Saturday, November 6, 2010

Entrepreneurs' Smart Business Plan 7

Today's To Do List

Turning an Idea into Something - Listen to Jim Rohn
Put A Value On One Hour Of Your  Time 
Do Your Pricing and Payment Strategy

Time is money - if you don't put a value on your time - who will?  Many new businesses do not survive the first year - not because the business does not have potential but because of cash flow problems.  New entrepreneurs also don't realise how much of their time will be "non revenue generating".  There is a general consensus that 3 hours per day is the average revenue producing time for those travelling to clients. It is imperative to take this into consideration when putting a value on your time.

If your outgoings are €3,000 per month and your revenue producing time is 60 hours - are you confident before starting your new business that your clients will pay €50 per hour for your services. Your terms and conditions for payment are also very important, these should be clearly communicated to your clients. It is very important to target as much business as possible in your immediate vicinity as travelling just eats up money, time and energy. Good luck with valuing your time, after all time is our most precious commodity!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Entrepreneurs' Live Business Plan 6

Today's To Do List 

Write Down Key Objective 1 - Financial Goal
List the Services/Products You Will Offer
Allocate a Value to Each of These Items
Decide on a Name for your Business

By now you will have set your first Goal - financial turnover - if you haven't and are struggling with what to put down I suggest the following.  Of course, your first financial budget will be a "bit hit and miss" and especially in today's tense economic environment.  A good starting point is: a) to calculate what your current monthly expenses are; b) add on what extra expenses you will incur in your new business; c) add on 20% for contingency expenses; d) the total amount per month x 12 becomes your financial goal for your first year in business.

Now that you have set your Financial Goal/Financial Objective you need to break down the services/products that you will offer to reach this target.  If you offer multiple items list these in the template provided and allocate a realistic annual financial target for each of these.  This is the beginning of the "how to" reach your annual turnover, we refer to these as the tasks.  The tasks need to be listed, dated, allocated to the person responsible and measured.  The template provided allows you to do this in a very simple format. I find that once your ideas are on paper it's easier to analyse them as they become more tangible.

Once you have identified your service offering it is time to start thinking about a name for your business.  Keep it simple, short, memorable and specific. The above article will help you to choose the name for your business.  Put it down on paper, in your business plan and "feel" how it feels.        

If you missed our previous tutorials check out the Programme Recap for a very speedy catch up.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Entrepreneurs' Live Business Plan 5

Today's to do list:
 If you have missed the previous articles you can catch up on the "Flying Start" by just clicking on the links given below.

  1. We identified that "everybody wants to be happy" or fulfilled or satisifed 
  2. Write down your personal motto for living
  3. Familiarise yourself with Google Calendar
  4. Set up Internet Banking 
  5. Set up a PayPal account (or other internet payment system)
  6. Start researching your business - Google Alerts
  7.  Read for Inspiration 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, S. Covey -  
  8. Wheel of Life 
  9. SWOT Analysis 
  10. IntegratedBzStrategies Docs. 
  11. Excel sheet for income/expenses  IntegratedBzStrategies Docs. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Flying Start Business Plan

It never ceases to amaze me that people don't have a life plan or business plan.  We have wedding plans, holiday plans, weekend plans, party plans and more - a plan for every event except for our most prized event "life".  Why is that?  Make today the day when you put a value on your gift of life.  Put a plan in place, it's not written in stone, just on paper.  I won't quote all of the well used cliches about plans/planning, safe to say, your life is in your hands, why not live it the best way you can.

The flying start life/business plan allows you to customise it and make it your own.  This is a totally free resource.  Much of the work is done for you, all you have to do is change some of the headings or content.  This programme is written in conjunction with free resource from YouTube and other Social Media content and uses only the best of the best. Let's get started, check out below what we have covered so far and catch up. I suggest reading the previous articles on the Entrepreneurs' Live Business Plan, contained in this blog. Some of the links will take you to videos, others to published articles and some will take you to IntegratedBzStrategies website, where there are prepared documents there to facilitate you.


  1. We identified that "everybody wants to be happy" or fulfilled or satisifed 
  2. Write down your personal motto for living
  3. Familiarise yourself with Google Calendar
  4. Set up Internet Banking 
  5. Set up a PayPal account (or other internet payment system)
  6. Start researching your business - Google Alerts
  7.  Read for Inspiration 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, S. Covey -  
  8. Wheel of Life 
  9. SWOT Analysis 
  10. IntegratedBzStrategies Docs. 
  11. Excel sheet for income/expenses    IntegratedBzStrategies Docs. 
 Tomorrow we will set Goals, easy as 1,2,3.  Happy planning


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Twitters Give Me The Jitters

After reading the below article and to get started click on the links in the headings. 

