How to Write a Business Plan (Like a Pro)

The business plan is a document that outlines what your business is about and what it intends to achieve. However, few business owners understand how to really write a good business plan. They only think about writing a business plan when the time has come to acquire funding for their business.

And next, they write the business plans with the sole aim of getting money from banks or potential investors. This is the wrong way to go about things. Even without having funding in mind, it’s best to have a cohesive business plan written down, for your own benefit.

Below, we’ll show you how to write an accurate, detailed, concise, and comprehensive business plan that will give you the best chance of funding and assist you in understanding your own business.

Table of Contents [show]

Why Write a Business Plan?

The most commonly cited reason to write a business plan is to acquire funding. Whether you want to get an SBA(7)(a) or look towards venture capitalists, you’ll need a solid business plan.

The business plan is an outline of what your business is about, what your value proposition is, how you intend to market your business, the target demographic, and how you intend to spend the acquired funds.

.

.

Tutorial starts at 1:20 Whether you’re starting a new business or just trying to get your existing business a bit more organized, writing a business plan is the perfect way to clearly outline how your business operates, declare goals, and set out a strategy to reach those goals. In this video you’ll learn about the six essential pages every business plan should have, what to record on each of those pages, and also how to write your business plan as quickly and easily as possible — even if you’re a complete beginner! 🔹
Download the FREE Six-Step Business Success Plan: https://www.gillianperkins.com/downlo… // WHAT TO WATCH NEXT Six Ways to Earn Six Figures Working from Home https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1i8x… How I (actually) Got My First Client Online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AST3P… How I Created Multiple Streams of Income for Myself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfaH_… How to Decide What Business to Start https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mid_A…
.
.
.

In short, the business plan is a detailed representation of what your business is about, containing all the possible details that a potential investor would like to hear.

However, there is another reason why you’ll want to write a business plan. A business plan is essentially a crystallization of your business on paper. It will help you to understand your business. And it’s always useful to clearly define your goals and expectations.

The business plan helps you to do this, in the most efficient possible way. You are really hitting two birds with one stone. The business plan will help you to run your business, and could also help you to acquire funding. It could be said that there are four major reasons why you should write a business plan:

  1. To outline your business goals and aspirations in writing.
  2. To identify strengths and weaknesses objectively.
  3. To communicate the vision of the company.
  4. To convince investors to lend you money.

Stages of the Business Plan

There are many business plan variants that depend on your industry, business, size, preferences, and numerous other factors. However, the Business Plan is often described as going through 3 primary stages. These stages are:

  1. The Mini-Plan – This is really just a business plan outline. It is typically short, less than 10 pages in length. However, it will contain all of the relevant data. Depending on what you are trying to do and who you are trying to convince, the 10-page plan can be more than enough.
  2. The Working Plan – The working plan is often between 15 and 25 pages in length and explains how the business will operate in more detail. This is the plan that business owners will typically ‘work’ from, though it is still a little bit rough around the edges.
  3. The Presentation Plan – This is the business plan as presented to investors and bankers. It is the business plan with the correct terminology and images as appropriate for convincing a particular audience. This is really a term that is synonymous with a “business plan”.

Even before engaging in a full-blown business plan, it’s best to have a mini-plan to refer to. This can be used when hiring employees or working with partners/contractors, to give them an idea where the business is headed.

The 6 Components of a Business Plan Outline

While there is a lot of room for customization (and a lot of opinion on the matter), the business plan can be loosely broken down into 6 components:

  1. Executive Summary – Brief outline of the company.
  2. Opportunity – Value proposition and what you intend to do.
  3. Execution – How you intend to capitalize on the opportunity (sell products to customers).
  4. Management Infrastructure – Company hierarchy, organization, and significant persons.
  5. Financial Status – Cash flow status and projected income.
  6. Appendix – Any additional details and references.

These components are outlined in more detail below. Some steps have multiple subcategories (for example, you can break up step 5 into your current financial situation, projected financial situation in the future, and include a funding request).

Component #1 – Executive Summary

Executive SummaryThe executive summary is covered in more detail below in the 12 step outline. It’s the most important part of the business plan. It will contain:

  • A summary of what you provide and who you are.
  • The current market situation.
  • How much money you have, and how much you need.
  • A justification (brief) about why your business will succeed against competitors.
  • The growth potential of your enterprise.

The Executive Summary is actually the easiest part of the entire process. It’s only 1- 2 pages long and should be a neat outline of what you intend to achieve. But it’s very important to get this part correct. It will set the tone for the rest of the plan. So it has to read well and smoothly.

When writing the Executive Summary, take note that all businesses exist to solve customer problems. What is the problem, how are you solving it, and why are you better than competitors? If you answer these questions succinctly, then you are highly likely to acquire funding. Don’t hype your position – just state it clearly.

A great way to think about an Executive Summary is that it is a written elevator pitch. The Executive Summary is the perfect tool for you to refine your business concept. It allows you to write down a precise and exact concept about what your business stands for. If you have zero intention of acquiring funding from clients, it’s still a great idea to write out an Executive Summary.

Additional benefits of a concise Executive Summary are that it will help you to determine your priorities and will help the rest of the business plan run smoothly. It is often the case that if you start strongly, you will finish strongly.

