Why You Need One for Your Catering Startup

Are you wondering if you really need a business plan for your catering business? Perhaps you are thinking that as you only plan on starting a relatively small business it won’t really be necessary. Many people think like this and, of course, many people end up failing in their first year of business.

We highly recommend that you avoid becoming yet another business that underestimated costs or found that the market wasn’t ready for what they had to offer. Below we have outlined ten reasons why you must prepare a catering company business plan. We explain how if you do take the time to prepare a plan you will be increasing your chances of being successful with your catering startup.

1) Start in the Right Direction

Many entrepreneurs think that they can start out without doing a lot of planning and research. They feel that they can always pick up a feel for the business as they go. However, some of the early decisions that you make in the life of your business can be difficult to reverse at a later date. You need to have a clear path set out ahead of you so that you can make the right decisions about how to set up the business right from the start.

2) Reinforce Your Ideas

As you slowly get ideas about the catering company that you want to start you will find that these thoughts start floating around in your head. What you imagine yourself doing is often very different from what you are able to do realistically. Nothing is impossible but you just need to work out how to get there.

By putting your ideas down on paper you will be clarifying them in your mind. As you write you will find that you do additional brainstorming. You may get new ideas about what you want to do with your business and you may decide that some of the ideas that you had initially are not really feasible.

3) Figure Out How to Do It

Every entrepreneur has a very idealistic image in their mind of the kind of business that they want. Getting to that point is a process though and you need to work out a path to get there.

One great way to figure out how you will proceed is to first write down what you want to do. Next, write down as many questions as you can about how you are actually going to do it. These will include questions like ‘Will I do on-site or off-site catering?’, ‘How will I get access to kitchen facilities?’ or ‘How many catering jobs will I need to land each month to break even?’. As you slowly work out the answers to the problems that you come across you can write them down in the appropriate sections of your business plan.

4) Know Your Startup Requirements

When you prepare a business plan you will get an accurate idea of exactly what is needed before you launch the company. You will need to consider all of the things that you will need to pay for prior to opening such as catering equipment, initial advertising and so on. When you have calculated the total cost you will then know exactly how much money you need and can look at where this funding will come from.

5) Increase Personal Productivity

You have to be organized when you start a business. Rather than writing things down on loose scraps of paper and hoping for the best you need to have somewhere to compile all of the important data that you collect. A business plan is ideal for this purpose. If you store the business plan as a document on your PC you can simply add new information as you come across it. If you have done your research and have all of you information stored in one convenient location you will be more organized throughout your business launch and you will avoid a lot of unnecessary headaches.

6) Prove the Viability of Your Idea to Others

A business plan is a great way to prove to yourself that your ideas are viable and that the catering company that you are proposing can thrive and make a profit. You will also need a plan in order to prove to other people that the business model that you have in mind is financially sound. Think of your business plan as being like a resume that you can hand out to people who need information about your business. You can always leave out sections that are not relevant to the reader in question.

There are many people who may wish to view your business plan and you should keep them in mind as you put it together. If you are seeking funding then you may have to show the plan to prospective lenders or equity investors. As a caterer you will certainly have to comply with local health and hygiene requirements and these local authorities may expect to see a section in your plan relating to these areas. You may even need to show your business plan to the owner of any kitchen premises that you hope to lease before they agree to sign an agreement with you.

7) Set Goals and Objectives

A business plan is like a road map to success. Your goals are the destinations that you are aiming to get to. They should be fairly realistic and achievable but should also push you to work hard to reach them. You may set financial goals that set out what kind of gross or net monthly income you intend to be earning after your first year. Other goals could also refer to other metrics such as average food cost percentages on catering jobs for example.

8) Identify Weaknesses and Strengths

It is important to assess your strengths and weaknesses and how they will affect you when it comes to competing with the established players in your local catering industry. You may bring competitive advantages to the business such as catering experience or local food and hospitality industry connections. You may also identify personal weaknesses that you can work on improving or weaknesses that your company will face when compared to your better established competitors.

9) Track Your Progress

A business plan should not be forgotten about once the catering business has launched. Refer to the plan regularly to see if you are on track to hit the goals that you set out. Make changes to the plan as you go so that you always have a plan in place for your business going forward at least two or three years.

10) Make Selling Out a Breeze

Many caterers end up selling their businesses if they retire or move on to other projects. A business plan that is up to date can really help when it comes to valuing your business for a potential sale. If your business offers a buyer a blueprint for managing the business and it offers solid proof that the business is making a profit then it could really help you to seal a deal at a favorable price.

Big Mistakes to Avoid So That Your Online Business Will Make Money

Everyday millions of people are motivated to attend workshops to set up an Internet business to make money online. Only a handful will eventually succeed. And they will prove to the world that a good lifestyle awaits he who knows how to make money with an Internet business.

For the majority who are still trying to succeed at Internet business, it is helpful to review whether any of these mistakes had happened. The following helps to identify the wrong actions, and guide the online business to turn around and make money. The online entrepreneur can then go on to fulfill the dream to make money on the Internet.

1. Re-examine the product

Is the product really something that millions of people out there in the world want to buy?

Some additional keyword search analyses should be useful. Sometimes this step can be difficult, especially for online business owners who have already fixed in their mind their own products to sell in their Internet business.

The less risky approach to successfully make money is to sell proven products. Affiliate marketing is selling somebody else’ products, that are already selling well, and get paid a commission for it. Some successful online entrepreneurs trim their risks by doing both.

2. Re-examine the business website?

An online business is still a business. Potential customers that are looking to buy say an LCD TV see so many beautiful professional websites out there in the Internet.

So if an online business owner seriously wishes to make money from customers out there the business website, which is the equivalent of a store front, has got to be comparable if not better. It takes time to create a professional website.

