What is a business plan and why do I need one? A business plan is a critical tool for outlining the strategy and developing the tactics to manage your business. This document identifies your business concept, organizes the information derived from your research, and explains how you will start and operate your business. This interactive series is delivered from 5:30 to 8:30 pm on six consecutive Wednesday evenings (summer hours differ) and provides in-depth instruction on preparing each section of the business plan. A business plan template is included. Classes are small and range in size from 6 to 15 participants so there is lots of time for questions and discussion. The descriptions below explain the content of each class.
Prepayment is required to reserve your spot in a session. Payment is not refundable or transferable to other sessions. Please arrive 15 minutes before the start of the session.
In this session you will explore and begin to refine your business concept. Various primary and secondary research tools and techniques will be discussed so that you can evaluate what research you need to obtain in order to have the necessary information to develop a realistic and effective plan.
Once you have conducted the research there needs to be an analysis of that information. In this session, you will learn how to evaluate and assess the information you have collected so that you have a strong foundation for the next stage which is developing the marketing and operational strategies.
Marketing is a very important aspect of every business. In the first class devoted to marketing, you will explore the importance of differentiation, positioning, and establishing a well thought out brand/image for your business and product/service. There will also be discussion about pricing strategies and how your costing and pricing model will affect sales and profit potential. The class ends with a review of sales methods and the channels of distribution you will use to get your product/service into the marketplace.
The marketing discussion continues with an exploration of marketing options. You will look at various traditional promotion tools (advertising, public relations, personal selling, sales promotion) and then consider on-line strategies (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, You Tube, Pinterest, blogging). The class finishes with an examination of the marketing plan which is the packaging of the elements discussed in these two classes into a strategic action plan to create awareness about your product/service and get it to your target customers.
In this session you will explore the operations plan with a focus on identifying effective processes and systems. You will also take into consideration the physical and human resources required to ensure the business is able to meet its sales and marketing objectives. Potential risks to your business will be reviewed and a template to assess and mitigate those risks will be provided. The class wraps up with a discussion of sales forecasting methods.
In the final session of the series, you will learn how to apply the research and planning from the previous workshops to develop realistic financial projections for the business. Cash flow budgets, income statements and balance sheets will be reviewed and tools will be provided to support analysis of the feasibility of your business strategy based on the financial projections.
Participants who attend every class will receive a certificate of participation.
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