Personal Abilities

Six Personal Abilities Help Guarantee Results

 In addition to those eight personal qualities, there are six additional abilities that can help you achieve even greater success:

1. Effective Communication

First, is the ability to communicate effectively with others. You must be able to interact with other people on their level, so they understand you and the points you are trying to get across to them. Remember that everyone is different. Each of us have different communication and behavior styles, and you need to be versatile enough to relate to each person according to their individual style. Be careful that you speak language that they are familiar with and can relate to, and that you don’t overuse “buzz words,” or industry jargon.

 2. Stay On Target

This is the ability for you to quickly make midstream corrections. Each one of us is human, and are subject to the frailties that accompany this mortal life. From time to time, we all make mistakes or errors in judgment.

Making the mistake or the error is not the problem – the first time. It’s when we keep making the same mistakes over and over again, without learning from them, or that we fail to quickly recover and make the necessary corrections to avoid total calamity, that we run into problems.

3. Develop Foresight

The ability to spot and analyze trends. To be able to look at the past as well as what is happening today, and predict what might happen in the future, can have a significant impact on your business success. Another word for this skill is “foresight.”

In a recent interview, the president of a very large meat company told how just a few years ago, their largest selling items were canned hams. But today, with more women working, and less time to spend in the kitchen, they sell very few canned hams.Today their mainstay is pre­cooked dinners. Without foresight, or the ability to look ahead and predict with reasonable accuracy what may happen in the near future, a company could lose its competitive position and find itself in serious trouble.

As a business owner, you should give serious thought to keeping abreast of industry changes, new laws, tax laws, buying trends, and other factors that could affect your customers either positively or negatively. Then take whatever steps are necessary to prepare yourself to address those changes, as well as posture yourself in the minds of your customers as the expert they’ve come to know and depend on.

4. Demonstrate Leadership

The fourth ability or skill to develop for outstanding success is that of leadership. Leadership is the ability to take charge and move others to action.

When you are working with a prospect, client or customer, and have identified and analyzed their needs, it is up to you to prepare and recommend a good, workable plan or proposal that will help satisfy those needs; a plan that’s right for their situation and that fits their budget.

It’s not up to the customer to tell you what they want. You are the professional. They have come to you for help and advice. You’ve got a lot more experience, knowledge and understanding of your products and services and what they can do for them than they do. It is up to you to take charge and assume responsibility for the satisfaction and solving of their problems, needs and wants. And if you approach it with the right mix of professionalism, knowledge and confidence you’ll be amazed at how many people will take your advice and follow your leadership.

5. Persuasive Selling Skills

The ability to sell well. It’s surprising how little most people in business know about professional selling. Selling is one of the most important skills you as a professional business person can possess.

Many of your prospects and your existing customers know just enough about what your products or services can do for them to be dangerous. They have talked to other people, read a few articles in some magazines, may even have seen a program or two on television, checked things out on the Internet, and they think they know exactly what they need. In some cases, they may be close.

But in other cases, they’re far from the mark. You owe it to your customers to be as effective a salesperson as you can be. By doing that, you’ll end up giving them better solutions and better value, saving them both time and money, and helping them have greater piece of mind knowing they have the products or services that are best for them.

They will also feel good about their choice of a place of business, knowing that they have just dealt with real professionals who really care about them.

You will be a beneficiary of that effort, too. You will  feel good about yourself and the job you have just done for your customer, and that will cause you to be more effective and professional in your next interview or sale. Not only that, but your customer, being satisfied with what you have done for him or her, will be more inclined to tell others of their experience.

Believe me, people respond to the personal experiences of people they respect. And they’ll respond to you, because a real professional and caring person or business is hard to find these days.

6. Action

The sixth ability to develop is that of action. All the things we’ve discussed in this  will do you, nor anyone else (your customers, for instance) any good if you don’t take action and do something about them.

Remember, action is the key. As we discussed earlier, it’s not what you know, it’s not what you talk about, it’s what you do. True success in business, or in life, is an ongoing process. As my friend, Joel Weldon says,

                “The Road to Success is Always Under Construction.”

Some people say that knowledge is power. But it isn’t. Knowledge is not power unless it’s applied. This chapter has supplied you with some vital knowledge necessary to be successful in business. You now have the knowledge – now it’s up to you to put that knowledge into action.

“If It Is To Be,It Is Up To Me”

 Self Responsibility

You are totally responsible for the success of your business and your life. There are no excuses. There may be set‑backs or economic down‑turns, or problems that affect your business.

Your suppliers or vendors may discontinue making or providing your favorite products or services, change the way they do business with you or even merge with another company.

Economies change, corporate policies change, and prospects don’t buy from you, and the weather is too hot or too cold.

While those things definitely have an impact on you, the way you do business and the sales you make, it is important to realize that those things are beyond your control, and it’s up to you, and you alone, to accept responsibility for the success of your business.

No matter how bad you might have it, no matter what difficulties or challenges you might encounter, let me assure you that there are many people who have had difficulties and challenges far greater than any you are ever likely to encounter, and somehow, they manage to pull through. And you can do the same.

Here’s a little credo that can help you. It contains just ten, two‑letter words:

“If it is to be, it is up to me.”

That simple one line sentence says it all. It places the responsibility exactly where it should be… directly on your shoulders.