As a novice to Twitter, my impression of it was a "teenage like message centre".  However, having spent some time researching and working it, I have to say it is truly amazing. I am in awe of the information that is shared by the Twitter community and the relevance that people who are serious about their business apply to it.  If I knew then what I know now, I would have saved myself a lot of wasted time.  In an attempt to save novice tweeters from the same fate I have set out, what I call a "Master Class" or flying start to Twitter.  I have no doubt that the experts out there would have much to add, but this will give you a quick start and as you go you should educate yourself on the full content that each of the recommended disciplines has to offer:

Some Do's
  1. Know what you want from Twitter
  2. Write a Twitter strategy
  3. Identify 20/30 key people,associations,news feeds to follow
  4. Follow back those that follow you (particularly at the initial stage)
  5. Un-follow those that don't follow you if you feel they don't add value
  6. Send a direct message to each follower - including your web/blog or special message
  7. Schedule your tweets (Hootsuite/Tweetdeck/SocialOomph) to be sent throughout the day
  8. Acknowledge retweets, mentions, direct messages
  9. Retweet those tweets that will have value to your followers
  10. Ensure that you share something original, of intrinsic value to your followers
  11. Try to keep your tweets to 120 characters, easier for others to retweet
  12. Use it for information and education
  13. Embrace humour and have some fun with it
  14. Be careful it can be addictive!
Some Don'ts

  1. Bore your followers to death by constantly tweeting the same message
  2. Follow just anybody for the sake of following
  3. Constantly try to sell
  4. Be negative, rude or derogatory
  5. Retweet others' messages unless you have clicked on the link to check it out for yourself
  6. Forget -this is also part of your image/brand 
  7. Don't follow and unfollow too many people at once, Twitter has built in limits (50-follow and unfollow in one day) 

A website, owned and operated by Twitter Inc.,
which offers a social networking and micro-blogging service.

A Social Media Dashboard. It provides  a website and online brand management service, which publishes to websites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare.

Lets you un-follow twitter users who do not follow you.

Is a utility that allows users to shorten a long URL,
share it, and then track the resulting usage.
It also lets you follow twitter users who follow you.  It also provides stats.

Klout identifies influencers on topics across the social web and gives you a personal score.

Find out which of your Twitter updates made people follow or leave you. This is a great monitoring tool especially in the beginning when you are trying to develop your theme and strategy.
Get the latest activity on various social media accounts in one place, in an email update.

Socialoomph allows you to set up an automated message to automatically follow new followers and acknowledge them.  There is a host of statistical and other information available on here.  I use it particularly for the automated DM. (direct message for my new followers)  

Tweepi is a simple collection of Twitter tools: Geeky Follow, Flush, Reciprocate and Cleanup. I use it to select followers or friends of somebody I consider of value - you can set up a dashboard of criteria such as Klout score, location, followers, friends, tweets, etc.  You can also use this to "unfollow" people who don't follow you and many other features. 
Twellow is a directory of public Twitter accounts, with hundreds of categories and search features to help you find people who matter to you. I use it to find people locally and also for specific industries.  It's like the yellow pages of Twitter.  It is very important to list your business here.  It's free.

Organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy to
read newspaper-style format. Newspapers can be
created for any Twitter user, list or #tag.

Takes your Twitter followers' profile photos and
 puts them on your Twitter background.

Is a free service that fetches Twitter replies for
you (and gives you an easy way to view AND export them).
Easiest way to archive a Twitter response thread

Helps you grow a larger, more diverse, and more
valuable network on Twitter.

Say "Hello" To Your Followers With a Video
This is an amazing site for Twitter apps. Many of which are not necessary for you but good to know about.

This is a very powerful  search tool for companies - globally or locally

Updaded 2/02/2010

      Wednesday, September 29, 2010

      Entrepreneurs' Live Business Plan 4

      Today's To Do List 

      If you have not already done a SWOT analysis for your new or existing business now is a good time to do it. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.To help you on your way, I have included some content on the links below. I recommend working in threes and not having more than twelve points in each section.  There are thousands of factors that could influence your business, however we will focus on those items that have a high probability of happening and a potentially high impact on your particular business.

