Creating a business plan

The following post is from forbes.com writer Patrick Hull.

Bio – Patrick Hull

I am a serial entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience launching successful companies, including GetLoaded.com, a freight matching service for long-haul truckers that revolutionized the transportation sector. As a business owner and investor, I have financial interests in more than 30 companies which span a variety of industries, including transportation, technology, entertainment, real estate, energy, insurance, and mobile applications. I believe it’s important for professionals to be strong community stewards and serve as mentors for the next generation of entrepreneurs. From Richmond, VA, I’m also active in philanthropic efforts throughout the United States and across the world.

[Previously,] I discussed the components of a strong business plan and why entrepreneurs should create them, regardless of their venture.

I’ve had experience both developing business plans and reviewing them for potential investments. Although an idea is what often gets investors interested, a business plan is definitely needed to get financial support from them.

The simple act of writing down your idea and outlining how the business will operate can be helpful to ensure that you communicate your vision and that everyone is on the same page. It also helps you benchmark and check your progress as the company grows.

A business plan is crucial to get support for your vision because it shows that you have thought through an idea clearly and aren’t just winging it.

For example, I once wrote an entire business plan with a business partner on paper towels. We recognized an opportunity, but had to write it down and test the idea to make sure it would work (we didn’t have any paper handy, although that didn’t stop us). The plan was just for us, but we still had had to see if the vision, the financials, and the strategy were sound. We created that company and it went on to gross millions of dollars a month. In other words, your business plan doesn’t have to be some manicured document in order to make it successful.

Now with this example keep in mind that I didn’t need to raise capital for this company and I had existing expertise in this industry. I’m certainly not advocating people draft business plans on paper towels! However, even with capital and expertise, it was still important to write out our idea and create a business plan. Otherwise, the company could have lacked direction and structure.

Your business plan should be clear and provide a roadmap for your company. Without a plan, you’ll find it more difficult to communicate your vision and see a path to growth.

Here are five other business plan writing tips I’ve found useful during my career:

Get rid of the fluff: You should always be as concise as possible and remove any filler language. Even if it sounds nice, fluff gets you nowhere and wastes space. Plus, no investors want to read a long business plan. Get to the point quickly.

Be realistic: You should be honest with yourself in your business plan, which is why it’s important to consider challenges and opportunities. If you’ve got a strong idea, let it stand on its merit.

Show you’re conservative: Everyone says they’re “conservative” in their business plans, but most aren’t. You should be. Use examples to demonstrate that you’re conservative in your approach and projections.

Visuals are good: Whenever possible, and without overdoing it, use visuals in your business plan. Graphs, charts, and images can help bring your concept to life. Plus, it breaks up the text and helps a plan flow better.

Be creative: Include a creative element in your business plan so you stand out and grab someone’s attention. You can use templates, but don’t look identical to a template. Do something unique to make the plan yours.

If you need help writing a business plan (the financial information can be complicated), here’s a guide from SCORE, a nonprofit association that helps entrepreneurs and small business owners, to a number of business plan templates.

 

Lean Business Practices

Blog Credit goes to – Bank of Ireland Group PLC – https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/what-does-lean-mean/

Lean is a term frequently used in the business world, but what exactly does it mean? Simply, lean can be described as creating greater value for the consumer while using fewer resources.

A business adopting lean principles will try to eliminate waste and increase operational efficiency. According to Womack and Jones, there are five principles of lean thinking:

Specific value as perceived by the customer: When it comes to being lean, value is defined by the customer. Many organizations fail to observe a product from the customer’s viewpoint. Products should be created to suit customers’ needs; for example, organizations may need to re-examine the product itself if demand is poor rather than changing marketing strategy. Simply put, when creating a product, make sure that you are addressing customers’ needs and giving them what they want.

Identifying the value stream: The value stream is the entire lifecycle of a product from the origin of the raw material/idea to the finished product. If an organization examines the entire process, it will almost always reveal a large amount of waste (this is known as process re-engineering). If an organization wishes to become truly lean, the value stream must be analyzed and improved.

Making the value flow through the value stream: For the value to flow then waste needs to be eliminated. If the process fails to move forward, then this can be considered waste. A value-stream needs to be created where every aspect of production is completely synchronized with all the other elements. A proper structure, therefore, needs to be put in place to make sure that the entire production stream flows efficiently, thus eliminating waste.

Pulling the value from the value stream: Rather than pushing the product to the customer, you allow the customer to pull the product from you. This pull approach ensures that nothing is created ahead of time and facilitates a much more synchronized flow. To achieve this greater flexibility is required as well as a very short cycle of design and production.

Striving for perfection: An organization that is “going for lean” is striving for perfection; however, this is an ongoing process. Getting value to flow faster will always expose hidden waste that is present in the value stream. What becomes evident is that there is no end to the process of reducing all the waste factors such as time, cost and mistakes. The company must always strive for perfection.