Component #2 – Opportunity

The Opportunity section details where the customer base is under-served. This is a perfect place to include statistics indicating your target market and how it is expanding. Know your target market inside and out. What their spending habits are, what they are looking for, what methods of payment they prefer, how you can enhance their lifestyles, etc.

The more intimately you understand your target market, the better you can give them what they want. The more sophisticated investors will need to know that you have done extensive research on your target market.

Before you embark on any campaign you must do research to see what is viable and what isn’t. The best way to start is with a question and answer session. Here are some typical questions you could ask before starting out:

  • Is the overall industry stagnating, growing, or declining?
  • Is the demand for my specific products/services stagnating, growing, or declining?
  • What customer segment am I targeting?
  • What do customers pay, on average, for my products and services?
  • Will I offer products service for less, more, or the same price as the market average?
  • Is my price justified, and why?
  • Can I distinguish myself from my competitors in a meaningful way?
  • Have other businesses tried to do the same?

Asking these questions is critical to keep you on point. You can always refine your products and services later on, but you will still need to remain in the ballpark in terms of what the customers are looking for.

A key point here is that you need to distinguish yourself from competitors. Even in tough markets, you can do well if you offer a particular niche that is distinct from others. You will be the same, but different, though that is something of a contradiction in terms.

Investors will want to see that you are justified in asking for money and that you have given the issue a great deal of thought. Don’t get discouraged if you are in a tough and declining market. As long as you have a practical way of attracting a target market and the idea makes sense, then your business plan is solid.

A potential area of contention is that of creating a new market versus attracting an existing market. It’s entirely possible to create a market with new products. For example, nobody calls for new smartphones until they are released with new applications and features. When they find out about these new features, they ‘have’ to have them.

But as a general rule of thumb, you do need to give customers what they are already looking for. Creating a new market demand is for more ambitious types, and investors are typically very skeptical of these endeavors. Even the very best products may not sell if there is no market for them. It’s best to dig, do some research, and be very exact in terms of your target market and how you are resolving their problem.

The opportunity section will also include what your competitors are doing and how you can do it better. Differentiate yourself from your competitors as much as possible.

Component #3 – Execution

Execution is the sales and marketing side of a business plan. You can invent the world’s best application, and nobody will download it if you don’t place it in front of them.

This is where many businesses can fall short. You have to sell your products and services hard and aggressively. ’Build it and they will come’ does not work anymore. ‘Build it, market it aggressively, and they will come’ is much more accurate.

Read More……

Sarah Davis

By: Sarah Davis

Sarah Davis is a business executive specializing in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and international law. She achieved her MBA from Cornell University after completing a legal undergraduate at UC Berkley. Sarah runs her own business consultancy firm in tandem with working alongside the FinImpact team.

Source: How to Write a Business Plan (Like a Pro) 2021..

.

.

More Contents:

FCA prioritises consumer harm reduction as fintech app usage climbs – FM
[…] ” A priority of the FCA’s 2020–2021 business plan is reducing harm in the consumer investments market […]
N/A
Out of work Dublin musician turns to making quirky Irish lingo T-shirts during lockdown – Dublin Live
[…] “I thought of the idea of putting the most memorable ones all together and making a business plan, so I designed a speech bubble with them written in it […]
1
Restaurants anxious for fans to come, team to play at Nationals Park again
wtop.com – Today
[…] thought it was going to be whatsoever, and we’ve had to adapt both financially, and staff-wise, and business plan-wise constantly throughout this,” Cox said […]
N/A
Academic and Business Writing Essay | Custom College Essays
researchpapers4me.com – Today
[…] Stores Underwriting and Pricing General Aviation Risks Financial Statements to Measure Performance Business Plan Assignment HRM’s Role in Business Planning Staffing Plan for a Growing Business Training an […]
1
Pennsylvania Society of Tax & Accounting Professionals – Starting and Running Your Own Accounting Firm
[…] the necessary business skills or should I take a practice development course?” Create a detailed business plan This plan should include: Goals, services, and a unique selling proposition: What is your visio […]
2
Software architecture expert | C# Programming | Software Architecture | C++ Programming | Java | OpenGL | Freelancer
[…] Software Development MySQL Link B, do i need a graphics card if i don’t play games, do i need a business plan if i don’t need a loan, do i need a work permit if im 17, do i need a medicare supplement if i have […]
0
Regional Finance Manager, Western Africa
careers.ses.com – Today
[…] You are responsible for preparing the business plan, budget and quarterly forecasts, from a revenue, OPEX and CAPEX perspective […]
1
Her Biz: Free Business Start Up Workshops May 2021 Tickets, Fri 7 May 2021 at 10:00
[…] Following the course you will just need to submit a business plan to enter, and it’s open to all those selected to participate […] create projections and explore funding options Develop your business model and kick-start your business plan Start shaping your marketing strategy incl […]
N/A
Jerry Lockspeiser on why and how runnnig has changed his life
[…] Preparing for a marathon is a similar mental process to creating a business plan – you need to identify the objective, work out a step-by-step route to achieve that objective, an […]
1
I Sell Ego at the Top of the World
[…] aspiring business owners think they need that they really don’t? I thought I would need a detailed business plan to stick to for my first three years in business […] The complexity of reality had nothing to do with the linearity and simplicity of my business plan […]
N/A
HOT JOBS & COOL JOBS: STAFFING SALES EXECUTIVE DENVER CO USA
[…]  sales opportunities * § Business plan and report writing skills More about Hays We are the world  […]
N/A
4D pharma : Annual Report (SEC Filing – 20-F) | MarketScreener
[…] particularly at the management level, it could adversely affect our ability to execute our business plan and harm our operating results […]
N/A
EarthRenew Announces Strong Electricity Generation Revenue for First 2 Months of 2021, Easily Surpassing the Same Period Last Year; Enel-X Agreement for Operating Reserves
[…] with Enel-X, the business and operations of the Company, and the Company’s ability to execute its business plan […]
0
Head of Quality and Compliance
[…] support to the business and improve working practices and procedures in own department to achieve Business Plan objectives working closely with Directors and other Managers […]
0
Trebia Acquisition : Annual Report (SEC Filing – 10-K) | MarketScreener
[…] the capital markets, attract top-tier management talent and execute a proprietary value-creation business plan helping the company continue to grow into the next phase of its life cycle […] By restricting the investment of the proceeds to these instruments, and by having a business plan targeted at acquiring and growing businesses for the long term (rather than on buying and sellin […] As discussed in Note 1 to the financial statements, the Company’s business plan is dependent on the completion of a business combination and the Company’s cash and working capital […]
N/A
Annual Conference Online 2021: Essential Skills sessions | Microbiology Society
microbiologysociety.org – Today
[…] provide advice on business considerations such as patents, funding, building a team and creating a business plan […]
2
Ideations – Connecting Knowledge. on LinkedIn: #strategy #market #marketintelligence
[…] businesses closely, which essentially helps us in devising a profitable, scalable, and sustainable business plan […]
N/A
Advanced Technology Account Executive K12 Edu Job Opening in Orange County, California – Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering
jobs.haceonline.org – Today
[…] Prepare, update, and review a territory business plan semi-annually […] Management: Lead partner engagement strategies in region based on region’s strategic business plan […]
0
Dr Wail A Mousa | School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering | University of Leeds
eps.leeds.ac.uk – Today
[…] Founded in 2014,CoreEcho won many Saudi Business Plan competitions […]
0
FranchiseBazar Entrepreneur Registration Form | Start A New Business Ideas In India | Top Franchise Opportunities In India
[…] opportunities or global master franchise opportunities you will see that these fit into the new business plan 2021 that you have made […]
367
Tips For Running Your Small Business From Home!
[…] Before you make a large investment of money and time in your home business, carefully craft a good business plan […]
N/A
OTC Dynamics | $SNES SenesTech Announces Year End 2020 Financial and Operational Results
[…] its cost improvement plan; future financial results; and the Company’s execution of its strategic business plan […]
1
How to Start an Airbnb Business – coachingclub05.simplesite.com
coachingclub05.simplesite.com – Today
[…] Create a Business Plan Choose Your Business Structure Determine Your Business Costs Create a Business Name Register You […] Register Your Business and Open Accounts Purchase Equipment Market Your Airbnb Business 1: Create a Business Plan A business plan is significant […] Here are the weather needed for your Airbnb business plan:  Clearly state your business idea and therefore the problem it solves Identify SMART goal […]
0
About Us
ejamerica.com – Today
[…] As hard as it may be to do, a global perspective must be included in the business plan […]
2
Hospital Sales Representative in Ghent, East Flanders – Syneos Health job with Syneos Health Commercial Solutions | 1138865
[…] around key customers and hospitals, and build a commercially astute, prioritised and targeted business plan, that demonstrates a tailored, needs based approach • Demonstrate measurable progress agains […] returned to the business and delivery against customer needs • Build & implement successfully a business plan consisting of: o Visit & meetings with key stakeholder o Insight into current prescription […]
N/A
Hybrid Sales Representative – Bristol in Bristol, ENG – Syneos Health job with Syneos Health Commercial Solutions | 1138888
[…] • Deliver on a well-defined business plan within budget and agreed timelines in addition to other key performance indicators […]
N/A
HOT JOBS & COOL JOBS: ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE MARKETING AND ADVERTISING SAN ANTONIO TX USA
[…] Antonio, TX, USA The key account sales and marketing plans will support, and be derived from, the Business Plan  […]
0
Jobs | The
vegsoc.org – Today
[…] and its mission, values, activities and strategic aims, please refer to the Extracts from the Business Plan 2014 document and our Five-Year Strategy […]
