A Sample Business Plan for a Small Business May Not Be the Best Way

You can find a sample business plan for a small business in all kinds of formats. There is a sample business plan for a small business where you basically fill in the blanks or you can have access to a sample business plan for a small business where you can pattern yours from it or you can develop a business plan that is centered on what you want for your dreams and your life.

I don’t know of better way than to let your business give you what you want for your lifestyle. Whether it’s a sample business plan for a small business or one where your business gives you a plan, it should tell you what is needed to take you where you want to go and when and how you can get there and it should be in clear simple terms, supported with all the specifics.

So using a sample business plan for a small business is just one of many ways to make a business plan but frankly I think designing one that will have your business give you exactly what you want is by far the best way.

So, why not start out with what you would like to have in life for you and your family? Then develop a business plan that could show you exactly what your business would need to do to give you that life style. If you think about it, there is no other way where you have more control over what you want in life than letting your own business do it for you. If you work for someone else, you’re sure not going to have as much control over your future.

So how would you go about making a plan like this? Well if you know a fair amount about business, you can. It will take some special calculations and some work but if you know how to put together a Profit & Loss Statement, you can probably do it.

You would first do a P&L for the present year for your existing business and the first year and as many years after as you would like to have your plan cover. Your existing business financials will be the foundation for building yourself a business plan for as many years out as you want. This data will tell you a number of things but first if you want to build your plan around what you want in life, you would need to decide some things about your life:

1. You would need to decide how much income you would like to have for yourself for each of the years you plan for.
2. You would need to determine what kind of profit margin you would want from your business for each of the years.
3. And by combining these 2 things into a P&L format you can develop a financial business plan that can extend as for into the future as you would like.
4. The first thing it will show you is how much sales you would need each year to give you the income and profit you would like. Once you see the sales needed, if you know your business well enough, you should be able to estimate those additional expenses needed to overcome capacity constraints that will occur as your business grows.

With this information you can actually predict not only what your sales will be, but you can see how much your fixed and variable expenses will be, what your labor cost will be, your material cost, and your profit.

1. So let’s first look at what exactly are fixed expenses? They are exactly what they say they are; they are fixed. This simply means these are expenses that are ongoing whether you have a lot of sales or “0” sales. They are expenses like utilities, taxes, rent, salaries other than the wages used in the making of the actual product or doing a service, business fees, telephone, etc. See how these expenses would continue on even if you have 0 sales? Any expenses that fall into this category are fixed expenses. Far too many small business owners never divide their expenses into fixed and variable. As a matter of fact, if you could have a business that had “0” fixed expenses; this would be the best of all worlds, why? If you had “0” sales, you would have “0” expenses. So the closer you could get to this the better you would be.

2. Variable expenses are those expenses that track directly with sales. If sales stop they stop. These are expenses like supplies used to support in the making of your product or doing your service. Such things as shipping cost for raw materials for your product or service. If you have no sales then you’re not going to be purchasing materials so your shipping cost for those materials will stop as well. As an example, if you have a lawn mowing business and there are no lawns to mow, then you wouldn’t be buying gasoline to travel to your lawn mowing site. These kinds of things are variable expenses. If you’re producing a product, it would include supplies used to produce that product like sand paper, glue, finishing materials, cutting tools, etc.

3. Labor and material costs are also directly proportionate to sales. These are things that go directly into the making of the product or into doing the service.

a. Labor cost is the actual direct labor used in the making of product or doing the service. The cost would also include all the fringe benefits like social security, payroll taxes, vacation pay, holidays, sick pay days, etc.
b. Material costs are all the materials used in the making of product or in doing the service. In the lawn mower service as an example it would be the gasoline used in the mower and any other materials used directly in that service. For producing a product it would be all the materials used in the product that is sent to the customer including all the packaging materials.

Average Selling Price

Now when you calculate your average selling price which is your cost of sales (material + labor) divided by (1-gross profit), you can determine how many customers you would need and then come up with what you think your conversion rate would be for converting leads to customers, you can determine how many leads you would need. Then from this and with the aid of the U.S. Census Bureau and some basic research on your own you can actually have a pretty decent idea of what size your market is and is going to be in the future so you can see if it will support your business plan or not.

So if you can put this all together, you can have a complete business operating plan that would show you exactly what your business would need to do to give you the income and profit you would like to have and a rough idea whether your market would support it or not. All you would have left to do would be to figure out how to make it all happen.

It’s like planning backwards.

1. Determine what you want in life
2. Figure out what your business would need to do to give you that life.
3. Figure out how long it would take you to reach it.
4. Figure out how big of a market it would take each of the years you’re planning for.
5. Then see if that market is big enough.