People who set up their online business in their spare times generally are worn out less than half way of their journey to make money online.

One solution is to engage a professional to do up the website for the Internet business. Costs will be incurred, during the initial setup, and every subsequent time a modification is required.

3. Re-examine the traffic to the business website

An Internet business can easily fail to make money because there not enough visitors. Utilizing search engine optimization would allow the online business website to be viewed by other people who are not in the Internet business’ regular mailing lists.

Other methods are Google Pay Per Click and Ad Sense advertising. This involves drafting a simple text or image advertisement to promote your Internet business. Google places them on web pages and a small fee is paid every time a potential customer clicks on them.

Another free method to direct traffic to the Internet business is Articles Marketing. These articles rank high on the search engines, where millions of people notice, and they are brought to the online business website. If they like what they see in the online business website they buy it, and the online business can make money.

There is much to do. To improve the odds to successfully make money, online business owners have to consider which of the above very time-consuming tasks can be delegated to someone else. Mr. Ford did not make money building cars entirely on his own.

Another more preferred method is to launch an affiliate online business, where the product and the selling system are all set up and ready to go. Successful online business owners are seen to do this. They seek out an instant affiliate business and earn money on the Internet as they take their time to gradually master the art of running an online business.

There are advantages. First, the Internet business owner gets to see income fast. Second, the Internet business owner does not pursue the Internet dream on an empty stomach. Third, the running affiliate business serves as an example of an Internet business that works and the system could be adapted to suit the owner’s original online business plan.

Not surprisingly, even after many online entrepreneurs have perfected their original internet business they are still seen selling the affiliate products! After all, why throw away a working bank teller machine?

Internet business owners who have grasped this understanding have become successful way beyond their initial imaginations.

Allan See is full time making money online. The key ingredients to achieving success in doing online business is a businessman mindset. Never re-invent the wheel.

Framework for Making Profitable Small Business Expense Decisions

Small business owners are the proverbial ‘Jack of all trades’ forced to become skilled in all aspects of business from recruiting to compensation, marketing to public relations, budgeting to financial analysis, sales generation to sales management, and all aspects of administering a business every day. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers or quick solutions for this ‘jack of all trades’ when it comes to making decisions about financing the business or investing in various tools and resources to help increase revenue and grow the business. But with a dedicated focus and some basic planning and measurement tools, the small business owner can develop the appropriate solutions, aligned with their business direction and goals.

‘Coaching for Action’ is a framework for small and medium-sized business owners to make the appropriate decisions regarding their expense decisions. This framework lays out the key components of a sound business decision-making model that is easy to apply, if the owner is prepared to do their homework. Application of this framework will result in a good, solid understanding of the business, the marketplace, competitors and customers. Once the owner completes this research and confirmed where it is they want to take their business, they will be much better positioned to figure out which resources they need to continue to grow their business, where they need to invest, and what revenue they should target to realize their business dreams.

‘Coaching for Action’ is a four-step process integrating a number of components necessary to decision-making associated with business growth.

Step One: Assessment: This step requires the most effort as most business owners generally do not make the time or expend the effort to conduct an assessment of their current business – how it is delivering on the goals the owner wants to achieve. This step requires reflection, which requires setting aside time away from the business to review what is working, what is not working, and, ultimately, what needs to change to achieve the next level of performance.

Too many business people are caught up in the daily grind, taking action, without a definitive direction or plan. They have not conducted the appropriate research and find they are working more and more hours but their lifestyle doesn’t seem to be improving. Taking a good look at their current lifestyle- and how it has changed or not over the past few years is a strong indicator of whether or not, their business is actually growing. As part of this step, business owners should ask themselves the following questions, document their answers, and reflect on what they discover.

Are you working the hours you want to work? Are you working more hours for the same revenue? How is your personal and social life? Are you achieving balance between business and personal sides of your daily life?

Is your business wearing you down? What aspects are keeping you awake at night?

Why did you start this business initially? What were your goals? Are you still achieving them? If not, why not?

Being able to visualize their preferred lifestyle will help them to focus more clearly on the direction their business needs to go. Clarity around what they want for themselves, their family and, their employees will go a long way to helping them create the business environment they want.

Step Two: Strategy: There must be clarity about where the owner wants to take their business, what they want it to look like over the next few years. The strategy does not need to be complicated, but it should be clear. Something as simple as “To grow my revenue each year by 10%” provides you with a general target against which they can set annual, quarterly and monthly targets. Running a business is a journey with a destination. The destination may change but the journey has to be planned. Without a strategy, business owners won’t improve or change their lifestyle.

Step Three: Action: Just taking action for action’s sake will not get the owner very far. Actions should be based in the targets set for the month, quarter and year. Actions should be taken in consideration of associated costs, resources required and expended, time periods expected, and market segments to be exploited.

Business owners should think about setting actions that allow them to contribute to the broader community without being monetarily compensated. They may want to offer their expertise as a mentor or a coach for young entrepreneurs, be a speaker to school groups to help them prepare for the workforce of the future, conduct presentations to business groups or not for profit groups seeking expert help. This contribution component should be part of their business plan to enhance their network and influence in the communities or market segments in which they market products and services.

Step Four: Review: Taking a measure of actions taken versus targets will tell owners what works and what doesn’t work. Implementation may not yield desired results but, without detailed review of actions implemented to drive target achievement, one will continue to try the ‘same old thing’ rather than seek out creative solutions. Without review, they also take the risk of not capturing the reasons for success. When success is experienced, it makes sense to figure out why and then create more actions to repeat this success.

Business ownership can be extremely rewarding as well as profitable but it requires significant investment of time and effort as well as clarity of focus and direction. The ‘Coaching For Action’ process can be used as an effective tool to help you establish that clarity of direction and move your business to the next level of performance.