Sunday, May 30, 2010

Business Plans That Count: Stay Current!

A business plan is beneficial only if it is updated frequently to reflect the current changes in your business. A constant review and study of your projections against what actual real sales in your company helps to refine and adjust your numbers. Use the business results to analyze and make changes that are working well for the company. Then you can implement real changes and make decisions that give you a competitive edge and a new outlook for a more profitable business.

A professional business plan is a reflection into your business for investors or lender’s to judge and qualify your company for potential success. The Plan should be concise and run no more than 50 pages in length, excluding much of the supporting documents, which may be irrelevant to current business. If you are seeking an investor or loan from a lender simply include only the supporting information that of immediate interest to your the direct person examining and reviewing the business plan.

Keep the other supporting documents on file where they will be available on short notice. The supporting documents could be: distributor letters; Presale letters, Supporting Financial Documents, Financial Schedules, Insurance Letters, lease contracts, Projection, letters of interest from buyers, distributors and others.

Make your business plan presentable by binding it professionally yourself or at a local printer. Keep it simple and use traditional black, blue or brown formal covers. Make individual copies for each lender or investor then, number each proposal, recording each lender and investor name, business name, address, phone number, date of submission.

Keep a wish list of all your investor contacts and track your list with care.
You want your plan to be read by only qualified investors and lenders. It should be very carefully distributed. Try to learn as much as you can about the investor so they don’t waste your time. Research the investor and his investments so when you make a cold call you are prepared so you can decide if it is worth meeting the investor, mailing out the business plan or simply not doing anything. Be careful and polite on the phone and ask them why would they be interested in your category of business? For example, an IT firm will usually not invest in an advertising agency. Take it from me their thinking or model does not match up well with an advertising agency model or approach to business.

Look for businesses you can align with that have an interest in you and your business. Do not give out too many copies at once. You don’t want to expose your business plan to the marketplace at once. A non-disclosure agreement should accompany your business plan for some level of privacy for your business. If you are turned down for financing, be sure to retrieve your business plan. Find out why they turned you down and on what basis. This may help you polish the plan. Also remember the plan must be updated while you are raising funds! KEEP IT CURRENT!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Marketing Ted Gibson's Art Auction!

I wanted to update everyone on Ted Gibson's Art Auction and let you know we were profitable. The auction ran for 3.5 hours. The event was a fun and we established new customers for the store.

We attribute our success to Email and our direct mail campaign with a customer list that included collectors, artists, designers, interior designers and friends. This proved to be the heart of our promotion. Facebook kept all our friends updated and built a strong new sales base. I say this because our list were primarily made up of artists who sell their works and need framing for exhibitions all the time. We blogged and initiated website postings about the auction on three targeted national art websites. While we did not receive business from them we did obtain phone calls and queries for future business.

The print ads helped us to brand the store and increase awareness of the Ted Gibson name in Los Angeles. The store has been in business for eighty years and is a word of mouth business. I found this out because we also distributed flyers at several locations and door hangers in zip coded areas where there is a market for art and antiquities. I ran into people and they would comment on the store and tell me about Ted Gibson's great technique for high quality and hand made frames at a sound price.

The print ads established the brand for new customers since we thought out the single most important thing to say about the business. Planning for the campaign was insightful and an understanding of the business and market was clear. We are now building a brand that is changing in the mind of young artists and collectors.

The point to all this is that with a small budget marketing can be accomplished with success and creativity for many retailers and small businesses. Please call me to discuss marketing needs and business growth for your company. If we were successful in the arts in this depressed market I know we can help other business categories achieve greater success in 2010.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ted Gibson Inc., Art Auction!

Before I post more information on Marketing and Business Plans. I would like to introduce you to our client Ted Gibson Inc., gallery, frame and auction center. We are supporting the company with marketing channels on the Internet and advertising through print and and an art auction. All my life, I wanted to be a part of an auction and especially in the arts. Now my dream has come true! Richard Gibson will be auctioning one hundred fifty original works of art and antiquities. The store is a step into the past and many customers have been visiting since the early 40's. Many of their clients are from around the nation, which includes museums, galleries, decorators, collectors and artists. There will be some great art work affordable to the discerning eye.

The historical art and frame store Ted Gibson Inc., is on Seventh Street in downtown Los Angeles and has carried treasures of art for over seventy years. Ted Gibson restores and frames entrusted customers art treasures of paintings, sculpture, watercolors, engravings and prints.

Many visitors can get lost at the store just perusing the layers of work displayed throughout the 9,000 square foot area with workshops and a gallery which is a feast for the eyes. The front of the store is filled with a variety of artwork samples; the walls are lined with over 1,200 sample frames and original paintings. A scent of varnish and sawdust fills the air and when you speak with the craftsmen you feel a sense of pride from their handcrafted work.