Isn’t this a much better way to go about planning your business? Shouldn’t your business be designed to give you want you want instead of you working yourself to death just hoping for the best?

So how would you go about calculating all this?

There is quite a bit of calculations and you should know a little about business principles but it isn’t that complicated. So first let’s look at figuring out your future needed sales with this formula:

Projected sales = fixed expenses divided by (1-(var exp % of existing sales + mat cost % of existing sales + lab cost % of existing sales + desired net prof %))

So, let’s say you existing sales is $850,000 annually, your fixed expenses are $275,000, variable expenses is $55,000 or 6.5% of the $850,000, material cost is $236,000 or 27.8%, labor cost is $109,000 or 12.8%, and your existing profit margin is $175,000 or 20.6%.

Now let’s say next year you want to have a profit margin of 25% so what would your sales need to be to give you that profit margin? Now you might think you would simply tack on 4.4% more to sales (25% – 20.6%) and you would have it. Well not quiet. it doesn’t work that way because you are going to have the additional variable expenses, material cost, and labor cost too. Remember, the more sales the more each of these expenses and cost will be.

So here is how you would do it:

Projected sales = fixed exp ($275,000) divided by 1-(6.5% + 27.8% + 12.8% + 25% (your new profit margin) = $896,057 (new sales)

You can do this for as many years out as you want. Obviously this is based on your first year’s fixed expenses remaining constant and no consideration of depreciation, inflation, or taxes.

But most likely you would need to increase your fixed expenses because you’re going to probably have more rent, utilities, or such as your business grows. So, you would simple put in your new fixed expense number in place of the existing one for each of the years you would be planning for.

So, you see if you decided you wanted a 35% profit margin at year 5 then you could see how much sales it would take to give you that.

Now it’s also important to know how many more customers you would need as well so you should always look at that unless you have another way of growing your sales other than with new customers.

Let’s say your average selling price for your service is $925.50 and you have one transaction per year per customer.

Using that first years sales example we used above, you would calculate it this way.

$896,057 divided by $925.50 = 968 customers needed for the year. Now if your average transactions per customer are more than 1, then you would need fewer customers. As an example, let’s say your average transaction per customers per year is 2.5 then 968 divided by 2.5 = 387 customers per year.

Now let’s say you estimate your conversation rate to be 3% of turning leads into paying customers with the advertising method you’re going to use, how many leads would need to contact to get 387 customers? Simply divide 387 by 3% and you get 12,909 leads you’re going to need to contact.

Then the question is; is your market going to be big enough to provide you with 12,909 leads for the next year and how many will you need each of the following years?

It may be easier than you think to figure this out. You would do some research and with the aid of the U.S. Census Bureau you can roughly determine whether your plan can be supported by your market or not.

So what do you think? Is it better to build a business plan around what you want in life then see how your business can maybe give you that or is it better to use a sample business plan for a small business where you are probably guessing?

I’d love to help you some more. Please go to http://www.StrategicBusinessSolutionsLLC.com and see what might be available.

Abundance and Wealth

OBTAINING ABUNDANCE AND WEALTH

Abundance of wealth comes in so many forms. We strive for abundance of health, happiness, joy, love and of course, money. When we achieve these forms of abundance, our lives open up in new ways. An abundance of money allows us to create our lifestyle the way we want to live it. Whether that be the big house, the expensive car, the dream vacation, being able to stay at home with our children or perhaps helping out others to reach their dreams. When we are abundant, our lives change. This change can be overwhelming at first, but when we realize the full potential we have to change our lives around us, it becomes very exciting; knowing that our dream is within our own reach!  We have the power to change not only our lives but those around us.  Now that is exciting!

When we believe in ourselves we know and recognize how we all deserve abundance in every form. As we work daily on ourselves , we slowly evolve and abundance becomes more obtainable that ever.  Sometimes, we may find it difficult to focus. However, with a simple 15 minute meditation daily, manifesting our desires become easier.  Exercising our mind through meditation allows our true power within to be brought to the surface.  Whether you are manifesting an abundance of money, health, joy, love or happiness, the process of meditation will bring it about faster. 

Obtaining abundance is the realization that what our minds believe and conceive we therefore will achieve, as Napoleon Hill says it best.

