NCET helps you explore business and technology
Nevadans start several thousand new businesses each year. If you’d like to be one of them, NCET and the Reno Gazette-Journal are pleased to introduce a new monthly column designed to help you start your business.
Each month, our local business experts will explore a key part of the business planning and decision-making process as we walk through the areas that can make or break your business.
Overall, these monthly columns will follow the same format used in creating a business plan. If you’re a regular reader of NCET’s columns, you’ve seen me standing firmly on this soap box before. A business plan is the most fundamental item needed by any business. You wouldn’t drive to Florida without a map, or put an addition on your house without a blueprint, or even bake a cake without a recipe, and you shouldn’t have a business without a business plan. It’s your “road map” to business success.
For many people, a business plan conjures up a vision of a 100-page, professionally printed, spiral-bound, full-color document. In reality, business plans – like small business owners and entrepreneurs – come in many shapes and sizes and your format will depend on how you’re going to use it. What’s most important is the process by which you create your plan.
As General Eisenhower said when preparing for the Normandy landings on D-Day, “Plans are nothing, planning is everything” and most of a business plan’s value comes from the thought process you go through while writing it.
Here’s a preview of upcoming article and just a few of the questions we’ll be asking:
- Company Description – What problem are you solving? Who are your customers? What makes your company different?
- Market Analysis – Is there a need for your goods or services? What trends will help or hurt your business?
- Breakdown of Your Products and Services – What exactly are you selling? Are there different versions for different market?
- Competitive Analysis – Who’s your competition? And trust me, the answer is NEVER “I don’t have any competition…”
- Description of Management and Organization – Are you going to be a DBA, a C Corp or an LLC? What does your org chart look like?
- Marketing Plan – How are you going to market your goods or services? How are you going to attract and keep your customers? Why should someone buy from you rather than your competitors?
- Sales Strategy – How are you going to sell your goods or services? Online? In a brick-and-mortar store? Inside ++or outside sales?
- Funding Sources and Uses – Where are you getting the money to start and run your business? Friends and family? Bank loans? Investors? 2nd mortgage? Once you have the money, where are you going to spend it?
- Financial Projections – -Ah, the dreaded spreadsheets that show Profit and Losses, Sources and Uses of Funds, Cash flow Statements, Balance Sheets and more!
If you’re looking for help in the business planning process, or interested in writing a formal business plan, the good news is that Northern Nevada offers a wide variety of resources:
- SCORE’s volunteers, comprised of active and retired business men and women, provide their clients with free and confidential business counseling. SCORE also conducts a variety of regularly scheduled, educational workshops that provide valuable information and techniques necessary for planning, establishing and managing a successful business. (https://northernnevada.score.org/)
- Nevada Small Business Development Center, or Nevada SBDC, guides and assists Nevadans looking to start and grow businesses, provides one-on-one counseling services are free and confidential, and offers and coordinates a wide range of workshops and courses in collaboration with public and private entities. (https://nevadasbdc.org/)
- State of Nevada’s Department of Business and Industry, or “B&I” as it’s affectionately known, offers a wide range of programs and initiatives to address the needs of businesses and consumers including small business advocacy and resources and access to capital. (http://business.nv.gov/)
B&I’s “Guide to Starting and Growing a Business in Nevada” is a visually oriented interactive PDF document with active links to external websites: https://tinyurl.com/biz-guide
Please join us next month as we help you define and describe your dream company!
Dave Archer is President/CEO of NCET, a member-supported non-profit that produces educational and networking events to help people explore businesses and technology. www.NCET.org