Marklin
Financial Services LLC

Interim, Part-time, and Outsourced CFO Services

 

"John brought a needed business strategy to our soccer club and helped us evaluate our strengths and weaknesses. As a result, revenue streams were enhanced and unnecessary costs were cut."
-Tim Cristian, Director of Williamsburg Legacy Soccer Club

 

 

The #1 reason that most small businesses fail is a lack of planning. Business owners sometimes rush to fill out a canned Business Plan from a software company, but they fail to ask the important questions:

1. What are my PERSONAL goals in life?

2. What are my business's primary goals?

3. What is the Unique Selling Proposition of my business?

4. What are the Strategic Objectives of my business?

5. Have I developed a 3-year financial forecast?

6. And finally ask yourself, "Is this an opportunity worth pursuing?"

-John Marklin


 

 

Developing a Business Plan

A Business Plan (Plan) is necessary for starting a new business venture. Not only is it a good road map for the owner, but it will be required by an investor or a banker willing to invest capital into your business.

A Plan can take on many different and sometimes confusing forms. I usually recommend two versions. First a longer version that includes some detailed analytical data supporting the viability of your product or service in the market place (competition, pricing, demographics, etc). Secondly, a two or three page condensed version providing a quick review of the important parts for an investor or banker.

Should you buy an off the shelf software Plan? Maybe. I find these are good since they are tutorial in nature and ensure covering all important questions of launching any business. Though off-the-shelf plans vary widely in look and feel, they usually address the following key elements:

    - Mission- What will be the objective of your product or service?
    - Vision- Where do you see the business going in size and    
     impact on the market?
    - Key components- Have you clearly identified the product or
     service and the steps necessary for its creation?
    - Competition- Do you not only know who your customers are,
     but what will make your product or service unique?
    - SWOT analysis- Identify your strengths, weaknesses,
     opportunities and threats.
    - Timing- First to market is important for the success of a new
     product or service. Moving up the launch date is critical;
     eliminate the roadblocks from accomplishing this.
    - Cash needs- What amount of investment, if any, will be needed
     for start up as well as ongoing operations. Bank financing can
     be very difficult to attain in today‚Äôs environment. I prefer
     securing investments from family members and friends without
     giving up all the equity. The best option is financing the
     venture yourself because when the money comes directly from
     your pocket, the least amount of capital is spent.
    - Sales estimates- A three year projection is usually required,
     detailed by major product or service lines.
    - Cash flow forecast- A summary of cash flow, (by month for
     year one and annually for years two and three) is required by
     the investors or bankers. They will want to know how quickly
     their investment will be repaid. Plus, you need to know if cash
     reserves are enough to get through rough times.