Whales Teach Abundance

Several years ago, I found myself in Southern California, trying to find work and not having much luck. I lived in Panama and had left my Panamanian husband back home, as he did not have a travel visa to enter the USA. As a U.S. citizen with higher earning potential, it made sense for me to return to earn some money. I was house-sitting for some friends in Beverly Hills, and even though it was fun to be surrounded by all the beautiful and expensive homes, it seemed to painfully accentuate the fact that I had very little money and was far from home and my husband.

I looked for work as a movie animal trainer, my career for 20 years previously. But as I had owned an animal actor company myself, I found that other companies viewed me a potential competitor and didn’t want to hire me. I also was trying to start a new business that I was very excited about, but was not having much luck selling my idea to potential clients.

It was a difficult time. I am normally a very positive person and am usually able to keep moving forward and feeling good, but it was not easy with the constant strain of very little money coupled with no luck with the new business on top of the separation from my husband. Not a good combination, new business and no capital to back it with no emotional support system.

I was invited to travel to Northern California to assist in a Dolphin Heart World weekend seminar. Dolphin Heart World is a school taught by Linda Shay and David Rosenthal. It teaches you how to incorporate the life skills that dolphins embody into your human life — skills such as living in joy, flow, movement, abundance, and love. I had completed this training several years earlier. I also thought I could use the trip to explore more contacts for the new business in the San Francisco Bay area while I was up there.

I decided to drive my rental car (which I could barely afford) up the California coastline, something I had never done before. I was looking forward to the adventure of the drive and to getting away from Los Angeles for a few days. I decided to take two days for the trip so I could take my time, follow my intuition, and stop to explore interesting places along the way.

As I started the drive up the coast through Ventura and toward Santa Barbara, I could feel myself relaxing and leaving the stress behind. I drove along the beautiful coastline, constantly looking out at the ocean with hopes of spotting dolphins past the surf line as I drove.

My first stop was Morro bay. I drove through the town and looked at a few shops, and then went out to the beach where three pairs of sea otters were playing in the kelp beds in the bay. I got out of the car and sat and watched them for about an hour. I enjoyed their happy antics and felt thrilled to be able to happen upon them. What an amazing place, where you can take a drive and find sea otters!

I stopped for the night in the cute little town of Cambria. I found a cheap hotel room and then set off exploring in the late afternoon light, and was drawn to a beach where I saw about 20 chubby harbor seals hauled out on the rocks very near shore. A few other people were looking at the harbor seals too. The seals were so calm around the people, you could literally get within five feet of them, and they would look back at you as you looked at them. They seemed to be the wiser of the two species observing each other. The seals appeared very content and relaxed, while we humans kept bouncing around the rocks, trying to get closer to the seals, taking pictures and searching for the same feeling of peace, relaxation and general contentment with their world that they had.

The next morning I continued on up the coast and saw a sign, near San Simeon, for an observation point for elephant seals, so I pulled over to check it out. It was the season for the big bulls to haul out and molt their old skin. It was fascinating to watch these huge animals lie around and hump about to move their massive bodies. It was also quite interesting to listen to their deep guttural voices. I spent several hours watching them, as well as a few young seals with their mothers on the beach. It is so humbling to watch such raw nature in front of you, animals simply living their lives, completely oblivious to the humans watching them and driving past them at high speeds on the nearby highway. We tend to think the world revolves around us, and really we are such a small part of the world, but leave such a huge impact and footprint, and often not a very positive one.

As I left the elephant seals behind to continue their busy lives of sleeping on the beach while their new skin cells replace the old, I headed north along the ever more jagged and impressive coastline. I found it hard to concentrate on driving while passing such raw natural beauty: rugged rock cliffs rising above the Pacific Ocean, so many shades of deep blue and turquoise.

On that particular day it was quite windy, so when I saw some splashing out in the water a few hundred yards offshore, I thought it must be waves crashing into one of the many rock outcroppings. Then I saw the splash again, and something about it just did not seem right for waves hitting a rock. Then I saw a huge white fin. Whales!!

I pulled over immediately and hiked the short distance to the small cliff and watched several humpback whales playing and splashing about on the surface. They were waving their long, white pectoral fins in the air. It was great fun and amazingly, nobody else in the many cars passing by even saw them. It is so typical of us to stay closed off on our own paths, unaware of the incredible beauty of nature that is all around us. All we have to do is widen our awareness, and it’s amazing what we can find — maybe even whales playing just outside our car window!

After about 15 minutes, the whales stopped playing and moved further out to sea. I got back in the car and as I drove further North, I started thinking about abundance.

