How to Build Your Business Plan

    I decided to get a deeper into how to build business plan – not any business plan but good one. First reaction: I can’t do that, that’s too complicated but the bigger problem was –> where should I start? How to embrace everything and not forget about important factors? And at the same time how not to lost yourself along the way?
    business plan

Lets start from Wikipedia definition of business plan:

A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons why they are believed attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals.

Business Plan is a road-map to the future. Well written business plan is a dynamic, evolving, living document. Business Plan is one of the steps to entrepreneurship:
idea –> research –> business plan –> funding –> start up –> money

11 steps of typical business plan:

  • title page –> don’t forget to add contact details
  • table of content
  • business description, service/product description
  • business model –> how will your company make money? Mission – your reason for being/Vision – what you strive to accomplish/Values – all principles that guide you
  • market analysis + your competition + your customer –> you need to know who is your direct competitor and who is your client. Do you know what your customer want? Who is your customer? Where to reach them?
  • marketing, target, sales strategy
  • organization –> management strategy, operational plan (how, when, what, where will do)
  • goals and objectives –> details regarding your goals. What do you expect to accomplish + how you will measure your goals.
  • financial planning –> where you will get the money for your business? etc.
  • action steps –> time frames
  • executive summary –> it’s your “business plan elevator speech”. Just few pages of summary
    We need a business plan to validate whether all the money, time and efforts we want to invest in our business will give us any return from investment. Well, I really would like to do such analysis before I start investing my money or time.

While creating business plan don’t forget to ask yourself few questions:

  • Why you?
  • why your business?
  • What benefits will your customer get choosing your business?
  • What should your customer remember about your business?
  • What is your image/brand?
  • What kind of relationship do you want to build with your customer?

Every time when you think “business plan” think also SWOT analysis. What’s SWOT? It’s a strategic planning method used to evaluate:

  • Strengths –> internal characteristics of the business or team that give it an advantage over others in the industry
  • Weaknesses –> internal are characteristics that place the firm at a disadvantage relative to others
  • Opportunities –> external chances to make greater sales or profits in the environment.
  • Threats –> external elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business.

involved in a project or in a business venture

    SWOT Analysis youtube video (10min):

Few additional links you might find useful:


Facebook on Your Wrist


    Do you like to share photos and update your Facebook status while on vacation? Do you get impatient when you have to find free Wi-Fi or nearest available computer with internet access? of course you can pay your mobile provider for internet access (good luck with if you are abroad) or you can go and look for free Wi-Fi at the hotel you are staying at. But it takes time and some efforts and what is most important – it takes time (and usually it won’t be “live”).
    …so how to share your off-line holiday experience on-line “live”?
    Check how Ushuaia Beach Hotel in the European summer clubbing capital (Ibiza) has combined guests’ obsession with Facebook and cutting edge RFID technology by using wristbands.
    What’s the RFID technology?

smart labels, also called radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. RFID tags are intelligent bar codes that can talk to a networked system to track every product that you put in your shopping cart.

    Hotel’s guests are wearing RFID wristbands and every time they want to share pictures or update their Facebook status all they have to do is to swipe the wristband at various RFID-points that the hotel has set up around the resort. Using their wristband they can login to their Facebook account and take a picture/update status/post comments.

youtube video here:

QR codes are getting more and more popular all over the world. Companies are using qr codes more often, but how about RFID tags/labels? As long as that RFID-technology is well known in retail industry (e.g. books at the bookstore) I am not sure how often companies are using this as a part of their marketing strategy.

Do you remember one of my previous posts regarding Facebook 2 Reasons Why We Love and Hate Facebook?

“See what happens, Facebook, see what happens when worlds collide!”

As long as on-line and off-line worlds collide we might see more of those gadgets on the market. I am wondering what’s next, what new hi-tech gadgets we will see on the market. I can’t wait.

    I guess time will tell.

What is the Hubspot?

hubspot and smexaminer logos

    Have you ever wonder what’s the Hubspot or Social Media Examiner?

HubSpot Inbound Marketing Software helps our 4,000+ customers generate traffic and leads through their websites, and convert more of those leads into customers. HubSpot software includes tools for: blogging, landing pages, lead nurturing, marketing analytics, content management, social media, SEO, CRM integration, email marketing, and more.

    Hubspot it’s a Internet Marketing Company. What they did (and that was great) they started from sharing content by e.g. providing a lot of webinars. I think that it’s similar case study to Social Media Examiner, where Michael Stelzner decided to share content and not trying to sell at first.
    So what Social Media Examiner is all about?:

Social Media Examiner is a free online magazine designed to help businesses discover how to best use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to find leads, increase sales and generate more brand awareness. Technorati and AdAge rank us as one of the world’s Top 100 business blogs. Our more than 92,000 email subscribers look forward to our daily original content.

    Here is an example how Hubspot is trying to get business closer to their service – by offering free 30-days trial, here’s a video:
    I think that’s a great, new way of promoting and building your brand by creating and sharing content and not trying to sell as much as possible right away. I understand that it takes more time and efforts (?) to achieve goals this way but at the same time you are able to build a strong and well-known brand and have a big number of followers/viewers/users/subscribers.
    The moment you have your own business and you need professional support – where will you go to find that? Would you chose company you know or try the one you don’t know? I bet you will try the one you know, right? I think that Social Media Examiner and HubSpot started from building their brands and when they become recognizablevia social media they decided to launch next stage of their business plan – sale.

So what is your strategy?

TV Commercials and Social Media

Have you ever watched TV commercials during Super Bowl or the Oscars ?

