is relatively simple to understand and execute. Essentially, you want to make sure that what you are thinking about opening is financially viable, and if so, then write down everything that you need to accomplish in order to turn your idea into a profitable endeavor. Below we are going to layout a traditional business plan and let you know precisely how to complete each section.

# 1 – Executive Summary – You really do not have to work on this section of the business plan if you do not planning on showing it to anybody, or you are not looking for investors or an outside financing source. That being said, if you are really serious about turning your new enterprise into a profitable going concern that has the ability to not only grow, but is also sustainable, you should sit down and spend a few hours writing out the executive summary.

The executive summary which is also sometimes called the management summary, goes at the very beginning of the report, but should only be written AFTER you have completed the entire business plan. Its intended purpose is to capture the reader’s attention, get them interested in the business, and briefly explain the concept and everything else that is contain in the report.

# 2 – Business Description – This is where the real work starts when you decide it is time to get serious, and begin writing out your business plan. What you want to try and do is to get all of you ideas down on paper so that you can refer back them in the future if you need to.

Please do not be concerned with you writing style at this point, but only the information. Later, after you are sure you have included everything that you want or need, you can go back and clean up the material. Below are some of the things that need to be discussed in this section.

A) Why you believe this is a good business to start.

B) What do you know about this type of business.

C) What skills are you bringing to the table.

D) What skills do you need to acquire.

E) Who is your market.

F) Why is there a need for the service or product you plan on supplying?

G) Why you believe that your business will be able to serve your market better than any of your competitors.

H) What will make your business standout from the competition.

Okay, you get the idea. Please do not limit yourself to the things we discussed above, but also include anything and everything else that you think could be important.

# 3 – Market Analysis – This might be the most important consideration for anybody that is thinking about opening up a new computer repair business. After all, if there are already 14 other similar companies competing in your neighborhood, it would probably be a good idea to think about doing something else.

In all seriousness, you really have to understand your competition at the highest level, know what their fees are, be familiar with the services they provide, and figure out a way to improve on everything that they do. If you are confident you can meet or exceed the stipulations mentioned above, then your new business just might have a chance of succeeding. Below you will find some of the areas you need to research and be familiar with.

A) Write down each and every store or standalone operation that you will be competing against.

B) Note each and every service that they provide.

C) Figure out exactly what they charge for each job.

D) Here is the tough one, ask yourself, now that I know everything about my competition, how am I going to everything they do, better and cheaper?

If you are able to answer that last question, and you are happy with the way you answered it, you just might have a real chance of making it.

# 4 – Organization and Management – More than likely when you first start your computer repair business, you are not going to have any employees. But, there are going to be certain jobs, like setting up a computer network for a large company that could require a little extra manpower. If so, have you thought about who you know that you can bring in at a moment’s notice that would be willing to work part-time.

Next, people that enjoy working on computers are usually very organized and hopefully you happen to be one of them. If not, it is really going to be very hard for you to run a company that is in an industry that is time sensitive. After all, when you tell somebody that you are going to arrive at their home or business at 4 pm, and you show up three hours later, do you really think that they are going to call you the next time they have a computer problem?

Another thing that you need to take into consideration in this section, is as your company grows and you acquire more and more customers, when do you hire another computer technician and who do you hire? Do your hire somebody that already has a great deal of experience and will demand a very high salary? Or, do you hire a novice that you can train that will be less expensive? Below are some of the things you are going to need to ask yourself in order to complete this section of the business plan.

A) Am I organized, and if not, how do I improve in this area?

B) Am I good at training people?

C) Do I have any friends that will part-time work?

D) Do I know how to delegate, or do I have to do everything myself, so that I know it was done correctly?

E) Can I accept other people’s shortcomings and help them improve in those areas?

F) Should I invest my capital in my staff and how much of an investment can I justify?

And, you thought it was going to be easy to open a small computer repair business. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. If you are not prepared to at the very least to answer some of or all of the question in this section, starting your very own business just might not be a great career choice.

# 5 – Services and Products – This is an area that you really should not have too much trouble with. If you do, then you definitely should not be thinking about starting a computer repair business. In this section, you need to use the information you gathered about your competition and write down all the services or products you plan on promoting, as well as the fees you plan on charging for your services.

# 6 – Marketing, Advertising, and Sales – Computer geeks by their very nature are usually not outgoing people that make good salesman. That being said, your business needs customers and to get them you are going to have to think out of the box and come up with some creative ideas. We are going to provide you a few proven marketing and advertising techniques below, but you really need to figure out what your competition is doing in this area, and then either copy them or come up with better schemes.

A – Website – Of course you are going to have to build a website, after all, you are in the computer business. Hopefully, you know how to properly SEO your new site, if not, find somebody that does before you waste your time, effort, and money by creating a site that nobody is ever going to see.

The good thing about a computer repair businesses is that virtually every one of them is a local operation. That means that your competition on the internet for highly targeted traffic will not be that fierce. In other words, if you correctly onsite and offsite SEO your new website, there is a very good chance that it will move up the search engine rankings extremely quickly and you will get to Google’s first page, and just maybe, the top spot on that page in only a couple of months.

TIP # 1 – Remember this is a local business, and when you select your URL it is critical that you choose a local name. What we mean by that is, if the name of your new business is “Joe’s Computer Repairs”, that is not what you want to use for its URL. Instead, you want to use your towns name in the URL.