      Tuesday, September 28, 2010

      Enough, funny old word!

      Enough- funny old word!

      I was recently asked the question “What is enough”? I’ve been thinking about this over the last few days and realised, like so many other adjectives, it varies from person to person and continent to continent. The definition in the dictionary is “in or to a degree or quantity that meets one’s requirements”.  So what is your “enough”?  As I had been working on a benchmarking exercise two days earlier it made me think about whether enough would be good enough for any of us.  We all seem to aspire to so much more – but so much more of what. 
      Then I thought about what enough means to homeless people - to be warm, to be fed – so they don’t end up dead.  What it means to people in drought ravaged areas – half a glass of water-  to them would always be a “half full” glass – not theirs the flippancy of discussion – only the urgency to wet their blistered lips – you see their life is saved by just enough sips.  What does enough mean to the unloved baby, left in a cot, just a touch they say – babies die if they don’t experience human touch – so for them just a touch is enough.  What about our staff, our family our friends, very often “thank you”, is enough.   

      The sad thing is that most of us don’t realise that we have more than enough until it’s too late.  Right now I know many people, who, for the first time in their lives could quantify what enough means to them.  A couple of years ago, everything was not enough, much wanted more and more and more.  I hope this gives you food for thought and my wish for you is that you shall always have more than enough!


      Entrepreneurs' Live Business Plan 3

      Today's To Do List
      1. Write down your personal motto for living
      2. Familiarise yourself with Google Calendar
      3. Set up Internet Banking 
      4. Set up a PayPal (or other internet payment system)
      5. Start researching your business - I use Google Alerts

      "Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right". (Henry Ford)  How true this is. However, we can all do with a helping hand.  When running a business/department there are so many things to take into consideration and it is difficult to prioritise.  Throughout this tutorial we will work through a combination of practical solutions, tasks, theory and free resource, to support you.  Henry Ford had his philosophy, what is yours? I define this as the principle by which I live my life. Mine is "Unto thine self be true". Our personal belief system is a very strong force in our lives.  Life is much more difficult when we live, work or play with others if we don't share a similar value or belief system. When defining a "brand", selecting partners and suppliers do a weighting to ascertain if you share a mindset or attitude towards how you will conduct business. Write down your guiding force - the motto by which you live your life. Revisit it over the next few days and identify which aspects of your life reflect it and start fixing "what's broke". It is much easier to attain harmony and balance when you love what you are doing.

      So, now that we have benchmarked where you are at, where you want to go and the mindset by which you  want to live your life, let's get started.  Setting up an internet banking facility will save you time and allows you to monitor your bank account on a daily basis. I believe that having a secure Internet payment option is necessary -PayPal or whchever one you are comfortable with. It's crucial to carry out research whether for a start up business or an existing business.  Google provides a wonderful free resource for this. Track what's happening in your type of business, your business association, in your area, with your competitors and any other subject that has an influence on your business.  Each day Google will email you the alerts which you can read through very quickly. You can set up as many as you want. It's very important to select a "personal secretary", I recommend Google Calendar. There is a link below to a UTube training session on it. The links are set up on the below tasks.  So just a click does the trick!  I hope you find this helpful - if you do please pass it on to somebody who might need it.  Happy planning.  
      PS: If you missed the previous articles you can catch up as they are archived - details to the right of ths article.


        Monday, September 27, 2010

        Entrepreneurs' Live Business Plan 2

        Today's To Do List

        Initially, I called this tutorial "The Poor Man's Business/Life Plan", because most of the people I talk to at the moment are very short of time, money, energy and options. That is why this tutorial will be done on a free basis, recommending free resource or resource that offers free trials without any kind of commitment.  I have spent the last year researching what is on offer and there is some great free stuff out there. So let's get started.

        On yesterday's blog I asked the question - "What is it you want?" The answer of course is "to be happy". Others may describe it as being fulfilled, joyful, or valued, but the general consensus is that we all aspire to happiness. Different things make each one of us happy - this is where we are all unique. So there is a simple solution to our problems - do less of what makes you unhappy and more of what makes you happy. If you reflect on your day today, you will have experienced a range of emotions. There is a lot to be said for acknowledging the good in our lives, whether in the form of prayer, talking to our angels, sharing it with friends or family.  

