The EBiz Developer - March 2000
The Home Business Developer now the eBiz Developer
MARCH 2000 ISSUE
1. New tools - make it work (easier).
2. Got your Summer Marketing Plan sorted? By Vic Carrara.
3. Putting the Plan Back Into Your Business Plan, by Elena Fawkner.
4. Life on Purpose, by Brad Swift.
5. Resources - Free Publicity, Idea development sites, and more.
6. Thoughts. Sub by name, not by nature!
7. What do you want? More feedback wanted.
"You'll always get an idea if you think and don't
Norman Vincent Peale
1. Ed Speak.
Great feedback on issue one!
Based on your views, a name change for starters and:
Tighter focus. You want direct help with specific challenges, and
sharper insights into working your ideas through. You got it!
To get more heads around your particular crisis, we're introducing
a new section 'Problem Busting' -
So don't be shy with your emails.
Have a problem? (or should I say challenge.) email me. Have an answer?
Simplify your operation (more time to develop those ideas) with
an expanded 'Resources' Section. And more writings by experts in
the field of business development issues.
Best of everything,
"If you owe the bank $100, that's your problem. If you owe the
bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem."
John Paul Getty
2. Got your Summer Marketing Plan sorted?
So, have you got your marketing plans all sorted for Summer and
Pre-electron age we'd be busy putting final touched to our next
projects several months down the road.
Timing our projects with seasonally favourable times of customer
buying power. (eh?)
Now, with instant speed, instant gratification, instant instant.we
can go for it .yep, instantly!
Or is it?
Hold fire now.
That fantastic idea that came into being overnight might be great.
But the world might not be ready for it in its present state.
Going for it, because it seems like a sure thing, could end up destroying
that golden egg.
There is never an excuse for not planning.
Just because we can get our information out there quicker, doesn't
mean that we have to forget the basics.
Get an idea. Is it feasible? Is it wanted? What are the best ways
to market it? What's the best price for it?...
Test test test all the variables till we get it right, and then
GO FOR IT.
A useful site and newsletter recommendation for you this month is
'The Internet Business Informer'.
You can subscribe at: email@example.com
Or visit their website and sign up online at: http://www.ibizcenter.com/free_newsletter.htm
Best of everything,
3. Putting the Plan Back Into Your Business Plan, by Elena
Very little that is worthwhile in life happens by accident.
Cause and effect dictates that worthwhile results come from worthwhile
efforts and the converse is also true.
It's basic goal-setting theory. Set the goal, put in place the steps
that will eventually lead you there, carry them out and you will
eventually reach your destination. Think of a business plan as a
goal-setting tool for your business.
There are two main purposes for writing a business plan. The first
is to help you to manage your business. The second is to raise capital.
The focus of the business plan for each purpose is different. In
this article, we are focusing on the business plan as a tool to
help you manage your business.
Why Write a Business Plan?
There are many reasons why a business plan is a valuable tool when
it comes to managing your business. Most fundamentally, it helps
you 'set your sail' in the direction you want your business to go.
Rather than drifting along aimlessly, being tugged this way and
that by random currents and puffs of wind, a business plan helps
you steer a predetermined course and stay on track.
A business plan also facilitates focus. It can help you keep your
attention where it is required ... on those steps you need to take
to bring you closer to your objectives. This creates a results-oriented
mindset which helps break the inertia that can result from a lack
The process of creating a business plan can help you to anticipate
hurdles and threats to your business and to formulate actions to
overcome adverse contingencies.
A business plan also serves to keep your business on track by
reinforcing your vision for your business. It acts as a check and
a balance, something against which to weigh a proposed action. Does
the action further the purposes you have outlined in your business
If so, go for it.
If not, it is probably just a distraction.
Things to Think About In Your Business Plan
A good starting point to begin thinking about the elements of your
business plan is to carry out a SWOT analysis (what are your business's
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)? The strengths
you identify will become the foundation for your competitive focus.
You want to think of ways to exploit your strengths here as these
are what will set you apart from your competition. For example,
you may be particularly good with people. Use this talent in the
customer service aspects of your business to distinguish yourself
from your competition who may be lacking in this area.
By identifying weaknesses, you can plan for ways to compensate
for them. For example, you may be in a business where you have to
wait for some time to be paid by your clients and as a result you
may be vulnerable to cash flow shortfalls from time to time. By
recognising this potential weakness in your business, you can take
steps to minimise cash flow difficulties by arranging for an overdraft
facility with your bank. Or introducing an incentive for clients
to pay you earlier such as an early payment discount.
