A good business experience

by Norma

Business plan saves the day

BusinessSuperHeroIn the fall of 1996, our graphic design company took a hit from the explosion of inexpensive desktop publishing software. It seemed that every company’s switchboard operator was knocking out newsletters and brochures while never missing a call. No one appeared to care about double spaces after periods or saw a difference between inches and true quote marks.

At the same time, our city redevelopment agency was looking to develop tourism. They needed accommodations for the flood of tourists sure to head this way.

Opportunity was knocking or maybe, rearing its ugly head? I talked it over with my husband. “This is too hard. We need new computers. We need new clients. Let’s apply for redevelopment funds to open a bed and breakfast,” I said.

“Yep,” he said. I breathed a sigh. Help was on the way.

However, it was what he said next that changed our lives. “The County is sponsoring a workshop for new businesses. Let’s take it.”

I said okay, the instructor said, “Write a business plan.”

That workshop taught us much; writing that business plan, much more.

As we developed the new business plan, we considered the cost of the investment in both time and cash. Then we compared it with purchasing a couple of new computers and learning HTML to rev up our 1990s era skills. It revived our enthusiasm for the business we really did love and opened our eyes to new possibilities.

The business plan turned in at the end of the class was not a plan for opening a B&B. Instead, it called for expanding the graphic services we already offered. In sum, best thing I did was to see that it was easier to green up my own lawn than to plant a new one. Writing a business plan let me see that clearly.

Norma

Tip:

Before scraping your current business, get out your dusty old business plan. See where you can fan new life into your business with additional new products or services. Compare the ROI for starting up a new business from scratch to the ROI for updating your existing business.

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