16
The Plain English Guide to Writing a Business Case
blog.hubspot.com – Today
[…] A business case doesn’t need to be an entire business plan for a new product […]
20
Head Greenkeeper, High Wycombe
[…] To actively motivate and lead the team to accomplish the agreed business plan and achieve budget targets […]
0
BHEL looking for partner for propulsion systems and digitalisation business in rail sector
urbantransportnews.com – Today
[…] documents including the JV Agreement, the Memorandum and Articles of Association and the long-term Business Plan for such a JV shall be mutually agreed upon […]
N/A
Tips To Build Up Social Media Marketing Strategies For Restaurants
[…] have to work it out on your own! There is no guide book to pick the right posting time for your business) Plan your content wall – whether it is going to be a full-on text or graphical kind […]
3
PayPal closed my account with $22k and holds money for 180 days : paypal
[…] Neither is good but one tells them your business plan sucks and they stand to lose money letting you use their services and the other means your accoun […]
0
Top Advantages of Short Term Finance Credits
financialslot.com – Today
Running a business requires more than just a business plan […]
2
The Best Blogging Platforms (In-Depth Review)
[…] The Business plan lets you accept secure online payments and further customize your site with premium integrations […] I like the Business plan because you get more advanced analytics to understand your audience and fine-tune your marketin […]
1
Korea Newswire
[…] results or outcomes include Velodyne’s ability to manage growth; Velodyne‘s ability to execute its business plan; uncertainties related to the ability of Velodyne’s customers to commercialize their products an […]
N/A
Elements of a Business Plan: What to Include to Turn Heads
learn.g2.com – Today
[…] What is a business plan? A business plan is a formal document that contains the goals of a business and a timeline stating when they need to […] Sales and marketing strategies Funding requirements Financial projections The length of your business plan doesn’t matter. As long as it includes those eight items, you should be good to go. Business plan elements Let’s take a closer look at what each of these business plan elements mean, and why they are important to the overall plan […]
N/A
Fashionomics Africa
fashionomicsafrica.org – Today
[…] Financial and business acumen; branding, marketing, networking; but not business plan development. Financial and business acumen; business plan development; access to finance; branding, marketing, networking; and fostering market linkages […]
N/A
OMMERCIAL LICNECE SERVICES, LICENSING SCHEME & BUSINESS PLAN in UAE
Commercial Licensing Services: We advise on the optimal structuring of your entity and guide you through the complex requirements of registration through to licensing and maintaining good-standing…
0
PJSC RusHydro: Agenda of the Board of Directors meeting on April 14, 2021 | MarketScreener
[…]   The agenda includes the following items:   On execution of RusHydro Group’s business plan for 2020 (including execution of consolidated investment plan for 2020 and comprehensiv […] On approval of the report on execution of RusHydro Group’s consolidated business plan for 2020 (including consolidated investment program) […]
0
PJSC RusHydro : Agenda of the Board of Directors meeting on April 14, 2021 | MarketScreener
[…] On execution of RusHydro Group’s business plan for 2020 (including execution of consolidated investment plan for 2020 and comprehensiv […] On approval of the report on execution of RusHydro Group’s consolidated business plan for 2020 (including consolidated investment program) […]
0
Communications, the once and future next big thing
asiatimes.com – Today
[…] The business plan was about one page long and defined no specifics […]
1
Kingston Marketing Group Woman Founder Marketing Grant
[…] Columbia) Required Application Materials Share your pitch deck (providing a quick overview of your business plan, team and traction in the market […]
N/A
Are You Struggling to Scale Your Business!
[…] of your team is the key part of convincing the investors that you will be able to carry out your business plan […]
0
Bilateral Transactions Programme
MOSL’s primary objective, as set out in our 2020/21 business plan, is to “make the non-household market an easier place to do business in […]
N/A
Construction Commercial Underwriter- Account Executive job with Travelers Insurance | 6525053
[…] Develops agency sales/business plan and frequently partners with MD to develop region/group sales plan […]
N/A
Lean Canvas: How To Create a Business Plan that People Will Actually
growthhackers.com – Today
Lean Canvas: How To Create a Business Plan that People Will Actually Read Shared by KOKimberly Oños process.st 11 11 0 SHARE MARCH 29, 2021 616 #productmanagement Find out why a one-page Lean Canvas is more effective for securing start-up investment than a 40-page business plan. Read full post READ THIS NEXT JF How can I find the most followed followers from someone else Twitter account?
N/A
Can You Close a Deal Right After Pitching Ideas to Investors?
designbeep.com – Today
[…] The downside is if your written business plan looks terrible […]
N/A
Be Your Own Boss – Business Start-Up Support Programme
[…] registering the business, legalities and regulations, finding and keeping customers, writing a business plan and accessing grants and funding […]
0
Bots and Spam in Google Analytics: Problems & Solutions
metricswatch.com – Today
[…] Poor business plan […]
2
Expanding Your Daycare Business
[…] are seven steps that you can take in preparation for the expansion of your daycare business: DO A BUSINESS PLAN You may have a gut feeling that the time is right to upscale your business, but instinct isn’ […]   You need a comprehensive business plan which includes a thorough overview of your current operation (such as costs, revenues an […]
1
HNW & UHNW Life Insurance in Asia – Challenges and the future
canetwork.com – Today
[…] ) Nevertheless, for wealth management firms to survive, companies had to start rethinking their business plan in response to the pandemic […]
8
Business Plan for Bank Loan Vancouver | Business Proposal for Bank Loan Toronto —
We provide the best business proposals and plans for obtaining Bank loans in Vancouver & Toronto. Our business plans are guaranteed to give you the best opportunities to obtain business loans without any restrictions.
0
HVS | Autism and the Hospitality Industry: An Interview with Autism Double-Checked
[…] Following his time with Laker Airways, David worked with Richard Branson to craft the business plan for Virgin Atlantic Airways, became the airline’s first employee, and then spent two decades a […]
2
Financial Sales Advisor Job at Wapic Insurance Plc Jobs in Nigeria | Jobgurus
[…] Sourcing of target plan and monthly business plan […]
1
Protect Your Business with the Right Plan | The Co-operators®
lp.cooperators.ca – Today
[…] We have the experience to help you put a solid business plan in place for the unexpected […]
N/A
Pixar Culture Design Canvas | By Gustavo Razzetti
fearlessculture.design – Today
[…] The film company believes that “quality is the best business plan […] are: Failure isn’t a necessary evil Don’t confuse the process with the goal Quality is the best business plan People are more important than ideas Everybody should be able to talk to anybody Prepare for th […]
N/A
IGNOU – Announcements – Latest – Business Plan Competition 2021 for IGNOU Students
The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), established by an Act of Parliament in 1985, has continuously striven to build an inclusive knowledge society through inclusive education.
0
7 Current Market Forces Bring Startup Opportunities
blog.startupprofessionals.com – Today