 Be Committed

Make a total commitment to your success. Once you have made the decision to be in business, be in that business.

Get into it with both feet. Don’t let anything hold you back.

Even more than getting in the business, see that the business gets in you.

Make a commitment that you are going to succeed, no matter what.

Don’t try to work two different jobs or projects at one time. You can’t do either of them justice, and you’ll likely end up frustrated and broke, and never know whether or not you could have been successful.

 The Extra Mile

The sixth personal quality necessary to achieve outstanding success in business is that you must be willing to go the extra mile.

It’s the “Under promise, over deliver” concept, and can be summed up in the following statement:“If you are always willing to do more than what you get paid for, the day will come when you will be paid for more than what you actually do.”

Robert Cialdini, in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, discusses what he calls the Law of Reciprocity. Basically, it says that when you do something for someone else there’s an unstated obligation for them to want to do something for you in return.

So, when you go the extra mile for your customers or clients, you’ve just set the stage for that law to take effect. But it’s only on that “extra mile” that this works. When you give what might be considered “normal” service, or “adequate” service or – even “good” service, you haven’t earned the right to expect that law to work for you.

In fact, even performing “knock-out” service often isn’t enough to gain you an advantage. We’ve all come to expect that from any number of businesses.

You’ve really got to do something special in order to gain an advantage in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Then, and only then, can you expect to create that nearly compelling desire in your customer to want to reciprocate. This simple truth says it all:

“There’s no traffic jam on the extra mile.”

 Control Your Time

The seventh quality is that you must master and take control of your time. Time is an expendable commodity. Each one of us has the same 24 hours in each day. When those hours are gone, they cannot be replaced. They are gone forever, never to be recaptured.

You must treat your time as precious, and guard it wisely and selfishly. Don’t let anyone disrupt you or take you away from the focus you have on your goals.

People who don’t have goals are used by people who do. If you let others draw you away from your goals, you are simply saying that their goals are more important than your own.

If you are serious about business success – really serious, then this is one of the most important and critical areas to defend.

 Persistence And Determination

Number eight, is to develop persistence and determina­tion. From time to time you will encounter set‑backs or reach plateaus where it seems like nothing is going right.

Your competitors lower their prices, run massive ad campaigns and unheard of promotions, and the next thing you know your customers and clients begin doing business with them.

Business is walking out the back door faster than it’s coming in the front door.

Your volume is beginning to drop, and you become concerned.

You seem to be spending more time in a defensive posture than you do in servicing your existing customers, and you’re losing.

Now is not the time to give up. Now is the time to dig in and begin to play offensively.

To be determined not to lose your good customers – the ones you worked so hard to get. Your strategy should be to keep in touch with them and continue providing exceptional service.

Nearly every business is cyclical. Eventually things will change.

While you can’t be competitive on price all the time, you can be competitive on the service you give, and the empathy you have for your customers and their problems.

We’ll talk more about how to do that in a later chapter, but for now, just resolve in advance; that no matter what, you’ll never give up.



 The Ability To Focus

Many people hesitate to go into business because they think they lack the talents and abilities necessary to succeed. They look at others who are successful and think that they must have unique talents or capabilities. But after getting to know that person, they find them to really be quite average.

The main difference is that the successful person has developed the ability to focus. A person of average intelligence who is focused on a clearly identified and specific goal, will consistently outperform the brightest people who are not focused on anything specific.

 Determine The Price You’ll Pay

You must determine the price you’ll have to pay to be successful. For everything in life, there is a price. And it must be paid before you can realize the rewards. In many instances, it takes sacrifice.

A few years ago, in an effort to get a little exercise and help relieve stress, one of my friends bought his wife and himself matching bicycles. They had fun for awhile, but then a group of 34experienced riders flew by him one day on their fast, shiny, obviously high-priced racing bikes.

Always a competitive person, my friend decided that he would try to catch them and ride with them. But, try as he might, it was to no avail. Nothing he did would allow him to catch up to them. That ate on my friend for about a week, and it wasn’t long before he found himself back in the bike shop getting the specifications and prices of one of those “fast, shiny, obviously high-priced” bikes. $2,500 later, he was back on the road just waiting for those riders to catch him so he could ride with them. My friend was completely decked out in cycling shorts and jersey, special shoes, helmet and his new 16-speed racer.

Then, one day it happened. The group of riders came up on my friend from behind, and he was determined to keep up with them. But a quarter of a mile later, try as he might, he was “off the back.” The riders were gone, never to be seen again. That really irritated my friend. So he bought several books, obtained some video tapes, and sought out the help of a neighbor who was a pretty good rider. He worked hard trying to develop his cycling abilities. He rode every morning from 4:30 to 7:30, while his family was still asleep.

My friend encountered motorists who didn’t like cyclists. Some even went so far as to run him off the road and have bottles thrown at him. He’s ridden in the rain and cold weather, and he’s ridden in the 120 degree heat. My friend worked hard and eventually hired a cycling coach to help him develop his skills.

Then he entered a local race, and to his surprise he won! This encouraged him so he entered another race. Then another. And another. And he kept winning.

With the new skills and confidence he was developing, he entered the state and national championships, placing very high in both. The riders who used to pass him were now coming to him for help and advice. They wondered how he could consistently beat them when he hadn’t been riding for nearly as long as they had.

