Why It Is Important to Create a Business Plan

Most successful new businesses use a good business plan before they get started. Here are three ways a good business plan can help you, and why it is worth the effort to create one:

  1. A good plan formalizes assumptions
  2. Every business is created with certain underlying assumptions about the business environment, and markets it is attempting to gain a foothold in. A good plan forces you to write down these assumptions, and make the implicit into something more explicit. In this way, if your environment changes (so that your previous assumptions no longer hold true), you will be more apt to recognize the changes, and make appropriate alterations to your business plans to address these. Similarly, if you revise your plan regularly, any new assumptions should be included, and irrelevant assumptions dropped.

  3. A good plan removes guesswork by providing actual numbers
  4. Many business ideas initially appear good, yet when you test them against actual real-world numbers, they may not be worth pursuing. It is much better to discover obvious problems with a plan, when you are still in the stage of creating pro forma (projected) financial statements. After all, a good plan may still encounter some problems when you attempt to execute it, but a bad plan which can never work will be incredibly frustrating, no matter how good your execution is. Good plans prevent you from wasting the time, money, or efforts on a losing effort.

  5. A good plan can help you win over investors
  6. This is the reason many business owners create a business plan, but even a great plan is no guarantee that investors will back you. However, if you do not have a business plan, that can be a strike against you with many investors. Knowledgeable investors will want to be able to check your numbers against typical firms in your industry, and to verify your assumptions against their own expectations. By the same token, potential investors also like to see intellectual property protections (patents, etc.), established customer groups, management roles adequately filled, and other signs that your business is less of a risk than other investment opportunities that they have available to them instead.

In other words, a good plan helps you by making implicit assumptions more explicit, removing the guesswork, and winning over investors, all of which make it more likely that your new business will be successful. For all of these reasons, a great business plan is invaluable to have.

Taking the First Step Toward Success

I am always amazed at the number of people that do not have a proper business plan. I am equally amazed at those who feel that their fill in the blank plan will make them successful beyond their wildest expectations. What amazes me even more are those entrepreneurs and small business owners with or without plans that do not have a strategy or strategic plan. All the detailed planning in the world isn’t worth a darn without strategy. A well thought out strategy is an analysis of your business plan relative to the world around you. A Business Plan provides the roadmap for actions to be taken in the near term to achieve stated goals. Your Strategic Plan validates the expectation that those actions will in fact achieve those results and with what inherent risks. The strategic plan is a vision and roadmap to future success only to the extent that it is:

  • Founded upon a rational vision.
  • Impediments to the goal are anticipated and dealt with.
  • The plan is flexible enough to respond to a changing environment.
  • The organization responsible for making it happen knows the plan, believes in the plan and is motivated to make it happen.

The alignment of these fundamental requirements seldom happens. To a very real extent, that is what separates successful companies from those that are not so successful. Dumb luck occurs with surprising frequency, however, a well thought out plan coupled with effective management and implementation has a far greater chance of success.

While a sound methodology is imperative to construct a good plan, nothing will compensate for the lack of good business judgment and an engaged organization. This is not to say that Strategic Planning is a democratic process requiring the involvement of many layers of the organization. Quite to the contrary, that is a recipe for failure. Management must take responsibility for the plan and draw from the best and brightest of the organization at any level to construct it. With a management team or possibly just the owner in some organizations, committed to creating a strategic plan one of the first decisions to be made is to go it alone or use third parties to facilitate, bring additional knowledge and perspective to the process. In large organizations, this is often not necessary. Small and medium sized businesses never having created a strategic plan benefit most, but are typically least inclined to do so. Some or all of the components of developing a sound plan may be absent:

  • A process or methodology for developing a plan.
  • Individual(s) capable of separating themselves from day-to-day business issues and look at the business in the context of a longer time frame.
  • Individual(s) with business experience to recognize common issues and draw from similar situations to add a broader perspective to the process.
  • Individual(s) with industry experience to recognize common issues and draw from similar situations to add a broader perspective to the process.
  • Individual(s) capable of translating high level plans into action/implementation plans and financial scenarios.
  • A neutral party that can draw out thoughts of all involved, keep a group focused and committed to an objective.
  • A party that can help communicate the plan and sometimes legitimize a plan to a skeptical organization.

A study I like to quote defined successful entrepreneurs as skilled in using their time to develop relationships with people that are vital to the success of their business. Certainly the strategic planning process is one in which this gift is most called for.