As I mentioned, I had been struggling with money and trying to come up with a way to earn a decent living that would allow me to stay in Panama with my husband. It is difficult for a Panamanian to come to the US, as tourist visas are not given out freely. The US considers anyone from a Central American country a potential illegal alien, and even being married to a US citizen does not guarantee a visa. Finding good paying work in a third world country is also difficult, especially since I did not have legal status to work in Panama. It seemed a nearly impossible situation.

So with all of this weighing heavy on my mind, I began to think about abundance as I drove. I thought about how in nature, animals do not struggle to find their food. They may work hard to get it, but they rarely struggle to find it. For example, a baleen whale simply has to open his mouth and filter out the water and keep all the krill inside. A deer or antelope simply puts its head down to eat the succulent grasses at its feet. A lion lives surrounded by potential prey. A bird has access to limitless supplies of fruits, seeds or insects, and so on. It seemed that having abundance in the life of the animals was a God given right.

We humans have created a system of money that we use to buy the things we need to survive, like food, housing, clothing, etc. Why was it so easy for the animals that are surrounded by abundance and so difficult for me and so many other humans struggling with a lack of money and abundance?

Then I realized that this concept of limits and barriers to abundance is something that we have created in our own minds. It seems many of us have a limiting belief that says, “Money is hard to come by,” or “You have to work extremely hard to earn enough money,” or for others, “I do not deserve wealth or ease in life.”

One limiting belief I had for many years was “If I do something good for the world, I must suffer for it.” Or, “It is not possible to earn a decent living if you are performing a service to the world.” Most of us have one of these or similar limiting beliefs, whether we are conscious of it or not.

Then an image popped into my head of all the animals being surrounded by all they need to survive, and an invisible brick wall that sat between me and my own natural right to abundance. I saw how our limiting beliefs have created this invisible brick wall, and that most of us have bought into this way of thinking. I also saw that because it is simply a belief system, all we have to do is become aware of how ridiculous this belief is and drop it. All that we need then will flow in beautifully.

I remembered a news report I had heard a few months before, about several American business men lost in the Amazon jungle for several weeks. When they were finally found, they were near death from starvation. This shocked me. I remember thinking, “How can you starve in the tropical jungle?” There is such a wealth of plant species with fruits, berries, animal & insect life everywhere you look. I could not comprehend how these men were starving when food was everywhere around them.

I realized that this was exactly like the invisible brick wall that we have created between us and the flow of abundance. To these American city dwellers, the jungle was so foreign that nothing appeared edible, or they had a fear of eating the unknown. I realized all we have to do is open our eyes to reality. That abundance is all around us to be had and utilized — just as the jungle was all around these unfortunate men, whose limited beliefs and knowledge prevented them from partaking in the abundance that surrounded them.

The planet Earth is designed to provide for all who live on her. Everything has its place and should be in perfect balance with all around it. There are enough resources on the Earth right now for every species, humans included, to have all their basic needs met, such as housing, food, water, clothing, fuel, etc. Unfortunately, so many humans fall into the belief of lack that there is not enough, and those in power hoard the supplies of money, food, oil, etc. This creates a sense of power and control among those who have the resources to buy and hoard the basic necessities. They live with a fear-based mind set, afraid to let go and let everyone have enough.

It is time for all of us to break down that invisible brick wall and open up to allow the flow of abundance that truly is here for each and every one of us. Abundance is a natural state of being.

After this thought process went through my mind, I remembered something that was taught in the Dolphin Heart World School: Whales represent abundance. Whoa! Could all of this line of thinking have been directed to me from the whales I had just seen? Whales are the very definition of abundance. They are the largest animals on the planet. Their massive bodies are abundance incarnate. Many of them eat some of the smallest animals, krill & plankton. Humpback whales, for example, consume between 4,400-5,500 pounds of krill, plankton and small fish each day! If a whale is not open to the flow of abundance, he will starve. They are truly masters of abundance.

The more I thought about the connection between the whales and abundance, the more I was convinced that, indeed, they did help me understand the limiting barriers we humans have created for ourselves. Whether it came from them directly via telepathic communication or my brain made the connection between the whales representing abundance and how humans are not in the flow of abundance really does not matter. Seeing the whales was the catalyst for me to really think about and see how we as humans are actually preventing the natural flow of abundance from entering our lives. I was truly humbled and grateful, and sent a telepathic message to the whales of my deep gratitude for helping me make this connection and see how to open myself up to the flow of abundance.

The rest of my drive went uneventfully and smoothly. I was excited by my realization about abundance. The Dolphin School weekend was fabulous and energizing, as always. I did spend several unsuccessful and frustrating days trying to market my new product in the San Francisco Bay area. After that, I returned back to southern California to continue looking for ways to earn money.