You Already Have Subscriptions for Movies and Diapers. Why Not the Couch?

In the six years since Jay Reno started college and finished his masters’ degree, he had moved seven times. Each time, he says, the load felt more punishing. The bed frame seemed to get heavier, and things got damaged. Reno, who grew up in New Hampshire and now lives in New York City, knew there had to be a less headache-inducing way to get stuff from A to B. Or better yet, he thought: What if he didn’t even own stuff in the first place?

Reno figured he surely wasn’t the only Millennial thinking along those lines. So, in 2017, he founded Feather, a New York City-based furniture rental subscription service. Furniture rentals is not a new idea: The 800-pound gorilla in the industry is Rent-a-Center, founded in 1986 with a rent-to-own model that last year was expected to bring in around $1.8 billion in U.S. revenue. Reno says unlike Rent-a-Center, Feather is targeting higher-end customers: people who can afford to buy but just choose not to. Convincing a critical mass of affluent customers to forgo new furnishings in favor of renting used items will be no easy task. Still, Reno has a pitch he’s confident will be persuasive.

“Buying things upfront doesn’t make sense when your space is constantly changing,” says the 31-year-old founder, who graduated from Columbia University in 2012 with a master’s degree in environmental studies. “Owning things ties you to a physical place. It grounds you in a way that you don’t want to be grounded.”

The price of flexibility.

To be sure, swapping the burden of ownership for the flexibility of renting comes at a cost. Feather members pay a monthly $19 subscription fee plus the cost to rent each individual item. For instance, a living room package that includes a sofa, lounge chair, coffee table, and floor lamp will set you back $90 to $167 a month. Members can swap out items for free once a year, depending on their changing needs or tastes. Subsequent swaps will trigger a $99 delivery fee. Non-members can also rent from Feather, though they pay a $99 delivery fee each time and higher per-item fees. A Deco Weave West Elm “Eddy” sofa that runs $39 a month for members costs $134 a month for non-members.

A key part of Feather’s pitch to customers is positioning furniture rental as a more environmentally friendly alternative to buying furniture you may one day discard. Reno suggests the same consumers that, say, buy sustainably manufactured clothing at Everlane, or cleaning products in reusable packaging from Grove Collaborative, will appreciate Feather’s sustainability angle. The company says it cleans and refurbishes all items, save for mattresses, which don’t get reused between renters, to extend their lifespan. Mattresses and furniture that are no longer usable get donated.

Should customers want to buy an item after renting, Feather says it can be purchased for the retail value, minus whatever they already have paid in rental fees. At some rent-to-own companies, like Rent-a-Center, items cost more than they would if customers had purchased them directly from a retailer. Rent-a-Center doesn’t argue with this point. “Yes, there is a premium paid for the flexibility for the service, which includes free set up, delivery, and repairs,” says Michael Landry, vice president of franchise development at Rent-a-Center. Feather charges repair fees, which vary depending on the item, if damages go beyond regular wear and tear.

Millennials are increasingly opting for renting versus buying homes, says Michael Brown, a partner in the retail practice of global strategy and management consulting at A.T. Kearney. Going into the third quarter of last year, only about a third of Americans 35 and younger owned homes, according to a February 2019 report by financial services firm Legal & General. “Renting a home; leasing a car; taking an Uber; renting the runway are all manifestations of this trend,” adds Brown. He notes further that rented furnishings are expected to account for 25 percent of the total U.S. furniture market this year. Overall, U.S. furniture-industry sales in 2019 were expected to increase by 2.8 percent to $114.5 billion from the year before, says Jerry Epperson, managing director at research firm Mann, Armistead, and Epperson.

Investors too are on board with rentals. On February 18, Feather announced a $30 million series B round of funding led by Cobalt Capital, with participation from prior investors including Spark Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Bain Capital Ventures, and others. It had previously raised $16 million from investors. The company says it is using the new funds to expand to additional markets and build its 60-person team.