        Very often we don't realise how lucky we are because we get caught up in "stuff". Most of us are finding it very difficult to maintain balance in our lives.  When we are out of balance we become ill. We can drastically improve the balance in our lives by making some very small adjustments. This is a good time, to measure your current status.  Complete the Wheel of Life exercise to benchmark where you are now. You can copy the image and give yourself a rating on the actual wheel. The "10" on the external of the circle is the maximum number of points that you can allocate. Then we can focus on getting you to where you would like to be. For those of you who are 100% happy with every aspect of your lives right now, well done!  If you would like some inspiration towards achieving better balance I recommend embracing the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, S. Covey  

        Tomorrow, we can start on the "how" of getting there, once we have ascertained the starting and finishing points. Like I said before it's as easy as 1,2,3!   

        Sunday, September 26, 2010

        Entrepreneurs' Live Business Plan 1

        The last year has been a terrifying time for many people. I don't need to list the reasons. People of all ages and disciplines are finding themselves on the unemployment heap.  People don't know which way to turn and morale has never been so low. In many struggling countries these issues are compounded by lack lustre politicians and so called leaders.

        So what's a guy or gal to do? At no time, has the concept of taking charge of our own destiny been more important. This is really a time for the survival of the fittest. Make a plan - either a personal or work plan, or both. Where to start - well the first step is to decide to do it, the second step is to do it and the third step is to commit to evaluating it and updating it on an ongoing basis.  It's as simple as one, two, three. I hear you all muttering..."not the dreaded business plan". Well not quite, you are of course referring to the "business plan" that you did and last saw a year ago, or more! Or that "business plan", you did to get your loan! Or the one you did for your boss, who did one for his boss, who looks at it just before salary review time! No, that's not what I am talking about.  I refer to what is known as the live or living personal/business plan.  One that evolves with you and supports you towards achieving your goals, dreams, success and eventual happiness and personal satisfaction.

        Over the course of the next weeks and months I will be guiding you through a format that is easy to use and relevant to you.  Even though the format is the same for everyone, the content is your own content which makes it your personal plan.  What's the catch?  There is none.  This is a completely free tutorial.  My income is derived from training sessions that I do, Affiliate Marketing and Tender applications. My decision to do this - is purely to give back - I have been lucky in my life and this is something that I know so many people in need, need!  So if you don't think it's for you, pass it on please to somebody you know could do with some support at a time when things are maybe not going so "swimmingly" for them.

        Come on, get with the programme, make the commitment to put your dreams on paper and together we can make them a reality.  Remember, it's as easy as 1,2,3. Check out the website IntegratedBzStrategies to decide if we are on the same wavelength.I will leave you with one question to ponder - What is it you want?  Tomorrow, I will answer this question, because I know what you want!



        Thursday, September 23, 2010

        Love Me Tender

        “Love me Tender”


         Subscribe to the Government Tender Site  -It's free

        Check out Denis Thornton's 20 Insider Secrets  –  It's free   

        Consider the Evince System.   

         Compile a file for the documents frequently required – tax clearance, public liability, etc

        Bord Gais recently announced the awarding of a contract for BGE Online Shop to Luzern, Dublin. They received 2 bids. The Commission for Energy Regulation awarded the contract for the development of training courses to the Gas Industry to Magnos Consulting, Co Meath. There were 3 bids in all. St James Hospital, Dublin awarded a contract for The Supply and Delivery of Maxillo-Facial Loan Instrumentation Sets and Surgical Implants to Tekno Surgical in Dublin. Again, there were just 3 bids. Bord Gais Eireann, Cork, awarded the contract for contract sales people to Dublin based Contract People Ltd. There were 4 bids submitted.  The National Transport Authority awarded Deloitte it’s contract for change management financial services. There were 2 bids entered.

        This is scary stuff when you take into consideration our current economic climate. Towards the end of last year I contacted 9 companies to co-partner on a bid - most of them said they weren’t interested, some had a printed a copy of the tender on their desks, but had run out of time. Why is it that Irish companies are so tender shy? Have we just had it so easy for so long that we are unable to rise to the challenge.  Is it possible that we don’t need the business? Whatever the reasons are, I suggest that those who want to stay in business review their company’s approach to the tender process.  It is the way of the future, not just for governmental agencies but also for private business.