The opportunities you identify become the cornerstones for your
business development. What opportunities exist that you can exploit
in the next 12 months to develop your business? Think here in terms
of things like technological advances that you are in a position
to exploit but your competition is not, possible joint venture partnerships,
or the exclusive rights to XYZ patent that you have negotiated.
Finally, the threats you identify become the foundation for your
contingency planning. By recognising the threats that exist to the
future health of your business before they become a reality, the
better placed you will be to implement contingency plans in case
the worst happens and the better prepared you will be to ride out
Deciding on Your Plan
Once armed with your SWOT inventory you can begin to refine your
thinking in terms of coming up with an overall strategy for your
business. Remember, you want to exploit your strengths and opportunities
and minimise the impact of your weaknesses and threats.
Once you have your overall business strategy in front of you, you
are then in a position to reformulate the elements of your SWOT
analysis into specific goals and objectives. Write objectives to
support every goal for every area of your business. Think about
your products and services, customers, competition, image, customer
service, marketing and advertising, financial objectives and the
like. For example, one of your goals may be to introduce a second
or a third product line in the coming twelve months; or to launch
a new advertising campaign or to negotiate a more favourable line
of credit with your bank.
By the time you are done, you will be very clear in your own mind
where you want your business to go and what you need to do to get
there. In turn, this awareness will help you to recognise new opportunities
as they present themselves.
Finally, bear in mind that a business plan is just that, a plan.
It is not carved in stone and, as with any plan, be prepared to
be flexible and make changes as circumstances and priorities change.
Work with your business plan and treat it as a living, breathing,
organic part of your business. By constantly keeping your plan in
mind when making business decisions you can rest comfortably, knowing
you are steering your business in the direction YOU want it to go.
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online, a weekly
newsletter for those looking for work-from-home ideas and resources.
You can subscribe to AHBBO at
"If you make a sale, you make a living. If you make
an investment of time and good service in a customer, you can make
a fortune." Jim Rohn
Life on Purpose, by Brad Swift
Perhaps you woke up one morning to realise the old joke is true:
"Even if you finish the rat race in first, you're still a rat."
Or maybe, the thought crept in more slowly, wedging itself into
your consciousness while sitting in the five o'clock traffic jam
as you commute home. However it appeared, you now realise it's time
for a change to a simpler way of life.
But how do you start? These 10 steps will provide you with guidance
to propel you along the path.
1. The 1st step may be the easiest for many people because by the
time you're reading this it may already have been accomplished.
That is making up your heart and mind that it's time to simplify,
even better if the decision has moved to the level of being committed.
If not, don't worry. It's quite possible to test the waters of simple
living before diving in.
2. A helpful realisation to tag on to the decision to simplify
is to realise that it's a process most easily and simply accomplished
slowly and mindfully. Bringing the "rat race mentality" of drive,
determination and "get the job done no matter what" can be self-defeating.
So, ease up and enjoy the ride.
3. The next step may be a little more difficult, but it can be
accomplished by everyone, even those who consider themselves the
exception. Carve out a little space and time for self-reflection.
Maybe it's 1 night a week, or a few lunch breaks where you take
your bag lunch to a quiet park bench, or a weekend when you tell
everyone you're going away and then you don't. Or you go somewhere
quiet and serene with only one agenda -- to be with yourself. It's
fine to take your family as long as they agree to participate in
the purpose of the trip, which is step 4, 5 and 6.
4. In the carved out space and time begin to examine what's truly
important to you. What gives you joy, satisfaction, fulfilment,
what makes you laugh or cry movingly. Look beyond just the momentary
surface level stuff and see what provides deeper moments of meaning.
Remember back to your childhood years. Were there moments with your
family that, while they may have appeared routine in the moment,
you now remember fondly?
5. While examining what brings joy and satisfaction to your life,
also spend some time examining your values. As you do, notice whether
your current life is consistent with those values. If not, where
have they been compromised, and how might a simpler, less complex
life allow for a renewal of those values.
6. Last of all look at your life to see where it's primarily being
shaped by a particular lifestyle, as in the "keeping up with the
Jones mentality" and where it's being shaped by your values. One
useful way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of a page
of paper. On one side write "Lifestyle-based Life," on the other
write "Value-based Life." Then, looking at your life write down
whatever fits under the two headings. For example, does the car
or cars you own represent your values or your lifestyle, how about
where you live - the home and neighbourhood, how about your job,
how much or little you're involved in the community, etc. By the
way, there's nothing wrong with lifestyle. It's just not a very
good way to shape a life if you're interested in joy and satisfaction.