Feather isn’t the only startup aiming to reimagine the furniture rental industry. Los Angeles-based competitor Fernish also launched in 2017. Last year Fernish raised $30 million from early-stage investor fund Real Estate Technology Ventures, Intuit’s co-founder Scott Cook, and Amazon’s head of global e-commerce and retail operations, Jeff Wilke.

It’s early days for Feather. Its service currently is available only in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Orange County, California. Reno declined to comment on its number of members or annual revenue, beyond saying the latter is in the “eight digits.”

The true test for Feather–and by extension, Fernish–is whether it can make the product more widely appealing, beyond early-adopter Millennials. Kevin Thau, a general partner at Feather investor Spark Capital, is convinced it can. “Today’s consumers demand fast and reliable products and services that make their lives easier,” he says. “Feather delivers on just this by allowing consumers to easily rent furniture and skip the enormous hassle of purchasing and inevitably moving their furniture from one place to the next.”

Reno says even legacy retailers are starting to respond to the idea that ownership is less popular among certain customers. Feather offers Williams-Sonoma brand West Elm and Joy Bird furniture in its inventory, along with mattress firm Leesa. Crate and Barrel partnered with Fernish to offer its collections to renters in 2018. And in a related sign of the times, in November 2019, Nordstrom announced it would include exclusive products available for both purchase and rental through Rent the Runway. 

“We’re already starting to see consumers shift away from ownership as a default,” Reno adds. “And we believe this behavior is only going to grow.”

By Tatyana Bellamy-WalkerEditorial intern, Inc.com

Source: You Already Have Subscriptions for Movies and Diapers. Why Not the Couch?

Jay Reno is the CEO and founder of Feather. Feather is a furniture subscription service. They were in the Summer 2017 batch of YC. https://twitter.com/jayjreno You can check out their furniture at LiveFeather.com and if you live in LA, SF, or New York you can try out the service. https://www.livefeather.com/ The YC podcast is hosted by Craig Cannon. https://www.livefeather.com/ Y Combinator invests a small amount of money ($150k) in a large number of startups (recently 200), twice a year. Learn more about YC and apply for funding here: https://www.ycombinator.com/apply/

3 Purchases or Investments You Can Make to Save Money on Your Business Taxes

With a little over one month to go in 2019, small business owners should think about purchases or investments that make good business sense and will give them a break on their taxes.

Owners with available cash and a wish list should consider what equipment they need. Or, do they want to create a retirement plan or make a big contribution to an existing one? If they have home offices, are there repairs or improvements that can be done by Dec. 31? But owners should also remember the advice from tax professionals: Don’t make a decision based on saving on taxes. Any big expenditure should be made because it fits with your ongoing business strategy.

A look at some possible purchases or investments:

Need a PC or SUV?

Small businesses can deduct up-front as much as $1,020,000 in equipment, vehicles and many other types of property under what’s known as the Section 179 deduction. Named for part of the federal tax code, it’s aimed at helping small companies expand by accelerating their tax breaks. Larger businesses have to deduct property expenses under depreciation rules.

There is a wide range of property that can be deducted under Section 179 including computers, furniture, machinery, vehicles and building improvements like roofs and heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems. But to be deducted, the equipment has to be operational, or what the IRS calls in service, by Dec. 31. So a PC that’s up and running or an SUV that’s already in use can be deducted, but if that HVAC system has been ordered but not yet delivered or set up, it can’t be deducted.

It’s OK to buy the equipment and use it but not pay for it by year-end — even if a business buys the property on credit, the full purchase price can be deducted.

You can learn more on the IRS website, www.irs.gov. Search for Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization, and the instructions for the form.

Home Office Repairs

Owners who run their businesses out of their homes and want to do some repairs, painting or redecorating may be able to get a deduction for the work. If the home office or work space itself is getting a makeover, those costs may be completely deductible. If the whole house is getting a new roof or furnace, then part of the costs can be deducted.

To claim the deduction, an owner can use a formula set by the IRS. The owner determines the percentage of a residence that is exclusively and regularly used for business. That percentage is applied to actual expenses on the home including repairs and renovation and costs such as mortgage or rent, taxes, insurance and maintenance.

There’s an alternate way to claim the deduction — the owner computes the number of square feet dedicated to the business, up to 300 square feet, and multiplies that number by $5 to arrive at the deductible amount. However, repairs or renovations cannot be included in this calculation.

Owners should remember that the home office deduction can only be taken if the office or work area is exclusively used for the business — setting up a desk in a corner of the family room doesn’t quality. And it must be your principal place of business. More information is available on www.irs.gov; search for Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home.

Retirement Plans

Owners actually have more than a month to set up or contribute to an employee retirement plans — while some can still be set up by Dec. 31, plans known as Simplified Employee Pensions, or SEPs, can be set up as late as the filing deadline for the owner’s return. If the owner gets a six-month extension of the April 15 filing deadline, a SEP can be set up as late as Oct. 15, 2020, and still qualify as a deduction for the 2019 tax year.

Similarly, contributions to any employee retirement plan can be made as late as Oct. 15, 2020, as long as the owner obtained an extension. This means owners can decide well into next year how much money they want to contribute, and in turn, how big a deduction they can take for the contribution.

You can learn more at www.irs.gov. Search for Publication 560, Retirement Plans for Small Business.

