Center for Business Modeling Announces Call for Submissions

Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders Invited to Share
Their Business Planning Insights on CBM Blog

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – (October 30, 2014) – The Center for Business Modeling (CBM) today announced a call for submissions to the company’s blog. Entrepreneurs and business leaders are invited to share their perspective on planning for success in operations, financial, sales and marketing planning.

CBM is a newly launched startup aimed at simplifying and streamlining the way businesses plan for success in all facets of their operations, offering both paid and free business planning resources to its members. Alongside these offerings, CBM aims to build a community of business planning experts who can share best practices and help its members and visitors more accurately anticipate challenges, set goals and avoid costly pitfalls.

“Both contributors and our members will benefit from this shared knowledge,” said Michael James Smyth, CBM’s Chief Operating Officer. “We offer a forum for business planners to establish clear thought leadership and take a high-profile position on the ground floor of this new and important community.”

For more information on how to contribute, please see CBM’s submission guidelines.

About The Center for Business Modeling

The Center for Business Modeling was founded by a team of seasoned business professionals whose experience encompasses all aspects of business creation, operations and finance. Our team has experience ranging from small entrepreneurial ventures to multi-billion dollar international corporations. CBM principals have been responsible for launching ventures, fundraising, marketing, sales and running large successful organizations. Over the years, CBM professionals have seen businesses repeat the same mistakes including failure to capitalize on their core competencies and failure to plan correctly. Our team is now dedicated to helping companies reach their maximum potential through effective business modeling. Find out more at www.centerforbusinessmodeling.com.

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For more information please contact:
Nate Warren
720.244.4734
nwarren@fusionmarketingpartners.com

business plan framework thumbnail

How to Survive Your Own Business Plan

Using the iterative model of business planning helps real-life businesses survive customer contact

Steve Blank’s recent video brings home an important point. He bewails the fact that many business planners create a huge, unwieldy document that “can’t survive first contact with customers.” He cites a system of “magical thinking” around these activities – “If only we could think hard enough to create a great plan and hire the right people to execute, we’re SURE to succeed.” Anyone with real-world business experience knows that’s just not the case.

I can use my own, failed business plan from a previous life as an example. I was positive that my experience with state and local health departments would create a burgeoning business within my existing consultancy. After all—a major federal agency was requiring a new grant from every health department in the country. I had written the thousand-plus-page grant for a local health department and it had been accepted. This meant that my client would continue to be eligible for thousands of dollars in additional federal grants. Once these national health departments heard about me (I thought) they’d gladly pay me to ensure that their grants would go through. I had a track record. I wasn’t too expensive—considering the money they would lose if they tried to write the grant themselves and failed!

Contact with the customer proved me wrong. They were using internal resources to get the grants written—the departments I contacted simply had no budget for me. My assumptions about the health department I worked for didn’t hold water—only a visionary director such as the one I worked for could see that hiring a contractor was the only way to use her resources wisely. That being said, the rest of my potential customers tried to do it themselves—some made it; some didn’t. But whatever happened with them, I know one thing that didn’t survive their decision–my business plan.

At the Center for Business Modeling, we have a one-page framework (graphic above) that I now revisit before I invest too much in those “It’s just gotta work” activities before they touch the customer. Steve Blank counsels that a huge document representing multiple man hours all too easily becomes a doorstop when customer reactions are less than optimal. The trick is to find iterative viability—and to continue to test-fail until a test succeeds. I did go back and ask that health department director what I had done wrong. She told me: “You can’t force people to do what’s good for them.” And you can’t force customers to march to the tune of your business plan. Planning to iterate and learning to roll with the changes works better.

business health

Is Your Business as Healthy as You Think?

In July, Patty Tomsky wrote a great post on the CBM website titled Three Questions to Determine “True” Business Health. I thought I would add to Patty’s comments and give you some additional qualitative and quantitative ideas on how to evaluate the current health of your business. To create the right atmosphere for success, you might want to set aside an hour or two and find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted.

  1. Do you have a business concept that is differentiated and compelling? This is a hugely important question to ask about your entire business and specific product and service lines. Businesses that have no clear points of differences are commodities that must compete on price. Generally, this is not a place you want to be.
  2. Do you understand your marketplace, not only in terms of competitors but also in regard to your target audience segments? Can you describe the persona of each of these audience segments in terms of the characteristics of specific individuals within the segment and what drives them to purchase? Can you quantify each of these segments to establish the size of the total prospect universe?
  3. Is your financial and funding model on track? Do you understand where your revenue is coming from as well as all the associated costs? Do you know your expected revenue amounts, your average sales price and the cost to acquire a new customer? Is the financial model based on actual data or speculation?
  4. Is your product and services roadmap sufficient to keep you ahead of the competition? Do you understand what your customers will be looking for in a year and five years? Have customers bought into the product/services roadmap?
  5. Can everyone on your team articulate your brand? Is your marketing and sales model effective, measurable and sustainable? Do you understand your key conversion ratios like leads-to-opportunities and opportunities-to-sales? Is your sales pipeline active and growing? Are your reps making quota?
  6. Are your operations and delivery processes optimized and documented? Can you deliver products and support in a manner that is both cost-efficient and customer-pleasing? Are your operational metrics improving? Do you have as much of your business automated as possible? Are you operating your business in a systemized manner that is scalable and predictable?
  7. Do you have the right team in place to grow your market share? Is your executive team strong and united in achieving your business goals? Are there any gaps in your personnel that leave you vulnerable to the competition? Is your employee training sufficient to meet the changing business environment? Is the staff turnover ratio favorable? Is there an effective retention program to motivate employees to stay?

The Gallup polling organization asks citizens one question that summarizes their general feelings about the state of the country: “In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?” Paraphrase this question and ask yourself (and your key management team): “In general, are you satisfied with the direction our company is headed at this time?” If you get anything less than a resounding yes answer to this question, start working on the seven issues identified above and get back on the right track.

business plan infographic

Build a Purposeful Business Plan with These 10 Pointers

Creating a business plan is an important step for any young business. Since drafting a plan requires putting the goals, growth plans, and marketing strategies of the business down on paper, it forces the business owner to think through many of the elements that can make the business more investor-ready.

But because it is so significant, creating a business plan from scratch can be an intimidating prospect.

Unsure where to start? Check out this insightful infographic from Washington State University. It not only shares why you need a business plan to begin with, but lays out ten essential considerations for outlining and writing a successful one.

On the EarlyShares platform, a company’s business plan is a major key to an investment offering’s performance. Our favorite advice from the WSU piece is to distinguish your business from competitors to enhance your odds of obtaining investment capital. In our experience, that’s critical.

After you read through the infographic, share your advice on building a great business plan with us in the comments. What pointers could you have used when creating your first business plan?

business plan

Reprinted by permission. View the original post here.