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.

 

Van Well Building Supply – Member Spotlight

Van Well Building Supply Co. has been in business since November, 1976.  Carl and Patty Van Well took over the business, formerly called Povey Builder Supply and Povey Oil Co. The company has seen much growth and several expansions over the past 40 years.  Carl attributes much of their success to the knowledgeable and personable employees and to the loyalty of their customers.  As a member of the Western Building Materials trade association, Van Wells has kept abreast of the newest trends, products and social and political issues that effect their industry.  Being involved in the community, through membership in the Dallas Chamber of Commerce and by supporting many local and regional charities, has also been an important part of doing business.

In April on 2018 Carl and Patty sold the business that they poured their hearts into so that they could retire.  The company is now operated by Gold Beach Lumber Yard.  New owner Ryan Ringer and his team are excited to be part of the community and continue the legacy that Carl and Patty have established.

They look forward to having you in the store and to helping you with your project, from start to finish.

Allstate Agency – Tomas Patton – Member Spotlight

The Tomas Patton Agency lives an works along side you in Dallas, so they know firsthand what living and driving is like in and around Dallas –  whether you’re commuting to work, heading back home or getting out of town for the weekend.  As a local Allstate agency, and local residents ourselves, you can count on them to understand how to help you protect yourself – and your belongings – from cold days to rainy weather.  They believe in treating people with respect, whether you’re calling them for the first time or have worked with them for years.  You can count on the Tomas Patton Agency to be there when you have questions about your insurance needs or if you need to file a claim on your home or auto.

Tomas told us, “Customers are the most important focus for what we do, and the agency is here to help them choose the insurance coverage that fits their life.”

So whether you are located in Dallas or any where surrounding the Dallas Area and are seeking a review of your insurance, call Tomas and his team see what they can help you with regarding auto, home, renters, motorcycle, life, ATV, boat or business insurance products.

2 National Holidays Today you should pay attention to

There’s a common misperception that Chamber of Commerce people don’t like to have fun.  They’re stuffy and just really like the good ol’ boys club.  Well I thought I’d attempt to prove otherwise.  There are some weird holidays out there every year.  And some are worth celebrating and enjoying.  We even think that by enjoying these holidays you can support your local economy and increase your business acumen.

National Double Cheeseburger Day – go get yourself a BURGER!  It’s a requirement on a day like this.  Stop in at Washington Street Steakhouse & Pub, West Valley Taphouse, Spirit Mountain Casino or Blue Garden Restaurant and enjoy one of their delicious burgers and wash it down with a milkshake, soda or craft brew.  My mouth is watering already.

National Online Learning Day – time to add to your knowledge.  Today is the day you register for an online class of your choice through Chemeketa Community College, Western Oregon University or SBDC.  There’s so much learning to do you just have to decide what you want to learn next and do it in the comfort of your home.  Homework in your pajamas, been there done that, bought the T-Shirt.

See, we like fun.

8 Reasons You Should Care About Sustainable Tourism

By Beth Winchester of Visit.org

…No matter where we may go, we should remember we have the ability to participate in Sustainable Tourism.

What Is Sustainable Tourism?

Sustainable tourism is, in a nutshell, the concept of visiting a place as a tourist and trying to only make a positive impact on that location’s environment, society and economy.

That largely means supporting locally managed businesses and participating in activities that do not harm the environment or exploit local culture.

Benefits Of Sustainable Tourism

You may be wondering why you should care.

I mean, it’s obvious why you should care; but, for in terms of concrete benefits, there are many. Some include:

1. It benefits the local community

Offering not just employment to local residents but through non-profits, when you explore as a sustainable tourist by frequently locally owned and operated businesses your money goes directly back into the community.

This means that your business as a tourist brings in profits that will help the local community stay profitable long after you have left.

2. It helps to conserve precious natural resources

Earth’s many unique ecosystems are made the way they are for specific reasons, and they are not renewable.

Any chance we have to avoid damaging it, we should take.

You can take part in conservationist tourist activities by first avoiding support of any programs that hurt the land or animals; for instance, the majority of zoos and any landscaped parks or recreation areas that have torn down natural resources in order to find their space.

