Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dreaming new realities

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     Every business owner has dreams. But getting caught up in dreams before their time can be dangerous.

     Example: Cedric Sr. started a tee shirt operation years ago. He worked very hard, keeping the business lean and mean. It supported the family and sent Cedric Jr. to college. When Cedric Jr. took over the business, he had bigger dreams. He expanded the old website and he posted lots of pictures on social media. Orders for tee shirts exploded, orders came in from all over, and shipments went out every day. Cedric Jr. arranged for a loan to expand the operation. He moved into larger quarters, bought more equipment, and hired more people. Suddenly, the economy tanked and orders dropped. He had trouble meeting the monthly payment on the loan. And then there was the rent on the bigger space. He laid off people, and some of his equipment lay idle. Going on social media was a good idea, but taking on lots of new debt and expanding too fast was a bad idea. Cedric Jr. let his dreams get ahead of reality.

     When you are trying to turn your dreams into reality, you do a business plan. Always factor in changes in the market you serve or want to serve. And always consider that the economy can change. Work the numbers--numbers don't lie, and numbers can put a hedge on dreams.

     Example: Kathy runs a small tea shop. Customers come in, browse the dozens of different teas, sip a sample, and purchase tea to take home. It was a nice little business, but Kathy wanted to expand. She familiarized herself with social media, and she began posting pictures on Facebook. Suddenly, her website was more active--people began ordering tea online. Many stopped coming to the shop, preferring online ordering. Then Kathy began offering standing orders--customers placed an order and Kathy shipped out replacements each month. Today, Kathy spends most of her time filling and shipping orders. She still enjoys meeting new customers who come to her tea shop, but her business is addressing a much, much bigger market.

     Expanding an existing business--no matter the size--takes careful planning. Doing that business plan is crucial to success.

     Turning your business dreams into reality means that you must use all the tools available to you. The most important tools are those involving the marketplace. A good business plan can uncover what you can expect in the market you plan to address.

     Don't know how to do a business plan? Do a search for "Business Plans" and you'll find lots of help. Spend your time then on the marketing section.   


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