There are also no right answers. Each person must look and make
the call for themselves.
7. By this time in the process you'll probably see some areas that
could benefit from simplification since it appears that a "value-based
life" and a simple life go hand-in-hand. If you're into making lists,
you might want to list what possible actions you could take towards
that aim, then prioritise them. Or just pick two or three activities
that would be fun, engaging and would move you further down the
8. Simplifying your finances is often one of the most strategic
steps to take for people who have identified that much of their
life energy has been devoted more to lifestyle building than value
building. A very powerful and effective process for financial transformation
is outlined in the bestseller, YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE (YMORL),
by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. I highly recommend this book for
a more thorough look at this area of life. In the meantime, here
are a few steps to get your started:
a. Find out where your money goes. Most people don't have a good
handle on where all their money goes. The simplest way to determine
this is to keep track for a few weeks or months where every cent
is spent. This one step can be very revealing because once you
realise that you're spending, say $5 a day on Cappuccino which
equates to $150 a month or $1800 a year, you're not so sure that
it might not be possible to streamline your budget.
b. Start to measure your spending against how much fulfilment
and satisfaction you're receiving. If you think of money as something
that you exchange your life energy for you're spending naturally
becomes more conscious.
c. Determine how much money you're exchanging your life energy
for in your job or career. Again, most people don't realise or
take into account how much it cost them to work, so they often
have an inflated view of how much money they make. To figure this
out, take your base amount of pay and subtract all the expenditures
that are directly related to work. In other words, if you weren't
working would you be eating your lunches out each day, how about
the cost of that 30 minute commute (also factor in the commute
time as hours worked), and how much do you spend on business attire?
Factor all of this in to determine how much you're really taking
home. Often times people realise from this exercise that instead
of making $20/hr at work, their actual income is only $8-10. Suddenly,
the $5 Cappuccino is costing them 30 minutes of their life energy.
It can be a revealing experience going through this process.
9. Many people realise from step 8 that one big area of their
life that could be simplified and that would have an accumulative
effect elsewhere is to eliminate their debt. Debt free living is
a great way to live life. I call it living a life paid in full.
Much of the lifestyle we've come to expect and take for granted
in this country comes with an incredibly high price tag, especially
when we're "buying now and paying later." Besides YMORL another
beneficial resource on debt elimination is the FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE
NETWORK LIMITED (FINL). FINL provides simple and effective methods
to eliminate all debt within 5-7 years for most people while also
providing the inspiration and encouragement to keep you on track.
10. The last step is patience and persistence. Remember, it's taken
most people years, perhaps even generations to develop the complex
lives they live. It's unrealistic to think it can be all turned
around at once. Besides, it's the journey that we're here for, not
the destination. Enjoy the ride.
W. Bradford Swift is director of Life On Purpose Institute -- an
organisation dedicated to people clarifying their life purpose and
living true to it -- where he is a coach, writer and trainer for
other coaches. Hundreds of his articles have appeared in such diverse
publications as Modern Maturity, Hope, New Age Journal, Yoga Journal,
and many others. He may be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
by phone: 1-800-668-0183; or visit the Life On Purpose Institute
For a FREE subscription to Purposeful Pondering Ezine, send an email
C 1998 Brad Swift. http://www.lifeonpurpose.com/
or call 828.697-9239 for more free information. This material may
be transmitted freely with this contact and attribution information.
Free publicity for your project - submit your articles:
Want an affiliation plan?
There I was for what seemed like hours. Screen flickering in front
of me, but could I get that article started?
Push, push push...Keep at it.. Don't let up.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.
A fifteen minute walk later and...can't stop...so much to edit.
Where are all these ideas coming from?...
Never undervalue the power of your subconscious.
You might be all too aware of what's at the front of your mind,
the conscience bit, but it's the sub bit that does the real work.
Let it get to work! Give it time, space, and refreshment (just 1
glass mind you),
and it'll produce the goods all (most) of the time.
Got a thought?
Think mines utter rubbish?
7. What do you want?
More feedback wanted.
Many thanks for all the feedback from Issue One.
You'll see the implementation of some of your ideas here now.
But I still have some unanswered thoughts that could with your feedback.
Would you prefer a shortened newsletter with the articles available
by autoresponder, or on my website?
HTML or text ezine? Or both?
Currently feedback is split.
What do you want?
Please email me with your views at:
I INSTIGATE new habits, so
that ideas can
D DEVELOP fast, fresh, and
E EASILY. Have a system to
A AMASS and analyse them, so that you can
S START doing something about/with them.
Best of everything,
The EBiz Developer