–The Associated Press

By Joyce M. Rosenberg AP Business Writer

Source: 3 Purchases or Investments You Can Make to Save Money on Your Business Taxes

856K subscribers
FREE COURSE To Start Your Online Business: http://projectlifemastery.com/freecou… In this video, Stefan talks about investing for beginners, and gives advice on how to get started. In particular, he highlights five investment success principles. When Stefan was 18 years old, he read a finance book called, “The Wealthy Barber”, by David Chilton. After reading this book, he realized that the most important thing that he could do was to start investing as soon as possible. The earlier you start investing, the sooner you can make mistakes and learn from them, and you have a higher risk tolerance. Stefan started from nothing, and has been able to build himself up to a millionaire, at 30 years old. Are you ready to invest in your future? It will be one of the best decisions you make! ★☆★ VIEW THE BLOG POST: ★☆★ http://projectlifemastery.com/investi… ★☆★ SUBSCRIBE TO ME ON YOUTUBE: ★☆★ Subscribe ► https://projectlifemastery.com/youtube ★☆★ FOLLOW ME BELOW: ★☆★ Blog ► https://projectlifemastery.com/?utm_m… Twitter ► https://projectlifemastery.com/twitter Twitter ► https://twitter.com/stefanjames23 Facebook ► https://projectlifemastery.com/facebook Facebook ► https://www.facebook.com/stefanjames23 Instagram ► https://projectlifemastery.com/instagram Instagram ► https://www.instagram.com/stefanjames23 Snapchat ► https://www.projectlifemastery.com/sn… Periscope ► https://projectlifemastery.com/periscope iTunes Podcast ► https://projectlifemastery.com/itunes ★☆★ MY PRODUCTS & COURSES: ★☆★ Morning Ritual Mastery ► https://projectlifemastery.com/mornin… Affiliate Marketing Mastery ► https://projectlifemastery.com/affili… Kindle Money Mastery ► https://projectlifemastery.com/kmoney… 24 Hour Book ► https://projectlifemastery.com/24hour… Kindle Optimizer ► https://projectlifemastery.com/koptim… ★☆★ WANT TO BE COACHED BY ME? ★☆★ You can apply for my 1-on-1 and group coaching programs here: http://projectlifemastery.com/coaching ★☆★ RECOMMENDED RESOURCES: ★☆★ https://projectlifemastery.com/resour… If you found this video valuable, give it a like. If you know someone who needs to see it, share it. Leave a comment below with your thoughts. Add it to a playlist if you want to watch it later.

 

He Left The World of Traditional Employment And Built a Million-Dollar, One-Person Business

Image result for Anthony Martin, 36, has created financial freedom for himself that many people can only dream of.

Anthony Martin, 36, has created financial freedom for himself that many people can only dream of.

He generates $1 million in annual revenue at Choice Mutual, a one-man insurance agency he founded, by selling a very specialized niche product: final expense insurance. It covers burial expenses, so someone’s family doesn’t have to pay the costs, with a payout that is typically in the range of $10,000 to $30,000.

Six years ago, Martin’s life was very different. Working as a manager at an insurance agency in Roseville, Calif., Martin wished he had more control over how things were done. He eventually realized what he really wanted was to be his own boss. In 2013, he took a leap of faith and started the agency from his home.

Martin is one of a fast-growing cohort of entrepreneurs who are breaking $1 million in non-employer businesses, the government’s term for those that have no full-time employees except the owners.

The number of nonemployer firms that generate $1 million to $2.49 million in revenue rose to 36,161 in 2016, up 1.6 percent from 35,584 in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That number is up 35.2% from 26,744 in 2011.

So how did Martin grow his agency to $1 million? Recently, he shared his strategies with me. Many of his approaches are instructive for anyone who is selling a consumer product or service online.

Here’s how he pulled it off.

Focus on an area you already know well. It’s easiest to get a running start in a new business if you have already worked in the same industry. By the time he went into business, Martin had already racked up years of experience selling final expense insurance, so there was no need to get a crash course. It was easy for him to explain his product to customers because of that. “I have a very thorough understanding of all of the options out there,” he says.

Find an efficient way to attract customers. Although Martin knew his product well, he didn’t have experience in marketing, so he sought outside help. He hired a company called SellTermLife.com to build a website for him that would rank well in Google and help him get leads, through a customized marketing plan. He put up the website in June 2016.

Even with expert assistance, it was slow going at first. “It took me six months before I got a single lead from Google,” he says. Nonetheless, Martin kept showing up at his desk every day to build up his website. “You’re really going for a long-term play,” he says.

It took stamina to stay committed during those early months. The battle to get market share wasn’t the only one he was waging. For entrepreneurs, he believes, the real fight is to keep showing up for your business, even when it would be easy to slack off. “The majority of the fighting you’re doing is completely against yourself,” he says.

After Martin got his first lead, his momentum accelerated. Two months after that, he started getting daily leads through his site—and now it brings in many more. “It feeds me a never-ending flow of ready-to-buy customers,” says Martin.