In Support of Business Planning

Full disclosure, I’ve taught business plan writing in both a short-form six-hour workshop and a long-form 18-week class, where each session was three hours long. Previous to that, I was skeptical of formal business plans. I was under the impression that all business plans had to be 40+ pages in length and that every element of the standard template had to be populated. Now I know better.

That said, if an Entrepreneur intended to launch a venture that required a physical location, several employees and a bank loan, I would have encouraged that person to write a business plan. But for those who will operate as a Solopreneur who provides B2B or B2C services, then my feeling was (and still is), that planning can primarily center on developing a business model that will bring in clients and a comprehensive marketing plan.

Some Entrepreneurs have been known to build a successful venture without writing down a single word. Their businesses are typically small and self-financed, maybe with some additional backing from friends and family. Particularly if the owner has already run a business, even one that failed, it is possible to learn valuable lessons to apply to a new venture. Writing a business plan is time-consuming, prompting some to recommend that Entrepreneurs can learn by doing. Why not create business strategies on an as-needed basis and test them in combat?

A study of 11,046 companies published in 2010 found that business planning benefits existing businesses more than start-ups. It was hypothesized that leaders of existing businesses know their customers and business environment more completely than leaders of start-up ventures. Leaders of existing companies have more information, i.e. historical data, so there are fewer faulty assumptions born of inexperience.

Another study found that while many businesses can succeed without significant planning, ventures operated by leaders who plan grow 30% faster and are overall more profitable than those whose leaders decline to plan. The link between business planning and growth was reinforced by yet another study that found 71% of fast-growing companies, i.e., companies showing a 90% or greater growth in sales over a 12-month period, were led by a team that planned. Creating marketing and sales strategies, setting sales goals and creating budgets make a difference, as does defining customer needs and the company’s value proposition.

As you may have surmised, a business is less likely to fail when there is a plan in place. A study of 223 companies demonstrated that while business planning cannot guarantee success, it will decrease the occurrence of business failure.

Realize that business plans are not etched in stone, but are intended to be guidelines that can be adjusted as necessary. Identify key metrics and track company performance to test whether your assumptions perform in real-time. If customer needs are changing, then observation of your metrics will signal you to amend your strategy and keep your products and services relevant in the marketplace.

Your start-up business plan, strategic (long-term) plan, or operating (one-year) plan need not be long and elaborate. Keeping it lean and focusing on customer needs, defining your value proposition and business model, spelling out goals and the strategies that will achieve them and identifying metrics that demonstrate either success or the need for adjustments will do your business a world of good.

Start-up Entrepreneurs were reported to be 152% more likely to actually start their businesses when they developed a credible business plan. So if you want to make your dream come true, do the necessary research and put into writing how you intend to make good things happen.

In the Marketing section of your plan, describe how your business will obtain customers; identify the primary target and niche markets; include examples of marketing messages that will promote the brand; and detail your sales strategy. In the Operations section, explain the production method and delivery of the products or services you’ll sell and the quality control process. In the Finance section, acknowledge the amount of money that will be required to open the doors and keep them open as you sustain your business by developing a realistic financial strategy.

Promotional Products for Travel and Leisure

Choosing promotional products can be tricky for your business. The key however, is to make them as relevant to your business as possible. The next step would be to personalise them to make them not only attractive, but also to define them as representing your company. This can be achieved with a range of printing and design work, aimed to market the product to your target audience.

If your business is involved in the travel and leisure industry, then it goes without saying that you should be searching for relevant products. Thankfully, the market is awash with all kinds of promotional products geared up for every line of industry, large or small.

Travel and leisure encompasses a vast array of products, so you will certainly not be lacking for choice. The one problem will be selecting individual products from such a large list. Even so, having such a range can only be a positive thing.

If your business caters for a type of sport, then you’ll find an excellent amount of products and will be pleasantly surprised by what you can make your own and personalise. Just for golf alone, you can purchase tees, golf balls, gloves, ball markers, club covers, pencils, caps, socks and more still.

Other fantastic options in terms of more general travel and leisure would be luggage tags, bank card holders, travel toothbrush, drawstring bags, beach balls, water bottles, travel games, first aid kits, pool inflatables, travel cushions and pocket fans. The list just goes on and on. Take bottles for instance – this is a single item but one that has a hundred variants, shapes, colours and sizes. It is some task to narrow it down to one particular item, but one that will be worth it in the long run.