What they didn’t understand was that it wasn’t how long my friend had been training, as much as what he had put into his training. It wasn’t what he did during the race that counted as much as it was what he did during the long, lonely, solitary hours of training.

It was the sacrifices he made that made the difference between being a social rider or the national champion he eventually became. The same concept of sacrifice applies to operating a successful business.

If you want to reap the great and abundant rewards your business can provide you, you’re going to have to do some not-so-glamorous things at some not-so-convenient times.

You’re going to have to do what Earl Nightingale said… you’ll have to do “…the things that unsuccessful business owners don’t want to do.”

That may mean, depending on the type of business you have or operate, that you’ll have to leave the comfort of your store or office to visit with people about their needs in their homes or businesses at inconvenient times.

If you have a family, this may prove to be a hardship on you, but if you are just starting out in business, or want to increase your existing business or achieve some new goals, you may have to make that sacrifice.

If you are not willing to make the necessary sacrifices, then you can’t expect to be as successful in business as someone who is willing to make those sacrifices.

Are YOU Ready

Smart Test

Eight Personal Qualities For Success

1. Know What You Want

Know yourself and exactly what you want and expect out of your business. So many people enter into business and spend years in that business environment without having any idea of what they want, or what is possible to get out of their business. In fact, most business owners are working so hard in their businesses that they don’t have time to work on them. As a result, they’ve become slaves to their business. They’ve got things backwards. They’re working for their business rather than their business working for them.

Take the time to carefully analyze where you’ve come from, where you are now, and what you want to accomplish in your business, your job or your career. Then begin to set some meaningful goals to help you accomplish your objectives. You see, if you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll have no idea of what to do in order to get there.

Meaningful goals are an essential requirement for success in business. With goals, you have a target to aim for, a purpose for being, and a direction to travel. Without goals, it’s easy to wander aimlessly, getting sidetracked with any little thing that comes along. When you set your goals, think of the word, “SMART.” You should have SMART goals. That is, your goals should be:




Realistic, and


It is important for your goals to be Specific.

Know exactly what you’re shooting for. Your goal should be clearly defined and identified so you not only know what you are trying to accomplish, you’ll also know when you achieve it.

Just to say you want to sell more products, merchandise or services or reduce the number of contacts to close a sale isn’t enough. You need to clearly specify your goal. Is it 12 more sales per month? An extra $100,000 in monthly sales? How about a certain amount of certain types of products or services? How much – specifically? Whatever your goal, there should be no doubt about what you wish to accomplish.

Your goals should be Measurable

That is, there should be a system, or method of determining how you are progressing in your efforts for attainment. By clearly defining your goals as discussed in the previous step, you will be more able to measure them. It’s important for you to be able to see your current status, as well as progression towards your goals.

Next, your goals should be Attainable.

If your goal is too high… if there’s no hope for you to reach it, it won’t take long for you to become discouraged, and you will either lose concentration and the drive necessary to pursue your goal, or you will abandon it altogether. Your goal should be something you can reach with just a little extra effort.

In your business operation, you need to make sure your goals are not only attainable, but are also…Realistic.

If your goal isn’t realistic, that is, if it’s not something within your realm of achievement, it’s just a matter of time before you’ll become frustrated and give up. And that can have a negative effect on you as you begin to think of yourself as a failure, or not being good at setting goals.Then, because of your negative image of yourself relative to setting goals, you will likely give up setting goals in the future. It’s a self-feeding mechanism.

The key to being good at setting and achieving goals is to be realistic in your expectations. Set attainable and realistic goals that can be reached with a small amount of effort.

That builds a success image, and enhances your self confidence in a positive way. Then, the next time, set a little higher goal. Not much higher, just a little higher. Again, one that you know you can achieve. And that adds on to, and builds your confidence, that much more.

The next step is to make your goals, Time-bound.

That is, you should set a time limit for their attainment. This helps you keep on target, not be distracted, and encourages you to complete something you’ve started. Not only will this help you to realize success at a pre-designated time, but you will enhance your self image by accom-plishing your goal. If, for instance, your goal is to sell a certain number of a certain type of product or service, or a pre-determined dollar amount of sales this year, break that number down into months, weeks, and even days, if necessary. A large goal becomes much more manageable in small pieces. The key is to break your goals into bite-size pieces, and place a time deadline on them, for their accomplishment.

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Achieving Outstanding Business Success

Personal Traits of Exceptional Performers

Some time back a friend of mine had the pleasant opportunity of having dinner with his friend Earl Nightingale, the famous radio personality and producer of self improvement cassette programs.

Earl made his life’s work studying successful people and how they achieved their successes. My friend had long admired Earl for his ideas and philosophy.

And on that occasion, my friend asked him what advice he would give his young son if he had one. What, based on his vast experience and knowledge, would be the one thing that would help his son ensure success both in business as well as in his personal life.

Earl said told my friend, “You know, I have often thought about that very question. And after all the years and all the study, I’ve come to the conclusion that your success in life, or in business for that matter, can be boiled down to one thing. That is, your rewards will always be in direct proportion to the amount of service you render.

“You only have to look around,” he said. “The people who serve others, prosper. The people who don’t serve others, don’t prosper. And you can tell just how successful a person is by the amount of service they render to others.