Offer top-quality content. In working on his marketing plan, Martin had learned from the team at SellTermLife.com that it was important to publish high-quality, informative content to attract people to his site. As readers clicked on practical articles he wrote on topics such as state-regulated life insurance, life insurance for 89-year-olds and buying insurance for your parents, the site gradually built a strong organic rank in Google.

Here again, sticking with a niche subject he knew served Martin well. “You cannot find another website that sells this type of insurance that has anywhere near the level of in-depth, accurate information about this product,” says Martin.

Creating robust content took a serious investment of time, given that Martin did not have a writer on retainer. Every day during the week and for five to eight hours on the weekends, he’d create articles that address commonly-asked questions about final expense insurance. The articles attracted people who were already seriously interested in his product and also helped him to “own” certain search-term keywords, including “long-tail” phrases—such as questions customers might type into a search engine.

To figure out which keywords mattered most,  Martin researched which ones were most commonly used, relying on tools such as Google’s keyword planner and SEM Rush. He also tapped his own knowledge of the field. “After selling this type of insurance for so long, I know the words people use,” says Martin.

Automate your leads. Martin’s site enables people to “request to apply” for the insurance by filling out a form. By the time a prospect has filled out the form, Martin knows he or she is serious.

To avoid losing track of these leads, Martin set up his site so the leads automatically go to his customer relationship management (CRM) system. Once it feeds him their contact information, he reaches out by phone, prioritizing the newest leads. “The person who has submitted a lead most recently is always the best person to call,” he says.

Thanks to this system, Martin never has to chase anyone down to get them to listen to a sales presentation. “I’m in a really unique situation in the world of selling insurance,” says Martin. “I actually don’t really sell anymore. For all intents and purposes, I’m more of a cashier. I just take orders.”

Embrace remote work. Many insurance agents spend a good part of their day driving to and from appointments with customers. Not Martin.

When customers decide to buy, Martin guides them by phone through a remote application process that the insurance companies have put in place. Sometimes customers sign documents using a program such as DocuSign. Other times, they use a voice signature on the phone.

Working virtually in this way helps Martin make the most of his time every day. “I’ve never met a person face to face to process the deals,” he says. “It’s all done remotely.”

Stay focused. Some of Martin’s contacts have recommended that he sell Medicare supplements or cancer plans. He always says no. “The reason I’m really successful in this space is I have been hyper-focused at being the most expert authority you can imagine on this type of insurance,” says Martin. When he gets an inquiry from someone who wants to buy insurance outside of his niche, he refers the prospect to a trusted industry colleague.

Martin does not look for reciprocal referrals, finding that leads that arrive this way are generally not as inclined to buy as the prospects who come in through his own website. “Right now if I had to choose between serving a customer who has said ‘I’m ready to apply. Please sign me up,” or a referral who has a question, I’m not going to make as much money from a referral,” he says. “That’s why I tell people ‘Don’t refer people to me.’ I allocate my working hours to people who are ready to sign up.”

One thing that helps Martin attract business is having a large number of positive online reviews. He requests reviews from customers automatically using TrustPilot’s automated system.

Keep overhead low  Martin started out working from home in Roseville, Calif., but when his website traffic started to increase dramatically in March 2017 and he saw the business’s full growth potential, he realized there would be tax advantages to locating to Nevada, which has no state income tax. Licensing costs were also lower. He rented an office there for $2,500 a month.

Having the space is important because soon, Martin believes, he’ll need to hire other agents. “I have so much web traffic and so many leads that if I want to continue to monetize a lot of what is possible, I will have to hire agents to process those deals as well,” he says.

In the meantime, Martin keeps the rest of his overhead to about $500 a month. That covers his errors & omissions insurance, licensing fees and CRM subscription.

 Protect your most precious resource. In a one-person business, where you have no one to back you up, staying healthy is essential.

Although Martin works long hours as he grows his business, he always finds time to work out. Rising at 4:30 a.m. every morning, he goes to a gym where he can do strength training and play basketball. Then he heads home for breakfast and starts making phone calls from his office around 7:30 a.m.

On the weekends, Martin and his wife, Christelle, love to enjoy the outdoors with their German Shepherds, Bear, and his new adopted sibling, eight-week-old Olive. “I could definitely sleep more,” Martin says—but his life is too full of good things at the moment to spend much time hitting the snooze button.

Elaine Pofeldt is author of The Million-Dollar, One Person Business (Random House, January 2, 2018), a book looking at how to break $1M in revenue in a business staffed only by the owners.

I am the author of The Million-Dollar, One Person Business, a Random House book looking at how everyday Americans are breaking $1 million in revenue in businesses

Source: He Left The World of Traditional Employment And Built a Million-Dollar, One-Person Business

Where You Want To Be: The Meaning Of Mentorship

Slightly more than a decade ago, I welcomed my second child into the world, while waiting to hear if I had been selected into a dermatology residency program. After five grueling years at the country’s top medical school—while raising two babies, and continuing to accrue debt—I was more than eager to start my life as an actual doctor. Today, I am a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon specializing in hair restoration, ethnic skin care, and skin cancer surgery in Kansas City and New York City. The immense amount of unwavering determination and hard work that was necessary to arrive at this point in my career cannot be understated…….

Source: Where You Want To Be: The Meaning Of Mentorship

%d bloggers like this: