Business Planning- Do It Yourself or Hire It Out?

StyleLadyStyleLady subscriber Posts: 1
edited March 2008 in Business Planning
   I would like to know what everyone thinks about this, what they`ve done, and what they wish they would`ve done. I am currently in the process of helping my husband jumpstart an online webstore that is "his dream". He has many ideas and all are very good but he has no business background. I however, am in the process of earning my bachelors in business management. So I do have some skills, but not as much as I think I`ll need!
 
We purchased software to help do our business plan and once we saw what we had to do, we kind of both "freaked". It seems so overwhelming. We are having an issue with the financials because as it stands, without being and actual "business entity" we cannot get costs on the things that we want to sell. This is hindering our process of being able to see "if we can make it". Does anyone have any suggestions regarding this? Would it be better to just turn it over to a business consultant and let them do the plan considering we really do not know what we are doing?
 
 
Any advice/help would be greatly appreciated!
 
Thank you all!
 
Jessica

Comments

  • robertjrobertj Tampa Bay, Floridasubscriber Posts: 0 Member
    My thoughts are:
    1. In response to your "should we just turn it over to a consultant" my answer is NO - - you need participate in the process. I do think you would benefit from engaging someone who can provide insight, advice and assistance with the plan development.
    2. I`d concentrate on the revenue side first. Determine how much you can sell it for -independent of cost.
  • StyleLadyStyleLady subscriber Posts: 1
    Thank you for your response. I have started the process of determining what products we are going to sell and for what cost, though cost can range from several dollars to hundreds of dollars difference from selling price.
     
    We also need to start a website and I wonder if we should start that and have it a work in progress before we even start selling?
  • Badger82Badger82 subscriber Posts: 0
    Go at it one side at a time. Figure out what you`re going to sell, then determine (guess) what your sales will be. Be conservative. Go at the expense side then. Think of every possible expense - website, shipping, payroll (if any), accountant and other professional advise, corporate filings, overhead - every possible thing. Then match them up to see if its feasible. Then you can worry about the cash flow and formal financials of a business plan program. Make sure it has the potential to work before you spend a ton of time on the plan (that should be done when the business is being planned, not when you`re deciding whether to do it)
  • BizAtTheBeachBizAtTheBeach subscriber Posts: 0
    First of all are you going to be using the business plan to try to obtain outside funding or are you just doing it to confirm the viability of the business?  It`s always a good excercise to write a business plan as a reality check on what you will need to accomplish to be profitable.  Try to find a business plan (already completed by someone) for a similar business in an online search and use it as a guide to do yours.  It may not be polished enough to present to investors, but at least you will see everything that your business will need to do to succeed.  It may open your eyes quite a bit!
  • Frank630Frank630 subscriber Posts: 2
    There are a lot of options to starting an online store without spending a lot of money. If we assume that you both know what product you will be selling, you do not need an e-tail outlet (e-commerce website) to sell your stuff. You can use e-Bay and try out your own "store". The advantage to this is is that your costs are well-known in advance and you have a ready access to a broad range of buyers. A simple "back of the envelop" business plan would be sufficient to determine whether you want to proceed. Note that expenses will "come out of the woodwork" even in this case - entity filings, photographs, shipping and handling, product returns, etc. These will need to be allowed for.
     
    Assuming now that you do not know what you will be selling, a business plan would not help very much.
     
    Business plans are like owner`s manuals for a business. How many people read them? Not many. How many business owners should know every word in the business plan? All of them. I consult my business plan everyday, because it lays out activities that I actually do everyday.
     
    I suggest you look at it that way.
  • startuphelperstartuphelper subscriber Posts: 2

       We purchased software to help do our business plan and once we saw what we had to do, we kind of both "freaked". It seems so overwhelming. We are having an issue with the financials because as it stands, without being and actual "business entity" we cannot get costs on the things that we want to sell.... Would it be better to just turn it over to a business consultant and let them do the plan considering we really do not know what we are doing?   Jessica
     Jessica you bring up several points that should be addressed. First of all the type of business you are trying to create, an online webstore, shouldn`t require the same in depth planning as a brick and mortar store. I commend you for attempting to complete your start up tasks as a serious business owner should. However, you don`t need to overwhelm yourself to the point of becoming discouraged. I speak from experience as the owner of an online business and as a previous owner of a retail store. Acknowledging the fact that a business plan looks, at first glance, to be totally overwhelming, I always advice folks to write their own. I feel so strongly about that topic that I have written a manual titled "You Can Write Your Own Successful Business Plan". I use a very simple, step-by-step technique that makes it totally doable. Having said that, I will tell you that for an online webstore, you may not need to go through the entire process of creating a full out, traditional business plan. If you are attempting to create an online business along the lines of Amazon, then yes, of course, go all the way with all of your start up tasks. If,  however, you will be using dropshipping methods, or selling a few of your own products, or creating an affiliate type site, then your start up and ongoing costs will be minimal. You should decide exactly what you will be selling so that you know the type of website to design. You might be able to use a simple template type design or you can create your own website very affordably and easily (http://smallbusinessstartup.biz/blog/?page_id=4). You don`t need to be a "business entity" to be able to determine the costs of your products. If you are trying to purchase items wholesale, you simply need to register your business with your county offices, then obtain a reseller ID from your state.  Very simple, very low cost. Vendors will require the reseller ID to give  you wholesale pricing.  And one more point about business entities....don`t get caught up in the LLC trap. So many new business owners automatically jump on the LLC bandwagon needlessly. They believe that by going that route, they are automatically protecting their personal assets. That is a falicy. While there is some semblance of protection, that "protection" is null and void when you sign a Personal Gaurantee. For example, business owners are required to sign that Personal Gaurantee by credit card merchant companies (you will need to be able to accept credit cards). That is how vendors, lendors, realtors, etc., get around the corporate "protection". But again, as an online webstore owner, you won`t need to deal with all of that. Good luck with your new venture!
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