“The problem,” he continued, “is that unsuccessful people either haven’t learned that great secret, or they don’t apply it.

“The successful people are the ones who develop the habits of doing the things that

unsuccessful people don’t do for one reason or another.”

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Recession Proof Your Business

The New Basics of Business

With unemployment continuing to rise, home prices falling due to a surplus of inventory, and small business lending at a standstill, this recession doesn’t seem likely to end soon. The recovery will be slow and Americans will certainly not enjoy the prosperity of a few years ago for a long time to come. It’s not just economists who think this way. “Half the population in [a] new ABC News poll thinks both job security and retirement prospects in the years ahead will remain worse than their pre-recession levels.” (“Poll: Less Job Security is the ‘New Normal,’” ABC News The Polling Unit, June 15, 2009, analysis by Gary Langer) This confidence, or lack thereof, is an integral part of an economic cycle. The analysis goes on to say, “Those diminished expectations – plus the pain of the current downturn – are fueling retrenchments in consumer behavior that could fundamentally reshape the economy.”

Basically, consumers are hunkering down to limit spending, save money, conserve resources, and change the way they’ve been living. The major influence on the health of an economy is the psychological state of its consumers. When there exists a broad belief that spending beyond necessity is unwise, people will change their habits and as a result, some businesses will have to close their doors. The economy is molting into a new, leaner animal. Rather than react in desperation to avoid doom, firms should interact with the current situation with innovative and forward thinking actions.

No matter the economic slump, increasing profits is typically the number one goal of any business. To ensure profitability, a company must demonstrate a competitive advantage over others in its industry, either by cost leadership (same product as competitors, lower price), differentiation (same price, better services), or focusing on an exclusive segment of the market (niche). For long term maintenance of competitive advantage, a firm must ensure that its methods cannot be duplicated or imitated. This requires constant analysis and regular reinvention of competitive strategies.

A recession is the optimal time to reinvent competitive advantage because the pressure of a feeble economy will separate the strong businesses from the weak ones, with the weak falling out of the game entirely. Your business will be strong if you have a plan of action based upon a little industry research, an analysis of what you have and what you want, and continuous monitoring of the results of your plan. This kind of innovation is not only a necessity right now, but it is an opportunity to improve the quality and efficiency in the way you do business.

The three basic actions for growing a business in any economic climate are: improve efficiency (maintain output while reducing inputs, such as time and money); increase volume (produce more in order to spread fixed costs); reorganize the business (change goals, methods and/or philosophy). If you plan to implement one of these, you may as well plan to implement them all. By focusing on one of the above strategies, you will find a ripple effect that causes a need to address the others. This is a good thing.

Right now, growth may sound like an unattainable goal as businesses are grappling just to survive, but hey, “flat is the new up.” If a business can keep its doors open and lights on, then it’s doing better than many others. But lights and open doors don’t make sales, so making changes that attract business is in a sense, striving for growth. It won’t be this tough forever, but for now, putting some growth strategies into action may be what keeps your business alive, if not thriving.

Every Business Needs a Plan

Without a plan, there is little hope for growth, let alone survival. As my small business development counselor, Terry Chambers says, “If it’s not written, it’s not real.” That doesn’t mean it’s unchangeable, but it does show that you mean business. In order to accomplish your strategies of improving efficiency, increasing volume, and reorganizing your business, you’ve got to examine what you have, what you want, and how you plan to get there.

Sometimes it takes a significant event or change in existing conditions for a business to create a written plan. I think it’s safe to say that the state of the economy is a significant change that should prompt business owners to alter the way they’ve been doing things. If you already have a business plan, it’s time to get it out and revise it. Make sure your plan includes answers to these questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What do I have to work with?
  • How have I done in the past?
  • What might I do in the future?
  • What will I do now?
  • How will I do it?
  • Is it working?

A business plan can be used as a vehicle for accurate communication among principals, managers, staff, and outside sources of capital. It will also help to identify, isolate, and solve problems in your structure, operations, and/or finances. Along with these advantages, a business plan captures a view of the big picture, which makes a company better prepared to take advantage of opportunities for improvement and/or handle crises.

Essentially, the three main elements of a business plan are strategies, actions, and financial projections. In order to cover all of the principle elements, you will engage in other types of planning:

  • Marketing plan: Includes analysis of your target market (your customers), as well as the competition within that market, and your marketing strategy. This plan is usually part of the strategic plan.
  • Strategic plan: Asses the impact of the business environment (STEER analysis: Socio-cultural, Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Regulatory factors). Includes company vision, mission, goals and objectives, in order to plan three to five years into the future.
  • Operational planning: With a focus on short-term actions, this type of planning usually results in a detailed annual work plan, of which the business plan contains only the highlights.
  • Financial planning: The numerical results of strategic and operational planning are shown in budgets and projected financial statements; these are always included in the business plan in their entirety.
  • Feasibility study: Before you decide to start a business or add something new to an existing business, you should perform an analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis), as well as its financial feasibility, then asses its potential sales volume.

The process of business planning does not end when the written plan is complete. Business planning is a cycle, which includes the following steps:

  1. Put your plan of action in writing.
  2. Make decisions and take action based upon the plan.
  3. Gauge the results of those actions against your expectations.
  4. Explore the differences, whether positive or negative, and write it all down.
  5. Modify your business plan based upon what you learned.