        I would like to make some suggestions.
        • Find it hard to understand the tender document? Direct as many questions as needed for clarification, to the procuring company.  Contact person, email and telephone number supplied for this reason.
        •  Ascertain the value and payment terms of the contract. Can your business work with these terms? Sometimes the initial financial outlay is not viable for smaller companies or the payment terms put too much of a financial burden on you.
        •   Is the lead in time to deliver the bid feasible for you? Very often companies leave too much until the last few days, rush through it, submit a sub-standard bid and are then upset because they don’t win it.
        •  Read through the full list of requirements of the tender document. There is nothing worse than working on a bid and realising half way through that you do not meet one of the criteria. If you do not submit every requested item you will automatically be eliminated.  Very often I have clients who want to submit a bid with one or more of the elements missing. Waste of time.
        •  Pre-planning is crucial to successful bid execution. Take that time at the initial stage and make a plan, adhering to the SMART principles. Tasks that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed. Let there be no grey areas.  Constantly review progress and make documents available to all of the team, so that writing, language and information are all consistent.
        •  Are you considering using an external consultant? Some people make this choice, thinking it will save them time. Understand that you will still have to commit the time and other resources to support the bid writer.
        • It is always easier if you can put an internal team together to work on the bid. This will then need to be managed by a team leader, like any other project.
        •  Good practice would be to ask a bid specialist to read your document when you have the initial draft ready. Then when the final document is ready, get them to read it again.  You, too will learn from this process
        •  Remember each bid is individual to the procurement company.  While much of the same information will be presented on the services you provide, each type of business has a “language” of it’s own.  It is very important to communicate in their language.  This gives the impression and confidence that you are on their wavelength.
        •  Understand that for the procuring company this is a serious decision.  That person’s choice of the best tender has many implications for them.
        •   Once you have submitted your bid.  Follow up to ensure that it has been received by the person responsible for it.
        •  If you are not successful do a competitor analysis on the successful bid company to better understand why they won the bid.
        •  Contact the person responsible for the tender and ask for some feedback on your proposal.  It would be great to do this on a face to face basis, but that may not be an option. Remember that in most cases, tenders are not awarded on price alone.      
        •  Do a swot analysis on your bid.  Have a brainstorming session with your team so that you all learn from the process, it is not wasted effort and that you improve your chances each time you bid.

        Happy Tendering!


        Monday, September 13, 2010

        Gearing up for 2011

        Mid September is a good time to start planning for 2011, if you have not already done so.  By the end of this month you will have a pretty accurate picture of where your business is at. I am a great believer in working in 3's

        • Identify the top 3 positive actions you took year to date - how can they be duplicated for 2011
        • Identify the 3 most negative actions you took year to date - ensure they are not repeated in 2011
        • Select 3 mentors for aspects of your business where you need to improve/learn and follow them
        • Select your 3 top competitors and analyse 3 things they do better and 3 things they do worse than you
        • Incorporate your competitors' 9 strengths into your business
        • Leverage your competitors' 9 weaknesses 
        • Define your Goals/Objectives for 2011- Financial, Branding, Social Responsibility
        Key Objective 1 - To create a Financial Turnover of €......... by 31.12.2011                              
        Key Objective 2 - To Position (company name) as the............... by 31.12.2011                        
        Key Objective 3 - To Create a Socially Aware, Environmentally Friendly business by 2011       

        Next Week we will work through a SWOT analysis for your business 


        Optimum Business Solutions: Are You in Control of Your Business? There was a t...

        Optimum Business Solutions: Are You in Control of Your Business?
        There was a t...
        : "Are You in Control of Your Business? There was a time when taking shortcuts was frowned upon. In today's fast paced work environment we nee..."

        Friday, August 20, 2010

        Are You in Control of Your Business?

        There was a time when taking shortcuts was frowned upon.  In today's fast paced work environment we need all of the help we can get.  While content and relevance need to be applied to whatever we do, speed is of the essence.  We are all on an information highway to nowhere, so how do we sift throught the information overload and ensure that we are keeping current with today's trends today.  My recommendation is to find "mentors" who will do most of the "sifting" for you. Thanks to the Web and Social Media, it is now easy to find experts for any topic and to receive relevant information via RSS feeds, social pages, UTube etc.  There is basically a "how to" for everything out there.  Stay away from the "theory" mongers and focus in on the "how to" experts as these add real value to your time input.  The first step for any business - new and existing is a business plan. Over the course of the next weeks we will be starting a programme to help you on your way.  Share this with others who might also need some help.