We are not marketing just any auction and you will see why if you attend the Auction on September 27th. Our auction combines the exquisite taste of art work by Richard's father with the unique Ted Gibson style of framing. Each piece is surrounded by the unique attention paid to best treat each piece. The works have been treated with individual attention, meticulous care and exquisite framing techniques. Thy will have something for everyone because they want to share the world of art with all. The pieces vary in style and an eclectic mix will be auctioned for the varied taste of our customers.



2866 West Seventh Street,
Los Angeles, California 90005
For additional Information:
Richard Gibson
Mark J. Carreno
310. 869.3360.

Good Deals - some asking prices start at $20.00

For C&C Associates the thrust of our marketing promotion has been extensive and we have used multiple cost effective marketing channels as follows: direct mail campaign; print advertising; Internet social networking; Email Distribution, posters, website development, flyers, posters (street and retail distribution) for targeted markets. Our goal is to reach artists, collectors, designers, museums and and gallery owners. We have accomplished this task on a tight budget and on time! I will let you all know the result after September 27th. So please come on down to the auction if your in Downtown Los Angeles and looking for an old world Los Angeles art experience!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Business Plan


What goes in a business plan?

The body of the business plan can be divided into four distinct sections:
1) The description of the business
2) The marketing plan
3) The financial management plan
4) The management plan
5) Addenda to the business plan should include the executive summary, supporting documents and financial projections


Provide a detailed description of your business. An excellent question to ask yourself is: "What business am I in?" In answering this question include your products, market and services as well as a thorough description of what makes your business unique.

The business description section is divided into four primary sections. Section 1 actually describes your business, Section 2 the product or service you will be offering, Section 3 Marketing and Research and Section 4 Financials.

1. Business Description

A cover sheet goes before the description. It includes the name, address and telephone number of the business and the names of all principals. In the description of your business, describe the unique aspects and how or why they will appeal to consumers.

When describing your business, generally you should explain:

1. Legal - business structure: proprietorship, partnership, corporation. The licenses or permits you will need.
2. Business type: merchandizing, manufacturing or service
3. Define your product or service is
4. Is it a new independent business, a takeover, an expansion, a franchise?
5. How your business will be profitable. Explain the growth opportunities?
6. Research and Marketing
7. Financial Current and Projections

The description of your business should clearly identify goals and objectives and it should clarify why you are, or why you want to be, in business.

THE BUSINESS PLAN - 2. Product/Service

Try to describe the benefits of your goods and services from your customers' perspective. Successful business owners know or at least have an idea of what their customers want or expect from them. This type of anticipation can be helpful in building customer satisfaction and loyalty. And, it certainly is a good strategy for beating the competition or retaining you competitiveness. Describe:

1. What you are selling.
2. How your product or service will benefit the customer.
3. Which products/services are in demand; if there will be a steady flow of cash.
4. What is different about the product or service your business is offering.

Coming up next Marketing!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Some Basics to Consider

The business plan will allow you to think out your basics and allow you to build your company daily without hesitation. Weather you are seeking financing, expansion, sales growth, investments there are basic considerations that you need for your future.

Considerations for the Plan

1. Define you needs and goals
1. Develop a strong management plan
2. Develop realistic sales forecasts & projections
3. Understand your market and the competitive advantages
4. Define marketing strategies
5. Develop a competitive pricing structure sales strategies
6. Research your competition
7. Know your ROI
8. Plan for five years
9. Update licensing, certification and insurances
10. Define alliances

Getting into Action

In today’s competitive market it’s important to build new strategies that define your marketing focus. All companies need to develop a Strategic Marketing Plan company, which includes the Internet and sales strategies in your planning. Invest in development of the company with marketing and you will grow. Marketing and planning will strengthen your business plans.
I am a strong believer of organically growing your sales first so you can enhance and expand with new sales. This allows your company to stand on its own two feet. The reason for this is bankers want to see growth and stability before they make a loan or for investors to provide you with equity. You may have a great idea but if you can’t sell it then how good is it to a bank or to an investor.


I am going to start you off with the first part of a plan. Developing a plan is like making a film. You create in ways that match the process best. Take the financials those are going to flow into all areas of your plan. So working with them at the beginning will allow you to drop them in the executive summary, marketing and sales areas with greater ease. The first and most important is understanding your service and product in context to the market. While your management team and leadership is your survival. Defining the team and positioning them is a most critical factor.

Below is an outline for a starting your business plan. Use this model as a guide when developing the business plan for your business. The elements in your plan share a common goal -“SUCCESS FOR THE COMPANY.”

Elements of a Business Plan

1. Cover sheet
2. Table of contents
3. Executive summary (Statement of purpose)
4. Offering memorandum
5. Table of contents

I. The Business
A. Description of business
B. Marketing
C. Competition
D. Operating procedures
E. Management
F. Business insurance

II. Financial Data
A. Loan applications
B. Capital equipment and supply list
C. Balance sheet
D.AR, AP’s, P&L’s
D. Breakeven analysis
E. Pro-forma income projections (profit & loss statements)
- Five-year summary
- Detail by month, first year
- Detail by quarters, second, third, fourth and fifth year
- Assumptions upon which projections were based
F. Pro-forma cash flow
- Follow guidelines for letter E.