That means if you live in Dallas for example, you want your URL to be “DallasComputerRepair.com”. The reason you want to do this is very simple to understand, all of the search engines will move your site up their rankings whenever somebody in Dallas types in the search term “Computer Repair”.

TIP # 2 – For any new business, it is absolutely critical that when somebody does find your website, you get them to either give you a call or send you an email. To do this, you really have to offer a great deal that everybody who visits your site, is sure to see. A few examples you could use are the following.

I – Second repair visit FREE.

II – Half price on service calls for all new customers.

III – Free antivirus and malware software for all new customers on first service call.

B – Low Cost or Free Advertising – All new businesses have the same problem, which is they are not generating any cash. Thus, they cannot afford to spend too much on marketing or advertising. So, you have to find ways to promote your business that are either totally free, or cost very little. Below we are going to provide a few suggestions, but you know your local market far better than we ever could, and you need to come up with your own marketing ideas.

I – Craigslist’s – If you are not familiar with this site, it allows you to place classified ads for free, so use it. In addition, there are quite a few other sites that provide the same free service, so please find them, and use them.

II – Social Media – Almost everybody has heard of the following websites Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. These types of sites are called social media and they allow their users to interact with one another. If you were able to build up a strong local following on anyone of these sites, almost assuredly, your business would eventually turn into a huge success story.

111 – Flyers – Printing out 10,000 flyers is not that expensive and they can be a fantastic marketing tool. Not only can you hand them out in your neighborhood, you can also distribute them to the local businesses and put them up on bulletin boards at grocery stores.

IV – Neighborhood Newspapers – If you are fortunate enough to live in an area that receives a free neighborhood newspaper delivered to your door each week, you might want to think about advertising in it. Their advertising fees are very reasonable, and your ads just might be able to generate enough leads to get your new business off the ground.

It really does not matter if you are the very best computer repair engineer in the world, if nobody knows about you, your business will surely fail. In reality, this might be the most important section in your business plan, because if you do not develop a marketing and advertising program that is going to work in your local market, almost assuredly your new business will not be around for more than a year, if that long.

# 7 – Financial Projections – The great thing about starting a computer repair business, is that in most cases, you will not have to spend a great deal of money to get it up and running. You do not have to rent a store, more than likely you already have a car, computer, and some, if not most of the software that you need. In addition, you do not have to put anybody on the payroll right away. So, other than your advertising expense, you really do not have any cash flowing out of the business.

The most important thing for you to note in the financial projection section of your business plan are the capital expenditures you need to make to open the business. These could include but are not limited to a new laptop computer, more software, a better cell phone plan, and your advertising expenses.

As for your income projections, you should definitely set goals for yourself using realistic figures. After all, you do not want to set your goals so high, that you later become discouraged when you don’t achieve them, and you do not want to set them so low, so as to not challenged yourself.

Conclusion

For the most part, the people that do well in business not only had a great idea to start with, but were also committed to their company and were willing to put in the time and effort that was required to make their firm a success. Working for yourself requires far more determination and discipline than just about anything else you can do in life.

That being said, starting a new computer repair business is not without its risks. But, then again, it is not without its rewards either. If you feel the time is right and you have all the skills that are required to run this type of business, then why not go for it? After all, what is the worst that can happen; you lose a little bit of time and money, and end up having to get a job working for somebody else if your business does not make it.

7 Ways to Smile Yourself To a Better Business Plan

I have a client that is a brilliant problem solver. He is a Macgyver of business problems. But when it comes to his emails, memos or letters it begins to look a little jumbled with misspellings and incorrect word choices. He figures he will get back to it later but that takes too long so he hits send and away it goes.

I have another client who thinks in pictures…when he is describing something to you it is always a story. He is a modern day Aesop.

Boy, keep those guys away from a business plan! Or not!

Your business plan needs to reflect you and your personality.

Yes, correct the spelling and grammar to make it easier for the receiver but do let your smile shine through.

Here are seven hints, tactics or ideas to help you:

Use Photographs – if a picture tells a thousand words, use plenty of them and go easy on the text. Let your pictures tell a big part of your story.

Use PowerPoint – though PowerPoint can be passe in center circles we predict that your lenders will appreciate it if you use it to tell your tale.

Avoid jargon and acronyms – they ‘be cool’ with your industry geek buddies but ease up on them for the rest of us.

Picture this – use picture words to tell your story. Let us feel why Mrs. Smith needs to hire your new computer tracking service to keep track of her hubby! Use these pictures in the words that you use: change the lemon into a golden lemon from sunny Napoli – if you want more impact.

Easy on the prose: Yes I read (and wrote number 4) – but small does go a long way.

Graphs are keen: When dealing with numbers use their picture cousins – graphs in all their forms help tell the story

Picture the ending as you are telling the story and do not be scared to repeat it….in the introduction….a little more in the executive summary and in all its glorious sun-soaked splendor in the conclusion. Be consistent but more flavorful as you go along.

Bonus point: some of the best business plans that we have seen were done on the back of those restaurant place mat napkins. Ensure that you go to a restaurant those uses those.

PS for really big deals go to a restaurant that uses paper table clothes – now you can really sketch out your deal!

Smile!