The vast amount of goods available out there for travel and leisure makes it a very competitive market and so choose wisely before you buy and not act on impulses alone. The cost varies greatly between each item and you want to try and get the best value for money as possible, without losing too much in terms of quality.

By using the best travel and leisure promotional products, displaying them well and having them printed with your company details, you stand a great chance for a successful campaign. Products like those described are a fantastic marketing tool for getting the word out there about your business.

The Best Deals of Travel and Leisure Magazine

Constant travelers who want to score the best deals in every continent that they step into should never do without a copy of travel and leisure magazine. This magazine which is well known as travel + leisure magazine provides the A lists of the best hotels, restaurants, wellness clubs, cruise ships, events and festivals, resorts and beaches, food and drinks, and other significant facts that are essential to the well-being of one’s travel itinerary. The travel and leisure magazine is a top rated, professional travel companion that would make sure you do not lose your way in every travel decision that you make.

The travel and leisure magazine used to be a compiled journal of travel photographs which placed emphasis on leisure travel and often features contributions from novelists, poets, travel columnists, artists, and avid travelers who are eager to share their acquired wisdom and serve as a helpful guide especially for those who are still neophyte in the realm of travel. The magazine publishes in a monthly basis and has several international editions such as China, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and South East Asia though most of them were already defunct.

The magazine is famous for their World’s Best Awards which is announced every August and has been practiced since 1995. This is an award body created on a basis of an annual survey from magazine readers who gave out their quantitative rating of world’s best travel destination and accommodation. For the 2010’s survey of the World’s Best Awards, the travel and leisure magazine offers a chance to those who will take the survey of winning a $10,000 dream trip. This award has various categories namely hotels, islands, cities, airlines and cruises, wellness and spas and business hotels. These categories are featured on all continents that the travel and leisure magazine encompass such as US and Canada, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, Europe, Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific. Last 2009, the Bushman’s Kloof atop the Cedarberg Mountains in Western Cape, South Africa emerged as the record holder of the number one spot in the survey with an overall score of 98.67.

Aside from the World’s Best Awards, the travel and leisure magazine also has what they call T+L 500 Best Hotels and America’s Favorite Cities where subscribers and magazine readers rank cities in the U.S. based on several categories. The categories are very informative because it covers almost all the things that one needs to know in famous cities such as their culture, hotels, nightlife, shopping malls, food and dining places, and airports.

The travel and leisure magazine also provides educational articles that are full of ideas not just about traveling but also informative discussions such as books and movies, charity programs, sports and fitness, gadgets, arts and culture, and basic photography lessons.

For those who are interested in subscribing to the travel and leisure magazine, the publication is giving out two risk-free issues of the magazine.

Use a Travel and Leisure Magazine to Plan Your Getaway

Whether you are looking to find a romantic weekend for two or a week long getaway for the whole family, a travel and leisure mag can make your planning easier. You can find recommendations for destinations and hotels in the area, a list of things to do, and reviews on lodging, restaurants, and attractions. In addition, you can usually find special offers available only to the readers of the travel and leisure mag that can save you some serious money.

You can read your travel and leisure mag online, or purchase a copy at your local newsstand. Either way, you will find fascinating articles and a wealth of information. Many sponsor contests for the readers of their travel and leisure mag, so you just might win the trip you’ve been longing to take.

Detailed hotel reviews are to be found at almost every travel and leisure site. You can find out whether they are quiet, clean, and efficient, as well as whether they have restaurants or clubs on the premises. Any other services, such as valet parking, turn down service, concierge, and currency exchange will also be provided by the travel and leisure mag.

One of the best sources for information on cruises is a travel and leisure mag. You will discover which lines or ships provide the most activities for children and which ones are planned for adults. You can also find out whether cruises are planned for singles, couples wishing to take a second honeymoon, or the entire family from Grandma to toddler. Often, you can find discount coupons at a travel and leisure magazine online site that will make your cruise even more affordable.

A travel and leisure magazine can also provide recommendations for destinations that may not have been on your list, but are exactly what you are seeking. Perhaps you want to find a beach resort that is off the beaten track, affordable, and far from the crush of civilization. Browsing a travel and leisure mag may be able to provide you with a list of several destinations that fit the bill.

Even if your travel plans are many years in the future, you can still use a travel and leisure mag to plan the vacation you will someday take. Anticipation is half the fun, anyway, and a vacation that you take only in your imagination still offers some benefit to your psyche.

A travel and leisure mag is practically an essential for couples planning a honeymoon. Together they can search for potential destinations and select one with features of interest to both. They can compare hotel rates and amenities, learn how to reach their destination, and perhaps find discounts to make their honeymoon even more special.

