Explanation of why every company needs a business plan.
“I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it;’ said Thomas Jefferson of his successes. In addition to writing the Declaration of Independence and serving as the third President of the United States, Jefferson was an architect, scientist, inventor, philosopher and farmer.
Explains all functions relating to developing a business plan.
Why will the business succeed?
What do you want to start (or change)?
How much money is required?
What is the return on the investment?
Why is the venture a good risk?
What type of business are you planning?
What products or services will you sell?
Herm Rowland, President of the Jelly Belly Candy Company, shares his exclusive tips to retail business success.
What three guiding principles have helped you build a successful company?
Always maintain quality in products and business practices.
History, scenery, recreation—Pennsylvania has it all. And thanks to Karen DeKlinski, reminders of the Keystone State are now readily available to share with friends and family.
In August 2004, Karen opened Perfectly Pennsylvania, a store dedicated to the state’s rich mix of products, in the new terminal of Harrisburg International Airport. Anchored by Brookmere's Wines of Belleville, Perfectly Pennsylvania carries a variety of unique, high-quality products ranging from Crayola Crayons and Slinky toys to clothing and Amish-country quilts and Hex signs.
The idea for Perfectly Pennsylvania came as Karen was looking for a new career following 20 years of serving in appointed positions for the state’s government.
“Retail was the furthest thing from my mind during all those years,” Karen says. “A friend and I staffed a kiosk at a local farmers market twice a week and I got hooked on promoting Pennsylvania products. Visitors are always looking for something special to take home from the area, so it made sense to open a store with everything in one place.”
With Harrisburg’s new airport terminal nearing completion, Karen knew she had an ideal location for her store. What she needed was a business plan to make it work.
“I had been working on my plan for three months when a friend at a chamber of commerce meeting told me about SCORE,” Karen says. “They were in the same building, so I called to ask if someone there might have time to look at my plan.”
Karen received a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) backed loan for leasing space in the terminal and stocking her shelves with a variety of eye-catching items. The store was an immediate hit among travelers. The monthly sales increases have consistently exceeded projections, enabling Karen to open a second store in a major Harrisburg hotel and establish a Web site.
What's Great About My Mentor?
Karen soon found that SCORE mentors were not only ready to critique the plan, but also eager to advise her on making a good strategy even better. “I couldn’t believe their response,” she recalls. “They said I had done everything right, and provided valuable comments to help address issues the banks would ask.”
Perhaps more important, the mentors gave Karen a welcome dose of self-confidence. “That was the biggest thing—having these knowledgeable business experts put their faith in me,” she says. “Their moral support helped convince me that this can work and that I should move forward.”
How SCORE Helped
Karen says, “SCORE is one of the first places to go when you start a business. You’re dealing with something brand new, and their advice and moral support is critical to making it work.”
Despite the strong start, Karen knows that long-term success is by no means assured. “We made an agreement that I’ll go back to my counselors to evaluate how everything’s going,” she says, “but I expect to be a student of SCORE’s for life.”
You learn something new every day, the saying goes. And when Ron and Pamela Patterson attended a horse show with their ride-loving daughters in 2001, they learned something that would help them eventually become successful entrepreneurs.
The horse show featured a presentation on photon therapy, an innovative treatment method that uses precision-timed pulses of red and infrared light to both stimulate and accelerate the body’s natural healing processes. First patented for treating horses in 1982, photon therapy is used by physical therapists and chiropractors to successfully treat a variety of human muscle, bone and joint ailments.
“One of our daughters has scoliosis, so we were eager to see if photon therapy would help her,” says Pam. “It was so successful, we wanted to help bring the therapy to other people.”
The Pattersons worked with a light and photon therapy equipment manufacturer to set up their own clinic. After two years, however, quality problems with that company’s equipment led the couple to investigate making their own treatment devices. “We contacted the original patent holder, who referred us to his engineer,” Ron says. “He became our business partner, and we worked with him to develop a cost-effective model, the LUMEN 90, that met all the required specifications for treatment.”
Just two years after introducing the LUMEN 90, the Pattersons augmented their treatment services at Lumen Photon Therapy, Inc., with a successful manufacturing and sales business largely by word-of-mouth referrals. The company is now poised for even more growth thanks to a highly favorable review from a widely respected practitioner and a prominent listing in a specialty medical equipment supply catalogue. The Pattersons also had one of the busiest exhibits at the 9th Annual Congress of Bioenergetic Medicine in Orlando in summer 2005.
“The LUMEN 90 is used by doctors and clinics around the world,” Pam says. “It’s all very exciting.”
What's Great About My Mentor?
As they were getting their business off the ground, Ron happened to catch a radio program about SCORE on the local NPR station. That led to a call to SCORE’s Western N.C. chapter and the first meeting with Connie Butler, the co-founder of a specialty chemical company. Butler mentored the Patterson’s through nearly every phase of their company’s start-up and growth, including business planning, finance, transitioning from a sole proprietorship into a corporation, marketing, and international sales.
“These were all things that we were encountering for the first time,” says Pam, “but Connie was always just a phone call away with help, advice and moral support.”
How SCORE Helped
And as their company grows, the Patterson’s can count on Connie Butler and SCORE being there every step of the way. “Although we started out with very little business experience, Connie always made us feel like we were capable of being successful,” Pam says.
This free, online business workshop will help you gain insights on: why a biz plan is important and the preparation needed to begin writing it, the components of a business plan, and how to put it all together with supporting documentation.