I wish I could tell you that I instantly was able to break down my invisible wall blocking the flow of abundance in my life. But old habits can be hard to let go of. After returning to Los Angeles and continuing to bang my head against the wall (no pun intended) with my new product and looking for work, one day an idea came to me.

When I had been in Panama with my husband, I had started to do tour guiding to my husband’s Emberá Indian village. My husband is a member of the Emberá Indian tribe, who still live in traditional villages in the jungles of Panama. His family lives within a national park and survives through eco-tourism. I had seen tour guides bring groups to the village and thought, I could do that. I have such an intimate connection with the Emberá people, and have the advantage of being a native English speaker, which tourists appreciate. I had contacted tour operators in Panama about being a tour guide and a few of them hired me as a freelance guide for tours, but the work was sporadic and provided nowhere near enough income to survive on.

Then while I was in LA, I heard about a website where I could make a free five-page website. I got lucky with a great domain name, http://www.EmberaVillageTours.com and got to work building the website. I had no money to promote or advertise the site, but I did have plenty of time, so I spent many hours building and then submitting my new website to every search engine I could find.

Within a week, I started receiving emails from people wanting to book tours with me, and sending deposits! Then I received an email from a journalist with the KLM airlines in-flight magazine who wanted to experience and write about Emberá village tours for the magazine to promote the inauguration of their direct flights between Amsterdam and Panama. So I booked her tour, and then booked myself a return flight home to Panama.

The tours were starting to come in, and though the income was still not quite enough to support us, our financial situation was improving. I felt like there was still something missing I needed to ‘get’ about opening myself to the flow of abundance. I did a lot of deep thinking, praying, affirmations, and reading about it.

Then all of a sudden in one week it all finally came together. A friend sent me an email with spiritual insights about abundance that resonated with me. Then two days later, I realized a limiting belief about money from my childhood: I had felt that I did not deserve to have what I wanted and needed in life. I had completely buried this thinking, and was not aware of it until that moment. So I consciously made the choice to let go of that way of thinking, and stated to myself and the Universe, that I DO deserve to have what I want and need in life.

In a self-help seminar I had attended many years before, I had heard that most people have one of two fears: the fear of success, or the fear of failure. At the time I quickly decided I had the fear of failure, and had assumed that was true from that day forward. Thinking about it again with all these new insights, I realized with a shock that, no, I did not have a fear of failure at all. In fact, I had had many failures in my life and survived them just fine. What I really feared was success.

I was floored. I had no idea I held this fear of success, but looking back over my life, I realized that it was true. I had had a number of small successes, but nothing long-term or stable. So I declared to myself and the universe that, as of that moment, I let go of the fear of success. I welcomed success in all my endeavors.

That night I went to bed with these new realizations swirling through my mind, and had lovely dreams of swimming with whales and dolphins. When I woke up, I knew that something huge had shifted. I felt different, lighter, more positive and hopeful.

As I drove out along the Amador causeway, a road that goes between the Bay of Panama and the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, on my way to pick up tour clients, I felt an overwhelming urge to look toward the bay. I felt that I would see dolphins, though I never had seen them there before. The bay is actually quite polluted, so I thought I would more likely see dolphins on the Canal side where the water is much cleaner, but everything told me to look left.

Driving along, I kept looking to the left. As I neared an area where sailboats and yachts are anchored, I saw a dolphin jump completely out of the water! Slowing the car, I saw a small pod of about five dolphins swimming near the boats. I knew that this was the dolphins’ way of acknowledging and affirming all the inner work I had done regarding abundance. That is the one and only time I have ever since seen dolphins in the Bay of Panama.

From that point, the tours and customers kept flowing in. Websites like Trip Advisor were getting great reviews of my tours, and word-of-mouth referrals kept me extremely busy with Emberá village tours.

Now, I also lead whale and dolphin watching and swim trips in the Pearl Islands and Isla Coiba, here in Panama.

At our lowest point, my husband & I, literally had eight cents between us, and were living in $10 a night hotels (the kind that hookers use for their business). I had sold my car and all my furniture, including family heirlooms, for us to have money to eat and live.

Now, we have more than enough work and have rented a lovely home in a very nice area near the Panama Canal, with the jungle in the back yard, a car bought and paid for, and we just recently purchased a 12-passenger van to carry our tour clients. Life is good.

If I had not seen the whales that fateful day, I might still be stuck behind that invisible brick wall, instead of accepting and opening myself to receive the natural and deserved flow of abundance that this world has to offer all of its creatures — animal, plant and even humans.

Thank you, whales!