Member Spotlight – Dallas School District

Dallas School District serves a large geographic area of nearly 250 square miles. The students enrolled in the school system represent nearly half of all students served by Polk County schools. A staff of over 300 licensed and classified people work in six schools and one administrative building. The District also sponsors Luckiamute Valley Charter School (formerly Pedee School and Bridgeport Elementary) as well as Dallas Community School, another Charter School in Dallas.

They believe the school is one of the major institutions through which our cultural, political and social heritage is transmitted from generation to generation and the means by which the members of our society are prepared intellectually to evaluate and control cultural, political and social changes.

The primary purpose of the Dallas School District is to provide opportunities for the full intellectual development of each child. The child has the responsibility to himself and society to purposely pursue the educational opportunities provided him. Dallas School District has a shared responsibility with parents and with other institutions and agencies for the social, physical, and emotional growth and development of the individual child.

It is an obligation to our children, community, and country to institute those programs necessary to fulfill the education needs of our children and to provide the facilities, materials, technology, and staff required to do so.

The School District has partnered with the Chamber by being on the board, sponsoring business-centric events, working on business solutions pertaining to workforce development.

Dallas School District is working hard to shape the future, participate with them.

https://www.dallas.k12.or.us/

Member Spotlight – MAK Grills

MAK Grills is a family and veteran owned, US-based company rooted in over 25 years of metalworking and fabrication experience. An acronym for Matt, Alex & Kal, MAK Grills got its start from our desire to create a pellet grill that measured up to our high quality standards. We wanted to create a pellet grill company that truly put quality and customer service squarely where they should be, at the core of who we are.

Upon discovering pellet grilling, we instantly loved the idea of precision-control and genuine smoke flavor, but we had long been disappointed by models that kept falling short of what we knew a pellet grill could be. At MAK, our grills have been designed without cutting any corners to be nothing short but best-in-class, reaching the peak balance of temperature control and real smoke flavor.

We are often asked, “Why do your units cost more than most of your competitors?” The simple answer is, their units are built overseas and have a fraction of the features found on MAK Grills.

The saying, “You get what you pay for” has never been truer than right now. In a world filled with disposable products, MAK Grills stands out as a manufacturer that cares about building long-lasting products that customers can enjoy for many years. Many of our grill components are made of stainless steel, so they won’t rust, and will last for years to come. We design our grills to exceed your expectations for a quality product.

https://makgrills.com/

Red, White, BOOM! Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day 2018, also known as Fourth of July, is a federal holiday observed yearly on July fourth. It is the anniversary of the publication of the declaration of independence of the United States of America from Great Britain in 1776.

Dallas will once again be celebrating the Fourth of July in a big way; Red, White, BOOM! We invite you to join us Wednesday for a spectacular day and evening for family fun as we recognize our service men and women with a beer garden, vendors, non-profit hosted games, field games, live band, a DJ, food trucks, and of course the first-rate fireworks show at dusk. The celebration will continue on July 6th with the sanctioned BBQ Competition Smoke of the Dragon!

All activities will be held at the Roger Jordan Community Park. Dallas Fire and EMS Department will light off the show from LaCreole Middle School. Citizens are encouraged to grab their chairs, blankets and family for the celebration. Come down early to pick your spot!

If you are headed to Keizer to celebrate this Fourth of July be sure to pick up your ticket to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 12th Annual Patriotic Tribute baseball game. With his family in attendance, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes will Thank, Honor, and Salute the “Ultimate Sacrifice” of Fallen Marine, Sergeant Ian Tawney of Dallas.  This annual salute to fallen heroes will honor one of our own local heroes.  Tickets may be close to sold out but check for yourself by clicking here.

Dallas School District #2

Dallas School District serves a large geographic area of nearly 250 square miles. The students enrolled in the school system represent nearly half of all students served by Polk County schools. A staff of 169 licensed and 152 classified people work in six schools and one administrative building. The District also sponsors Luckiamute Valley Charter School (formerly Pedee School and Bridgeport Elementary)

They believe the school is one of the major institutions through which our cultural, political and social heritage is transmitted from generation to generation and the means by which the members of our society are prepared intellectually to evaluate and control cultural, political and social changes.

The primary purpose of Dallas School District is to provide opportunities for the full intellectual development of each child. The child has the responsibility to himself and society to purposely pursue the educational opportunities provided him. Dallas School District has a shared responsibility with parents and with other institutions and agencies for the social, physical, and emotional growth and development of the individual child.

It is an obligation to our children, community and country to institute those programs necessary to fulfill the education needs of our children and to provide the facilities, materials, technology, and staff required to do so.

Dallas School District is working hard to shape the future.

https://www.dallas.k12.or.us/

The Outward Mindset

An outward mindset will greatly impact how we negotiate our world and the impact we will have. An outward mindset helps us to see the world as it is and not how we imagine it to be. An outward mindset doesn’t come naturally though. We have to consciously change how we think about the world and about others.

In The Outward Mindset, the Arbinger Institute reports that “the biggest lever for change is not a change in self-belief but a fundamental change in the way one sees and regards one’s connections with and obligations to others.”