You can also use a travel and leisure mag to plan a day trip for the entire family. Almost everyone has state or national parks, amusement parks, or museums within a few hours’ drive. The magazine will provide with information on location, hours of operation, cost, and what is offered. That way, you will know in advance what to expect when you take your crew out for the day or weekend.

Travel and Leisure Hotels to Fit Your Budget

When it is time to plan a vacation or a weekend trip, you may need to find travel and leisure hotels that will work with your budget. You also want to find choices that offer the amenities you need and the location you want.

The Internet is a good place to locate travel and leisure hotels. Many travel sites offer an excellent starting point, although few have enough information available to make your final decision. However, you can find the names of the travel and leisure hotels that meet your minimum requirements and then visit their home pages individually.

Start by answering why you need to find travel and leisure hotels and for whom. Are you traveling for business or taking a romantic vacation? Who will be in the party? Will it be adults only, or will children be included? If children are going, what are their ages? Will you need child care services? Do you plan to rent a car or walk to local attractions? Once you have defined why you are looking for travel and leisure hotels and who will comprise the party, you can start looking for travel and leisure hotels that will fit those needs.

As you find hotels that might suit your requirements, map out their locations in relation to other attractions you want to visit. Travel and leisure hotels with a slightly higher daily rate may not be the best option if everything else is on the opposite side of a large city, since taxi fares will quickly exceed any savings.

Investigate all amenities offered by all the different hotels. If you work out daily, you might want to find one with a free gym for guests. Perhaps you want a hotel with an indoor pool for taking the children for a swim. You might want to limit your potential travel and leisure hotels to those with 24 hour room service, particularly if you are planning a second honeymoon or romantic weekend. Or if you are traveling on business, you might need on-site cleaning and laundry service.

Certain individuals with health needs may need travel and leisure hotels with specific amenities. For example, those who need to keep insulin refrigerated would probably prefer a room with a mini-fridge. Those with breathing problems might prefer a room on a lower floor just in case there is a power failure or other emergency requiring the use of stairs.

Perhaps you want to narrow your search for hotels to only those with onsite restaurants. This can save time and make it easier when traveling with a large party, since people can eat when they want and there is no need to try to coordinate a meal time for a group.

Once you have a list of hotels that seem like suitable candidates, you can check further on things like cancellation policies, check-in and check-out times and procedures, and parking availability. You may also want to know if there is a club, spa, or convenience store onsite.

With just a little research, you will no doubt find many travel and leisure hotels that interest you. By finding the one with the most qualities you desire, you will make sure that you and everyone traveling with you will have the best trip possible.

Travel and Leisure Resorts

If you are planning to embark on a luxury cruise voyage, then do not hesitate any more. As much as it may look like just an ordinary leisure outing, at the end of it all you will have developed great and lasting friendship with your cruising partners. It is from such friendships that you get to learn very many things that you never knew.

During your journey, you will be overjoyed to spend some time in the travel and leisure resorts which offer marvelous services and delicacies. As you cruise all over the fabulous ports and any other place that the cruise ship sails, you should not be worried of where you will sleep or eat. Almost all travel and leisure resorts operate all day and night long. Other than the mega cruise liners, there also exist a number of various types of ships that are of different sizes. Despite the big craze of travelling in the big ships, the smaller cruise ships are better when it comes to inland waterways navigation. This makes it very simple to view historic landmarks and cities.

Travel and leisure resorts offer some good place to relax after all the day’s site seeing and travelling. If you choose to travel on a larger cruise, they organize one or two shore excursions at every port of call. You get to go for one excursion in the morning hours, and the other one in the afternoon then from there you get your time to rest at any of the travel and leisure resorts. After the first excursion, all people gather back at the travel and leisure resorts for a sumptuous lunch buffet.

Although travel and leisure resorts also offer dinner, you might always miss it on the days that you go out for an afternoon excursion and come back late at night or early evening. However, you should not miss out on any adventure just because of one meal or two. The travel and leisure resorts are always open and all of them offer very good and high quality meals. Sometimes, you can even explore the city, an island, town, or other landmarks and tourist attractions on your own provided you get to the ship on time or else, it will sail without you.