President of Palo Alto Software, Inc. and business planning coach Tim Berry says, “Planning isn’t complete unless you’ve planned for review.” Review is the fundamental action that initiates putting your business plan into action. In his blog at, Berry lists some insightful strategies to making good use of your plan review, a few of which include keeping the review meetings as brief as possible and an emphasis on metrics as key to effective review.

Write your business plan in sessions. Don’t think that you have to produce a business plan before go to bed tonight or you won’t be able to open your doors for business tomorrow. I like Tim Berry’s Plan-As-You-Go method of business planning. The practice of planning is an effective way to really get to know your business and you might end up discovering some important things about your company and about yourself.

There are various strategies and outlines available that will guide you in choosing the appropriate format for your business plan. Check out the collection of sample business plans for a variety of businesses at Bplans dot com. Every business is different, therefore every business plan will be structured differently, but for the purposes of this white paper, I will present the fundamental elements that make up strategic, operational, and financial planning.

A business plan starts with an executive summary, which is a one or two page summary of your business plan, or an introduction to your business. Although this section is at the beginning of the business plan, it is the last thing to be written. You’ll be able to condense your business plan more succinctly once you have the opportunity to work through the other parts of the plan. The executive summary may be the only thing a potential investor or financier will read, so write it last because it has to be the most compelling.

Start by writing a description of your business, including what stage of development it is currently in (conception, start-up, first year, mature, exit) and your plans for growth. Discuss the nature of your business, the main products and services you offer, the market for your products and services, and how and by whom the business is operated.

Mission Statement

Then work on your mission statement. Here is where you concisely state the focus, scope and hope of your business (or values, vision, philosophy, and purpose). What is the customer pain you are soothing, the need you fulfill? Here’s an example from Coca-Cola:

Our Roadmap starts with our mission, which is enduring. It declares our purpose as a company and serves as the standard against which we weigh our actions and decisions.

  • To refresh the world…
  • To inspire moments of optimism and happiness…
  • To create value and make a difference.

PepsiCo has a different take:

Our mission is to be the world’s premier consumer products company focused on convenient foods and beverages. We seek to produce financial rewards to investors as we provide opportunities for growth and enrichment to our employees, our business partners and the communities in which we operate. And in everything we do, we strive for honesty, fairness and integrity.

This is the mission statement of Inspiration Software, Inc.:

Our company strives to support improvements in education and business and to make a positive difference in our users’ lives by providing software tools that help people of all ages use visual thinking and visual learning to achieve academic, professional and personal goals.

Goals and Objectives

Next, outline your company goals and objectives, including long-term and short-term goals. You will get into more detail on how the goals will be accomplished in your operational plan and annual work plan, so focus on brevity at this stage. There is a difference between goals and objectives and it’s important to know what that is. I like how Andrew Smith explains it in The Business Plan Blog. Objectives are non-emotional, precise descriptions of what is needed to achieve a goal. Goals can involve emotion and don’t have to be as specific as objectives. Objectives are the steps to actualizing the goal. Here’s an example:


To increase revenues by 50% by the end of the year.


Add a new product to our line.

Expand marketing outside of local area.

Develop a new customer retention strategy.

Of course, you will need a plan of strategies in order to accomplish each objective, but those details will be expounded upon in your annual work plan. A list of three short-term and three long-term goals, along with the objectives necessary to achieve them, is sufficient for most business plans. Remember to replace the goals and objectives with new ones as you check them off your list.

Background Information

The section that details the background information should start with identifying the industry your business is in. Even if you are not a member or have no intention of becoming involved, you should list any trade associations within that industry; you never know when you made need those connections. Find out what publications, magazines or journals are available to businesses in your industry. Use these and other sources of business information to identify how past trends (economic, social, political) affected the industry, as well as any current or future trends that may have an impact.

How does your business fit in the industry? What is the history of your business, including who started it, what changes have occurred, when was it started, where was and is it located, how was it started and operated, and why it was started? What barriers to entry, if any, have you recognized?

Organizational Matters

The ownership hierarchy of your business, the management structure, and the personnel are described in the section on organizational matters. This part of the plan deals with who, what and how your business runs. Who is in charge of what and how are they qualified? Discuss how the various parts of your business interact together; include details about outside contractors and consultants and what functions they perform. See the example below, thanks to Edraw Soft Vector-Based Graphic Design.

The organizational section of the business plan also needs to include an explanation of your record keeping process, checks and balances, and control management systems. Anyone who reads your business plan should be able to understand the organizational procedures for running your business day-to-day, as well as in an emergency situation.

The risk management plan needs to be fleshed out in the organizational section as well, including your risk strategy, the different types of insurance required, your contingency plans, and problem-solving protocols. What will you do if a natural disaster ruins part of your inventory? How will you handle the sudden illness or long-term absence of a key manager? What happens if you are unable to finish a project on schedule? What are some early warning signs to watch for?

It may not be pleasant to imagine all the “what ifs,” but doing it now and planning for those unexpected events will improve your company’s chances of surviving a storm. For an excellent step-by-step guide on the details of developing a risk management plan, see the article “How to Develop a Risk Management Plan,” by Charles Tremper at

Marketing Plan

The next section, themarketing plan, gets into the details of what your business offers and what market it serves. Marketing is the communication of how your products and services “ease customer pain.” Show the problem and how your business solves it. Marketing is a necessity for every business because once your doors are open, you must invite customers to come in. Everything you do in your business that affects customers is marketing because it sends a message about your company.