There are tours and parks that enable the original land to be preserved and enjoyed, so you should look for those.

3. It gives tourists a more honest look into the local area

By supporting locally-run tour guides and businesses, what you learn from them will be the truth about their culture and environment, from people who live there.

You won’t be fed the traditional scripted tourist-friendly information, but rather will get a first-hand glimpse into life as a local and learn to love the community for what it is.

Some places to look for these types of tours and experiences include Visit.org (the author of this post and a social impact business), NYC Photo Journeys (Epicure & Culture’s New York-based tour company), Grassroots Volunteering (volunteering) and Omprakash (volunteering), to name a few.

4. Sustainable Tourism isn’t just about creating better places to visit

It’s about creating better places to live.

Traditional tourist-heavy areas rely on tourist money pouring into their hospitality and services to keep their local economy afloat.

There are two possibilities as to how that scenario plays out.

  • The first option: Heavy tourist traffic — often called “overtourism”— will deplete the natural beauty and culture of the area, leaving a ghost of the original place for locals to live in.
  • The second option: The tourism industry helps to maintain the natural land and culture of the area, while also employing and empowering locals who get to live in their community year-round without having to change it all for tourists.

Sustainable tourism practices help ensure that the second scenario is the one we find ourselves in.

An easy way to support local residents is by patronizing independent hostelshomestays or AirBnB locations.

Hostels are often run by locals, and don’t take up as much real estate as hotel chains do. AirBnB — a system in which people rent out a part or all of their house or apartment for travelers — is definitely run by locals, and is often a way for individuals to supplement their income through the influx of tourists.

Both of these options are often cheaper than hotels as well.

Always use good judgement when choosing a place to stay, but take these options into consideration rather than assume you should stay at another big brand chain.

5. It can help avoid the displacement and resettlement of local communities

This is unfortunately often a consequence of tourism coming to a location previously untouched by major businesses.

For instance, in the past when a new beach town is “discovered” by tourists — typically from the First World — major hotel and food companies come in to benefit from the influx of potential customers.

They don’t tend to care about the survival of local life that was there before.

Sustainable tourism does, and it advocates for finding the best combination of exciting and profitable tourism and the continued existence of indigenous communities.

You can make efforts to be sustainable in this way by not supporting programs that exploit the local culture for entertainment or tourist photo ops.

Do some research to discover if the program or workshop you’re signing up for is being run by genuine residents or members of a certain culture or subculture, and not a larger outside corporation.

6. It prepares us for the future

The traditional tourism industry, with its very large eco-footprint — supporting heavy vehicle traffic, traveling and construction of large hotels — is not sustainable.

Travel will become more expensive, and rarer – especially the experience of going to unique lands and cultural areas.

Every major tourist destination may start to conform and look the same, contorting themselves to offer the same services and experiences.

But every community isn’t supposed to be the same, and not every experience should be either.

Sustainable tourism ensures that one-of-a-kind communities retain that which makes them special.

A simple way to be more environmentally conscious while traveling is to use bikes as well as our own feet as transportation.

At the very least, use them for short distances when possible.

This helps cut down on the air pollution in the area, which is often magnified by the throngs of tourists.

7. It is our duty to follow the “campsite rule”

Leave the person or places you encounter in at least the same state, if not a better one, than it was in before you.

Tourism is supposed to encourage and make feasible the experience of visiting the rest of the world and stepping into someone else’s shoes for a bit.

It isn’t supposed to grind the small communities down to a pulp, in favor of large tourism hubs.

8. Supporting sustainable tourism is a responsible thing to do

You lose nothing by taking part in it, and you get a guarantee that the beautiful forest, mountain town or pristine beach you spent a few delightful days in will still be thriving far into your future.

And when you return in the future it will be there waiting for you.

About Visit.org

This post was written by Beth Winchester of Visit.org, an online marketplace for tours and activities that benefit communities. Visitors add immersive local experiences to their existing travel itineraries. Social organizations raise awareness and revenue for their causes.

