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Effective business planning is critical to an entrepreneurial company's long-term success and its ability to raise capital and grow successfully. A properly prepared Business Plan should tell a story, make an argument and conservatively predict the future. All companies have different stories to tell, different arguments to make and different futures to predict, so they must resist the temptation to copy from others or to follow a rigid outline.
Service companies aiming to grow fast enough to attract financing need to address the weaknesses inherent in such business models, says the founder of a human-resources consultancy.
A business model that aims to consolidate in the fragmented tour-packaging industry must rely on the entrepreneurial owners of the local businesses it acquires, according to the writer. A case is made for developing the people who will build the business, rather than, as is practice for many consolidators, putting them out of business.
The launch of a new product is analogous to the birth of a child, necessitating commitment, preparation, the ability to set a date against which to measure progress, and finally delivery, writes the author. Illustrative are scenes from this entrepreneur's introduction of physician-approved videos aimed at educating patients about their diseases.
Bringing a technology-based product to market involves assessing customers' needs and convincing them that yours is the solution, rather than trumpeting its innovative features, writes the founder of a videoconferencing company. Included are various tactics for engaging in what the author calls "relationship selling" and likens to the venerable board game of Checkers.
Companies that turn to contractors must structure both the business and the specific nature of the work accordingly, according to a software-company entrepreneur. On the business side, founders need to retain a competent attorney and match the right worker to the job; on the tech side, they must require that contractors produce their work within a framework that can be replicated for other projects, the author advises.
As an entrepreneurial company grows and adds layers of management, it can and should consider policies that address work and family issues or risk inconsistency across departments, writes the founder of a human-resources services firm. The author advises companies to examine four areas: scheduling, flexibility, telecommuting, and childbirth leaves. Increased productivity will be the company's reward.
When key leaders are ready to move on to new challenges or even retirement, their legacy can be greatly diminished without good succession planning.
Many entrepreneurs with family-owned or closely held businesses say the most difficult challenges involve deciding who will succeed the current generation.
A serial entrepreneur who has exited three businesses and launched a fourth advises that founders plan for how to get out of a venture even before they get in. A corollary is that the end game might not turn out as planned, the author writes, although the strategy keeps a founder focused.
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