III. Supporting Documents
- Tax returns of principals for last three years
- Personal financial statement (all banks have these forms)
- In the case of a franchised business, a copy of franchise contract and all supporting documents provided by the franchisor
- Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building
- Copy of licenses and other legal documents
- Copy of resumes of all principals
- Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Pain Can Go Away!

For companies that have been in business for three or more years. The future of a sound business lies in good planning and increased sales results. In today’s market we need to plan to survive!

While you plan to survive and build revenues the leadership of the company must live up to those goals almost daily. The first step by management is to realize and accept business flaws. From a clear understanding of your flaws and with clear business goals your business can define its needs for growth. Goals for a marketing sales campaign, increasing advertising to support sales, building a strong sales force and projecting sound financial accountability are key steps for building and growing your company. These are absolutely necessary for competitive growth especially in an environment where downsizing and financial insecurity exists. This can heal and build your business and be a guiding light for future business.

The first step for companies is to understand their goals, to define their manpower and understand the dynamic environment they working within. The next step is to write a business plan and to map out a clear path for growth.  This may include a restructuring, financing or equity investment or down sizing your company.  

To understand this, ask yourself,  How do I get there? What do I do? Which employees do I keep? Who should I Hire? Who should I layoff? How much of an investment will I need? Is it debt or equity? Can I meet the demands of a loan, line of credit or an investor? How will marketing and planning support my business growth? Do I need different licensing to expand?What contracts do I need to secure for growth?  These are all questions I ask myself daily and that can be resolved with a business and marketing plan. I have developed plans for myself and other businesses for over 30 years and they inevitable cover the essential business points for success!

The business and marketing plan allows me to prioritize and meet my goals and objectives regularly.  My success is almost intuitive from the empirical existence of a plan. The plan is not a final document it is a plan so it continues to change and grow as does your business. 

In today's business environment where change is inevitable and pricing dynamic. The costs and pricing structures must be defined and modified to adhere to market changes. I am advocate of pricing built on quality service while adhering to customary supply chain formulas and service pricing as you grow, follow and lead in the marketplace! 

In my next Blog I will highlight the Impact on sales and your companies growth potential while allocating marketing expenditures.  For more information please feel free to contact me to discuss your potential growth!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

How Business Plans Count!

How Business Plans Count!

This blog is designed to provide information on business planning and marketing for your company on a regular basis. The context by which you start or run a company is the first step to success. In my analysis, that context requires framing the business in a language that your people in the leadership positions understand. This will make it easier for them to buy into the plan. It’s an understanding of the company's premise, as it exists in the world. But it’s also a way in which they can see it develop while it creates a future for them. When they buy in, it must be understood by all parties…company leaders and staff alike…that there is a true personal opportunity for everyone and it is achieved through personal growth. The central leadership of the company, as well as consultants, must be involved in the practice of writing any plan to ensure the objective and empirical thought. Without the leadership's involvement there is no commitment to the plan, and the growth of the company will flounder. With this involvement you have a chance for success, as everyone is running the same race in the right direction!

Currently I manage business affairs, people and operations for two growing companies. One is a security firm and the other is an IT/design services company. As different in services as they can be, they both require business skills that are transferable. I came from the school of hard knocks, learning by my mistakes and successes. I have been working with start-ups, new ideas, creative solutions and pioneering new businesses while making money for others for years. Along the way, I was advised that I needed to focus and listen to others who were more successful than I. Trying to find my way, I looked at business from many different vantage points. I would ask myself, “How does my client have so much real estate, business, prestige and wealth?”

What I concluded was that I lacked capital. The reality, however, is that my clients did too, for the most part, when they started. I soon learned that I needed to have a strong understanding of myself, with a greater sense of insight, knowledge and a good sense for discernment of opinions and facts. I needed to understand how other people looked at problems that led to sound business judgments. A common practice I learned from them was to FOCUS and keep on track with daily goals and continue to refine them while meeting the demands of a dynamic work environment. It may sound easy, but it’s not. That is why business plans and market planning are needed…so you can hit the mark when daily business distractions may impair your direction.

Another factor is CHANGE and for me that challenges my world, as I know it. I have to evaluate the hard questions that come up daily. I have to look at my fears and weaknesses, then confront them. All of these behaviors and feelings have carried into all parts of my life. So the most difficult challenge is to CHANGE myself and to manifest those changes into the company's activities. Seeing that very one thing in my life allowed me a greater sense of my self-worth. With that very basic principle I realized that I must be responsible for myself in order to achieve certain goals and make sure each day that I am clear about those goals. It was up to others to decide to accept or disagree with me.

I have lived a life of principled beliefs, which are founded in truth, honesty and integrity. Since that time, my business life has flourished. I believe your business can flourish, too, with the right context, change, planning, focus and good values. This will enable the company to win and grow, ultimately achieving greater revenues.