Gamers, geeks and nerds – Technical Genius Solutions

Technical Genius Solutions (TGS)! Your source for computer repairs in Polk County, Salem and the surrounding areas, located in North Dallas. TGS provides the latest in residential and commercial networking solutions, computer repair and maintenance. They have a team of certified technicians who will pin-point your problem(s), and provide solutions quickly and efficiently. They can streamline your communications, boost your productivity, protect your system and help you maintain your workflow; as a result, saving you time and money!

If you are visiting our website, chances are that you’re experiencing a technology break-down and feeling frustrated. These folks understand that kind of frustration and are here to help. They offer same day service on-site, through remote access and at our office in Dallas, Oregon. They will diagnose and resolve your problem(s) without overloading you with a bunch of confusing, computer-related lingo.

So, whether you have a desktop computer, a laptop or an office with 100 users and multiple servers, you are in good hands with Technical Genius Solutions. No job is too big, or too small! They can do it all backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. They will work to serve you and make you, the customer, happy!

It is the TGS promise to you that they will do whatever it takes to earn your respect and loyalty in this very competitive industry. Give them a call and let them prove to you they have what it takes to let your problems be history.

While fixing computers is their driving force.  They love to have customers in for appreciation days where they play board games and computer games.  So even if you don’t have a computer issue right now.  Head over for their next game night.

tgsoregon.com

He Drives all the Nuts Around Dallas – Squirrel’s Taxi Service

The One & Only Taxi in Dallas, OR.  Forget the big-name transportation apps, They aren’t permitted in town anyway.  You really want a ride with Squirrels Taxi Service, the preferred method of transportation for the locals of Dallas, OR and throughout Polk County. Owner Merlin Berkey is safe, dedicated, friendly and hardworking. Squirrels Taxi Service holds the same characteristics as the beloved woodland creatures our company is named after. Merlin was once referred to as a hero.  A retired Dallas police officer shared that he felt that without Merlin, there would likely be a lot more driving related injuries and fatalities, emphasizing that “he really is a hero.”

Rides for Any Reason or Occasion.  Need a ride to an appointment? We can provide you with the medical transportation you need. Had too many drinks? We’ll be your designated drivers so the party never has to stop. Whatever reason you may need to get to and from, let Squirrel’s get you where you need to be.

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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 – Spirit Mountain Casino & Lodge

Spirit Mountain Casino was created to enhance economic self-sufficiency opportunities for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, its members, and surrounding communities. They strive to promote economic diversification by the Tribes, and to support a variety of housing, educational, and cultural programs under the direction of Tribal Council. Once you’re at Spirit Mountain Casino, you can enjoy an expansive selection of gaming, entertainment, and great food. They have a variety of accommodations to choose from, from standard rooms to deluxe suites to fit everyone’s needs.

Our dining options feature great variety as well, offering one of the best casino buffets in the Pacific Northwest, as well as a first-class service restaurant and a full-service bar and lounge. And with 90,000 square feet of gaming space full of blackjack tables, roulette, slot machines and more, you won’t find a more inclusive, all-around enjoyable casino to visit. Think you’ll become a loyal customer here at Spirit Mountain Casino? So do we! Join our Coyote Club rewards program and experience exclusive member benefits and amenity discounts.

Member Spotlight – MV Advancements

Founded in 1966 by Margaret Reavis Larsen as Mid-Valley Workshop, our primary focus was job-training. Under Margaret’s guidance, care and leadership Mid-Valley Workshop expanded its services to include housing and community activity programs. In 1993 the organization was renamed as Mid-Valley Rehabilitation to reflect this breadth of services.

Today we are MV Advancements, and we continue to provide supportive environments and programs for our clients. Together, we strive to create life-long fulfillment and growth.

For more than 50 years, we’ve helped adults with disabilities through our innovative approaches and caring responsive staff which allows us to serve hundreds of clients through an ever-evolving set of services. In our Employment Services, we match business needs with individuals’ strengths and capacities, resulting in a long-term win-win for both the employer and the employee. In Residential and Community Inclusion, we support individuals to meet and exceed their own personal goals of growth and development so they can live a fulfilling life.

MV Advancements is overseen by a dedicated group of community members, business leaders, and educators. The board’s vision is to continue to honor the intentions of founder and pioneer Margaret Reavis Larsen.

The Board of Directors meet monthly, and Board seats are up for renewal every three years.