This part of the plan details the features and benefits of your products and services, their seasonality and life cycle, as well as any future products and services you are planning. It also includes a thorough market analysis, in which you will study your customers, your competition and the market itself. Here you should include a PEST analysis, in which you will consider the impact of various factors upon your business. The factors include combinations of the following, depending upon your business: social, technological, economic, environmental, political, legal, ethical, and demographic.

Studying your market will give you insight as to how you can make your business more appealing to people. Market research is more than just noticing trends in your customers’ buying habits; it’s discovering what motivates your customer to buy. Don’t assume that you already know because you’ve been in this business for years. This study often unearths characteristics about your market that are hidden or new. It’s best to discover these things before your competition.

Another key element to the marketing section of your business plan is an outline of your marketing objectives, strategies, and tactics. Writing down the avenues you travel in order to market your business will afford you the opportunity to record what worked and what didn’t work. You must be able to measure and calculate the results of your marketing efforts, otherwise, what’s the point? If you don’t know if something is working for or against you, then it’s working against you.

Include details about all of the following that are applicable to your business in the marketing section of your plan: location and distribution, and promotional strategies, such as packaging, public relations, advertising, and customer service. As a result of exploring these areas, you will naturally need to consider how much you will budget for your marketing efforts. This question is closely connected to your sales forecast, which leads us into the next section of the business plan.

Financial Plan

The financial plan consists of four sections: Financial Worksheets, Cash Flow Projections, Financial Statements, and Additional Financial Information. All of these components will tell the story of how you plan to start or grow your business from a financial perspective. It is vital that you explain the assumptions under which you have based your projections, for example, “We assume that there are no unforeseen changes in economic policy to make our products and service immediately obsolete.” or “We assume interest rates will stay the same over the next three years.” (both quotes from sample business plans)

I suggest that you construct easy to read tables and graphs for the financial portion of the plan. The worksheets suggested are: Salaries/Wages and Benefits, Outside Services, Insurance, Advertising Budget, Occupancy Expense, Sales Forecasts, Cost of Projected Product Units, Fixed Assets, Growth (or Start-Up) Expenses, and Miscellaneous Expenses. You may find some of the worksheet templates at to be useful.

The expected revenues and expenses for at least a year should be projected in the cash flow section of the Financial Plan. It’s better to make conservative predictions rather than be too optimistic when it comes to cash flows. As part of this section, a break-even analysis is essential. This is the “amount of units sold or sales dollars necessary to recover all expenses associated with generating these sales.” (NxLevel for Entrepreneurs, 2005) The formula for calculating the break-even quantity is Total Fixed Costs/(Price – Average Variable Costs).

The financial statements section should show the way things are now if you have an existing business, as well as a forward look at your checking account, or projected income statement. The only way a start-up company can provide an income statement and balance sheet is by projecting these figures based upon well defined assumptions. Both start-ups and existing businesses should include a statement of owner’s equity.

An income statement shows revenues minus expenses, in order to calculate net income or net loss. Start-ups should project these expected results for the first twelve months of business, then quarterly for the next two years. A list of a company’s assets (what you own), liabilities (what you owe), and net worth (assets minus liabilities) is called a balance sheet. The statement of owner’s equity shows the owner’s initial investment, additional investments, and retained earnings, minus owner withdrawals.

The additional financial information at the end of this part of the plan should give a summary of your business’s financial needs in order to grow, show its debt position, and state the owner’s financial status.


In the appendix, which is the final section, an action plan or timeline for implementing the business plan should be presented. This is where the detailed goals and objectives are expanded in a work plan. Also, include in this section any additional information or supporting documents that are relevant to your business plan, such as important research, marketing materials, product specifications, and owner and employee résumés.

Executive Summary

Now that you have written the hard part of your business plan, it’s time to write the fun part, the executive summary. As mentioned in the beginning of this white paper, this is the most important piece of the business plan because it illustrates the very essence of your business in a captivating and condensed form. If you ever share your business plan with a potential investor or potential buyer, the executive summary may be the only thing that is read.

Make the executive summary brief (no more than two pages), but make sure you showcase the best qualities of your business without glossing over important information; show why yours is a winning business. Write one to three sentences about each of the following:

  • General description of the business
  • Mission statement
  • Management structure
  • Business operations
  • Products/services, the market and your customer
  • Your marketing plan, including the competition
  • Financial projections and plans

A clear, concise, and convincing executive summary will intrigue your audience and inspire them to read the rest of your plan. If the plan is never seen by anyone outside of your business, don’t assume it was a waste of time. During the planning process, you will have worked through an enlightening exercise that prepares you to run and grow a better business.

Having this written document available for frequent consultation and review will improve your chances of not only surviving, but coming out strong on the other side of this recession. Most people think that knowing in the back of their mind what they plan to do is sufficient for survival or recovery, but the difference between a written plan and an idea is usually the difference between failure and success.

Laura Walker is the Marketing Manager at Universal Funding Corporation. She writes articles about the world of business and the economy. Her blog, Factoring Vibe can be found at UniversalFunding dot com forward slash blog. She has written prize-winning business plans, numerous small business advice articles, as well as poems and literary criticism. Universal Funding Corporation is an accounts receivable factoring company in Spokane, WA. Not only is Universal Funding family-owned, but it is family-managed. Working shoulder-to-shoulder with their account associates, customer service, receivables management, and financial staff, the Wozows have daily interaction with their clients, treating them like part of the family.

With a broad spectrum of experience, the family at Universal Funding has roots in all aspects of business. A few staff are entrepreneurs; many have advanced degrees in their areas of expertise; some have been on the front lines of Fortune 500 companies. They have investing, banking, accounting, and legal experts on site and at their clients’ disposal. As long-standing members of the International Factoring Association and the National Association of Credit Management (NACM), Universal Funding offers capital solutions to businesses large and small, local and national. Keeping apprised of trends and new developments in the commercial finance sector is important to them. Staff regularly engages in industry conferences and training courses, such as NACM’s Commercial Credit Convention and the Experian Vision Breakout Sessions.

Providing fast capital funding to businesses for over a decade, Universal Funding has been a leader in the factoring industry since its inception. With over 63 years of combined experience, their financial specialists have expert knowledge of how to help businesses grow and prosper.

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Financial Alchemy: How To Be A Money Magnet

The following article is a critical piece that you must understand and apply. To be a master you must master this and many other concepts. We can mentor you to true success.

Your current financial situation is a direct reflection of your inner relationship with Money. If you don’t like your finances, something needs to change in your relationship. This is where Alchemy comes in.

Alchemy is the art of transformation. With roots in ancient Egypt and classical Greece, Alchemy comes from a time when there was no distinction between science and magic. The mysteries of matter and consciousness were inextricably linked (as they are again, in today’s quantum physics). These ancient studies gave birth to modern medicine, psychology, chemistry, and even Sir Isaac Newton‘s work on gravity.

The ultimate pursuit of Alchemy was the “Philosophers’ Stone,” a substance believed to turn worthless metals into gold. While Alchemists through the ages slaved in the laboratory, their metalwork concealed a spiritual process, a Philosophers’ Stone which had to be kept hidden from the Church: this was the process of inner transformation. Two principles are involved here: 1) turning lead into gold was an outer demonstration of inner transformation, and 2) the seed of the solution (the gold) was hidden in the problem (the lead). I invite you to use this chapter to discover your own Philosophers’ Stone–your key to wealth and inner transformation–hidden in your relationship with Money.

Before we proceed, let’s review some guidelines I adapted from Alchemist tradition:

Rule #1: As it is above, so it is below.

What shows up in your head is going to show up in your life. This chapter will be using fundamental Relationship Coaching skills to help you transform your relationship with money from a dead seed into a flowering garden. A seed comes to life as a living, thriving, fruit-flowering plant…in the right environment. So, too, your own prosperity. Your potential for financial abundance is there, waiting for the necessary environment within you. Your relationship with money is like the soil that feeds or starves your economic growth. As long as you have hidden beliefs that cause you to unconsciously repel money, perhaps “protect” yourself from wealth, your garden will not grow.

Rule #2: There is no scarcity.

A wealthy client once explained to me how he had overcome poverty. “The amount of money out there in play every day is limitless, beyond our comprehension. Money is everywhere,” he explained. And it’s available in proportion to “how big your funnel is to take it in.” He had learned to tap into the Source. This relationship supported him.

Rule #3: Consciousness gives you choice.

I assert even a small change in your relationship consciousness can have a huge impact on your material life. You get what you choose, but first you need to know what you’re choosing. How do I know this? I experienced this transformation myself.

My story:

For years I was struggling as a life coach. I had trouble attracting clients who would pay the fee I wanted. I found myself avoiding discussions of money as long as I could. The whole subject embarrassed me, and my discomfort translated into making clients uncomfortable too. I was “doing” all the right marketing things–networking, newsletters, sample sessions–and getting nowhere. I was not making a “grown-up” living. What was in my way, I wondered? My coach and I took a look at my relationship with Money. What were my stories about Money? What is this entity I’m in relationship with? What’s going on with this relationship?

Two discoveries popped out: money didn’t feel safe or reliable, and money caused separation. (My family would swing between being rich and poor over and over again, and money was a “reason” for family members not to talk to each other for decades.) If my experience of money were given personhood, he’d look like an unkempt, unappealing, Hell’s Angel biker type I didn’t want to be around…someone untrustworthy who liked to cause fights. No wonder I wasn’t bringing Money into my life! This was not the relationship with Money I wanted to have. (And it wasn’t the relationship I wanted to model for my clients either.) So I created a new paradigm. I fired the Biker persona and put a romantic, clean-cut, soft-spoken suitor in his place. I chose a new Money “person” to relate to. This Money was like a sweet boyfriend who wooed me with gifts. He even wore a tux! Whenever I received a check, signed a new client, came across some unexpected income, I would graciously thank Money for the lovely gift. And this version of Money was valued and invited into my life.

From then on my business and income kept growing. Within six months I had accrued such a waiting list of clients that I had to add group coaching to my services. I didn’t have to look for my new clients; they were finding me. And all I had changed was my inner dialogue with money.