Do not forget that your vacation time is limited. You should distribute your time effectively so that you do not spend too much time in the travel and leisure resorts at the expense of shore excursions. The other very important thing that you should not forget to carry with you is the travel guide book. Without this book, you may end up lost or you may never know where certain sites are found. Some travel and leisure resorts have these guides but they cannot allow you to leave with them. Similarly, you can also carry a camera which you will use to take photos and videos. You should therefore make sure that the memory card is big enough to store all those images and videos.

Travel And Leisure Jobs Available

Actually working in this industry is so exciting. You work as you enjoy and also get to meet a lot of amazing people with different cultures and beliefs. This makes the job an exciting experience that you don’t even want to go on leave. Don’t give me those eyes, you will know what I am saying once you start working in the industry.

The list of travel and leisure jobs available is long and endless. There are so many jobs to choose from. Ranging from travel to sports to holidays and to anything leisure you can imagine. You can work as a sport instructor, like say a swimming instructor. You can be a gym instructor, can work in a massage palour, can be a tour guide, can be a travel agent, can be in the cabin crew, can even be a driver for a tours company and the list is endless!

The most common place you can work while in this industry is in a hotel. This is where most people who travel stay while on their holiday or trip. This place therefore offers the largest percentage of jobs in this category. From hotel managers, to those who take care of you during your stay, to the chefs, to outdoor activities managers and many other uncountable posts. All you have to do is have the required skills and the job might be yours. These top hotels should therefore be one of your top search places for travel and leisure jobs.

Hotels are everywhere because lots of people are travelling daily. This therefore means, the jobs are everywhere and getting your dream travel and leisure should be a big problem. Apart from hotels, jobs are available in national parks, animal sanctuaries and orphanages, sports clubs, airports, beaches, travel agencies and almost virtually everywhere.

Internet can also be a good place where you can get your travel and leisure job. In this day, there are so many sites online just dedicated to find you a travel and leisure job. All you have to do, is register and maybe upload your curriculum vitae, then your employer will find you. Alternatively, you can browse the jobs available and apply for them online. This is a very easy and efficient way of looking for that travel and leisure dream job.

Having known that you can always get that job you wanted, I will advise that you make a move towards getting it. You also understand that competition is high and you got to be smart and fast when you are eyeing a certain job. As I said, hotels are always a good place to start with. Chances are your fate might be to work there. These other places too should not be ignored. So start now and get your travel and leisure job, before someone takes it.

Travel and Leisure Magazines

Where should I go on my next vacation? How much will a 7-day cruise cost? What are the latest vacation hot spots around the world? What place has the most beautiful beaches? The most delicious foods are found in what country? The most interesting culture can be seen in what part of the world? What is happening in the travel industry today? These and many more questions can be answered if you had magazine travel and leisure literature to browse.

Magazine travel and leisure articles will put you in the know about hot travel destinations throughout the entire world. It would answer all the questions you may have about where to go on the next vacation, the cost of a 7-day cruise, or where the world’s top beaches are at. It essence, magazine travel and leisure information would enlighten and educate you about the travel and leisure industry as a whole. The magazine travel and leisure discounts offered are usually a tremendous savings opportunity that will have you traveling more each year, as you save money on all your trips. It doesn’t matter if you travel for business or pleasure, or whether you travel alone, with family or with groups, travel discounts make sense for the travel savvy. The better informed you are about the places you wish to travel to, the more likely it is that you will have a satisfying and rewarding experience when traveling.

Valuable and informative cultural awareness can also be obtained from magazine travel and leisure articles. What are the dos and don’t of visiting certain countries? Is it acceptable to always shake hands when meeting someone in a foreign country? Or do some cultures frown upon the traditional western greeting of a handshake. Do you need to take off your shoes when entering someone’s house in Asian countries? How much of a tip is it appropriate to give when dining in a fancy restaurant in Paris? Knowledge about such issues can be found in magazine travel and leisure articles. You will be pleasantly surprised at the kinds of tidbits you can pick up in these types of articles.

In magazine travel and leisure articles, you will visit far away exotic destinations, without ever leaving your own home. The newest travel trends will be at your fingertips. All the necessary information about the best hotel and resort deals, the most economical transportation options, and other important travel and leisure information will be within reach. Receive all the info you require from one source of information; magazine travel and leisure articles.

An informed traveler is a happy traveler. With magazine travel and leisure information at your disposal, you will know what hotel or resort to stay at, what city spot is a must-see and which restaurants to eat at in the top cities in the world. You’ll be up to date on the latest travel and leisure trends in the travel industry. Don’t make those travel plans until you are fully informed with the latest data from every destination hot spot.