Moving from an inward mindset to an outward mindset is more than a surface adjustment or behavioral change alone. It requires a change in how we see and think about others. How we see and respond to others is not so much about them as it is a reflection of what is going on inside of us. We often fixate on other’s shortcomings so we don’t have to deal with our own.

Arbinger has discovered that those who consistently work with an outward mindset follow a pattern. They:

· See the needs, objectives, and challenges of others (Create opportunities for people to see each other so they can begin to talk.)

· Adjust their efforts to be more helpful to others (“Real helpfulness can’t be made into a formula. To be outward doesn’t mean that people should adopt this or that prescribed behavior. Rather, it means that when people see the needs, challenges, desire, and humanity of others, the most effective ways to adjust their efforts occur to them in the moment. When they see others as people, they respond in human and helpful ways.”)

· Measure and hold themselves accountable for the impact of their work on others (“Measuring one’s impact requires nothing but a willingness to stay in regular conversations with others about whether they feel one’s efforts are helping them or not.”)

An outward-mindset begins with you. “While the goal in shifting mindsets is to get everyone turned toward each other, accomplishing this goal is possible only if people are prepared to turn their mindsets toward others with no expectation that others will change their mindsets in return. This capability—to change the way I see and work with others regardless of whether they change—overcomes the biggest impediment to mindset change: the natural, inward-mindset inclination to wait for others to change before doing anything different oneself.” This of course, is true leadership.

The chamber office is carrying this book. Stop by and purchase your copy today to learn how you and your organization can benefit from building an “outward mindset”.

Dallas Area Visitor Center

Introducing the 2019/20 Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce Directory and Visitors Guide!

This publication is full of resources for residents, visitors and businesses alike. This directory will be distributed locally, regionally and nationally. Our national and regional focus is on chambers of commerce, visitors centers, hotels, information centers and transit stations and airports.

 

Locally, we will put several copies in our area doctor and dentist offices, restaurants, hotels, retail businesses and local attractions.

We will be delivering throughout the next couple weeks. If you’d like yours right away, please feel free to swing by the office and pick up a stack!

See you soon!

Dallas Area Visitors Center

Last week, the Dallas City Council approved the city’s budget which included them keeping the entirety of the Transient Lodging Taxes. This means that the City will no longer contract with the Dallas Area Visitors Center for marketing of the Dallas area.

So, what’s next for the Visitors Center? Simple, we are going to continue to do the next right thing! This means we will continue to work collaboratively with the City in marketing efforts and in the promotion of city events. We will continue to be involved in other civic organizations and put time into providing the best information possible to Dallas residents, businesses and visitors alike.

Most importantly, the Visitors Center is going to strengthen our focus on drawing tourism to our great city. Identifying and leveraging Dallas’s assets combined with a strong marketing plan will drive people to see what Dallas has to offer. Tourism has a wide range of economic impacts. Tourists in Dallas will contribute to sales, profits, jobs, tax revenues and overall income in our area. The most direct effects from tourism occur in the primary tourism sectors; lodging, restaurants, transportation, entertainment and retail trade.

Simply put, the Dallas Area Visitors Center is going to continue working for you!

https://www.exploredallasoregon.org/

Dallas Retirement Village – Evy Nickel

Evy Nickel, a resident at Dallas Retirement Village Apartments, is a designer and innovator by training and osmosis. Some years ago a friend, who was ill, asked her to make something to keep him warm. Rather than the traditional blanket or scarf, Evy took it up a notch and made him a monkey! Stitched with love and filled with rice, these adorable companions can be heated in the microwave and provide gentle warm comfort.

Over the years, Evy made many monkeys that she gave to friends or contributed to non-profits for markets and bazaars. A group from her church would gather and make monkeys for hospice patients who gained comfort just having them to hold. Eventually, Evy obtained a patent for her design, started naming each monkey individually, and called her endeavor MONKEY BUSINESS ADOPTION AGENCY. The monkeys were made in two sizes – a larger one the “caregiver” and a smaller one the “buddy’.

With her move to DRV and the chore of clearing out a large house, she needed to decide what to do with her collection of materials to make many additional monkeys. Her decision was as innovative as only Evy can be… she gifted everything to the Dallas Retirement Village Foundation to use as a fundraiser. Residents were recruited to help sew, stuff and name monkeys, and the marketing began. Because all the materials and labor are donated, 100% of the sales go to Dallas Retirement Foundation’s Scholarship Fund. Ever since these adorable little companions showed up, they have been flying off the shelf!

If you would like to adopt one of these unique monkeys, they can be found in the gift shop of the Health Center at Dallas Retirement Village: 377 NW Jasper Street and also on campus in the main lobby of the Lodge Clubhouse and Village Apartments. If you take one of these lil cuties home, please know that you are not only getting a warm companion, but you are also helping the Dallas Retirement Village staff continue their education to become better caregivers and comforters.

https://www.dallasretirementvillage.com/