Now it’s your turn:

If you want to improve your financial situation, you must first uncover the beliefs that shaped your relationship with Money. Get out some paper and respond to these questions. (Writing creates clarity and speeds your change.)

What did you hear about money when you were growing up?

What beliefs get between you and prosperity?

What have you heard about women with money?

Next, look at how Money has shown up in your life and in the lives of those around you. Give Money personhood in relationship to you. If Money were a person, what would your version of this Money “person” be like? Who is Money? How do you feel about Money? Do you trust Money? Does Money trust you? How does Money operate in your life? How does Money feel about you? Is Money someone you’d want to have a relationship with if you didn’t “have to?”

Now, take a step back and imagine looking at this relationship between yourself and Money-as-a-person from the outside.

What shift needs to happen in this relationship?

Now, as yourself, negotiate with Money:

Does Money have a request for you? Do you have a request for Money? What’s going to be different? How do you want to be different in this relationship? What is the next step to making this change real?

Money is like any other relationship; it comes where it’s invited and appreciated. It rarely comes when it is chased. It can be your partner if you listen to it. The more you care for this relationship, the more money you will attract.


1) Appreciate money. Appreciate even the smallest denomination. Think of how good you feel when you are valued for even a small gesture. It’s the same with money. Every time you practice receiving and appreciating, you train the universe to send you more.

2) Strengthen your boundaries. Have the courage to say “yes” to what you want and “no” to what you don’t want. Clear the clutter and energy drains in your life. Strong boundaries build your self esteem and free you to focus on what is important to you. This is very attractive to money.

3) Make a wish list. List one hundred things you would buy if money were no object. The items on your list put what you want on your radar. Through a mental process called reticular activation, your mind will start to discover opportunities to manifest the items on your list.

4) Manage your money. The better you manage what you have, the better able you will be to manage more. Get in the habit of diverting a percentage of your income into a wealth-building account, even if you are paying down debt. And set aside something for your favorite charities–nothing builds a sense of abundance like the ability to give to others.

And finally,

5) Surround yourself with successful people. You take on traits of the people you spend the most time with. If you want to be financially free, spend your time with financially successful people who share your values. Identify rich people you admire. Pick up their mindsets and practices for enlightened wealth building.

MORGANA RAE is an internationally acclaimed life coach, author, and professional speaker, and is regarded to be the world’s top relationship with money coach. Morgana’s groundbreaking program for attracting wealth has featured her in Personal Excellence Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, United Press International and The Wall Street Journal online. She’s often a featured expert with other major thought leaders like Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, John Gray, John Assaraf and T Harv Eker. Morgana’s Financial Alchemy books, CDs, magazine articles, and classes have impacted the lives of thousands of people worldwide. Morgana writes, speaks, and coaches from a desire to empower idealistic entrepreneurs, coaches, authors and artists to have a big impact in the world… and to heal the rift between heart, spirit, and money.

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Achieving Outstanding Business Success

Personal Traits of Exceptional Performers

Some time back a friend of mine had the pleasant opportunity of having dinner with his friend Earl Nightingale, the famous radio personality and producer of self improvement cassette programs.

Earl made his life’s work studying successful people and how they achieved their successes. My friend had long admired Earl for his ideas and philosophy.

And on that occasion, my friend asked him what advice he would give his young son if he had one. What, based on his vast experience and knowledge, would be the one thing that would help his son ensure success both in business as well as in his personal life.

Earl said told my friend, “You know, I have often thought about that very question. And after all the years and all the study, I’ve come to the conclusion that your success in life, or in business for that matter, can be boiled down to one thing. That is, your rewards will always be in direct proportion to the amount of service you render.

“You only have to look around,” he said. “The people who serve others, prosper. The people who don’t serve others, don’t prosper. And you can tell just how successful a person is by the amount of service they render to others.

“The problem,” he continued, “is that unsuccessful people either haven’t learned that great secret, or they don’t apply it.

“The successful people are the ones who develop the habits of doing the things that

unsuccessful people don’t do for one reason or another.”

Get Started Now  !!!!!

Stay Young My Friend

We  all need to read this one over and over  – until it becomes part  of who we are!

1.  Try everything twice.
On one woman’s tombstone she said she wanted this
epitaph: “Tried everything twice. Loved it both times!”

2.  Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
(Keep this in mind if you are one of those grouches!)

3. Keep learning: Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever… 
Never let the brain get idle.
  ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’
And the devil’s name is     

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. 
And if you have a friend who makes you laugh,
spend lots and lots of time with HIM /HER.

6.. The tears happen: Endure, grieve, and move on.
The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves.
LIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love:
whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever.. 
Your home is your refuge.

 8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. 
If it is unstable, improve it.
If it is beyond what you can improve,
get help.

9. Don’t take guilt trips..
Take a trip to the mall, even to the next  city, state, 
to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.
I love you, my special friend.

11. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second chance.

Stay Young My Friend !!!!!!!!!!!

 Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.


Action Is The Key

One thing separates the dreamer and the doer.  It also separates the wishful from the wealthy.  Two people can have the same capabilities, same hope and same aspiration, but have radically different outcomes.

How?  One acted and the other did not.
 ACTION is the great separator.
Take  ACTION  now

“When inspiration does not come to me, I go half way to meet it.”

Sigmund Freud