If you did – have you every tweeted on Twitter or posted a comment on Facebook about that? If the TV ad is really good/or really bad – people will tweet and watch at the same time. Which means that some of those commercials go viral, that’s why companies need to connect with viewers on multiple platforms.

Here are some of those TV commercials:

  • Volkswagen: Darth Vader Kid (2011)
  • Black Eyed Peas (2011)

Do you remember that (it was a lot about that via social media) that many people watched Super Bowl only for TV commercials? That’s incredible! I guess that’s why some companies are willing to pay $3 million for 30sec. commercial. After all, the buzz about their TV ads will be all over social media.

Here’s TV ads which directly connecting off-world with social media:

  • carnival cruise lines
  • Macy’s Million Dollar Makeover – Casting Call
  • 2011 Toyota Venza Commercial – Social Network

…sure, this is living! ohh and that ad was created by Saatchi & Saatchi.

Do you remember

It’s not enough to promote product/service on TV ad, it has to be connected (somehow) to social media. I am wondering what’s next? What TV commercials will look like in a future. There are hundreds of TV ads with short info at the end “you can find us on Twitter/Facebook” and it was “cool” and “new” few years ago, right now I am not sure if we even pay attention to that info. TV ads will have to be more interactive inviting viewers to interact with the brand/company.

As Edward Boches wrote:

Brands will create more complex forms of advertising. If we’re all to engage and talk about the advertising, it can’t be boring or limited to outbound messages. We need more interactive, conversation-inspiring ideas that invite our participation. Think Frank Rose’s The Art of Immersion. More and more ads will include hashtags, start conversations and seek true consumer involvement, extending the story beyond the thirty-second spot.

…so do you watch TV commercials? I do, and I even like some of them.

Interesting Book to Read – Part 3


Did you read that book?

    Here are some interesting points (in my opinion the best part of the book):
  • “we tried it, it doesn’t work” –> this is exactly the biggest problem, we are impatient, and at the same time social media is a long-term plan. How many small companies doesn’t have even a short-term social media strategy? How many companies first do some research and then create a plan of action? Why they can create a financial strategy, etc. but when comes down to social media it’s hard to believe there should be one?

social media is a long-term play, which is why the majority of the companies that have tried it have failed yo reach their potential. (…) You can’t reap the benefits of social media’s word’s of mouth without strategy and commitment.

  • “We’re doing fine without it” –> why do you think you are fine without social media? because your revenue is high? How high will be your revenue if you tried social media? Did you test it? No? so how do you know?

How do you know you are “fine”? if you are not in the trenches, listening to your customers and asking them what they think?

  • “It takes too long to pay off” –> of course it take long time to pay off! Do you expect to get more clients/more money withing first week or two? It’s not doing to happen, so you better think how to create a long-term communication with your customers, potential customers

Social media is a marathon. (…) Diversification is important.

  • “Social media works only for startup, lifestyle or tech brands” –> no no no! Every business can use social media, it’s all about the content, good idea how to get to your potential customers. The moment we find the right link/common topic to engage people – they will get involved (oh and don’t forget that’s the long-term strategy).

The concrete company’s mission isn’t to get as many people as possible to buy concrete, it’s to get as many people who need concrete to buy concrete. And the biggest challenge, the one that offers the most potential for growth, is to reach people who don’t yet know they need concrete.

OMG What a Traffic

Again, like every day, I opened my Google Reader and went wild on reading interesting (or not) posts.
This time was a little bit different because I decided to focus even more on posts’ titles. I noticed that there are a lot of post regarding “how to drive traffic to you website/blog”. Everything about TRAFFIC and how you can get more MONEY!!!

    traffic titles
    Have you ever wonder what if you get all that great traffic to your blog/www – then what? Do you have a strategy? Do you know what do you need, what is the reason why you want all that traffic?

that’s not all… there were dozens of posts similar to those.


    …too much about traffic, ok so maybe this time about “right keywords” or maybe how to earn a lot of money working on your blog? Sure, after few months writing posts you can earn a lot of money!
    I didn’t find anywhere anything about “hard work”, that before you get big money, you need to (for real) work hard to get that. At least most of the time. I guess people like to talk about the money, how to earn money (as fast as possible), how to become the most popular blogger/…, etc. After all those post I think “wow, it’s so easy. Few weeks and I will be next Lady Gaga among bloggers”, right 😉 Get back to work and try to enjoy it.

What Apple and Starbucks have in Common?

coffee and laptopDo you have an MacBook or iMac? Do you get your coffee every morning from Starbucks?

Have you ever wonder what type of customer do Apple and Starbucks have?
I would say not customers but fans. Apple and Starbucks were able to create products people felt in love with.

So what is their marketing secret? I think it’s all about the culture built around their products. Why so many people think that Starbucks coffee is better than others? I bet there are baristas (coffee experts) who would say that there is better coffee than this from Starbucks. So what? Millions of people are buying Starbucks coffee every day – that’s a proof.
It’s the same with Apple customers. Do the test and try to say something bad about Apple products – I am wondering after how many seconds you will get the feedback that you are ‘soooo wrong’.

Have you noticed that Starbucks do not produce commercials, they are focused on building ‘community‘ and ‘environment‘ for their customers fans. People who are drinking Starbucks coffee feel that they belong to some kind of unique group – and that’s the secret. People are wiling to pay over $4 for one cup of coffee (I’m wondering how big is the retail margin?) just to feel that they are special. Those people are the best ‘everyday’ advertisement. You can create anything better than that. Millions of people with paper cups in almost every country.

Apple fans – exactly the same. People are wiling to pay few hundreds dollars more just to have a product with apple logo. Why? because they want to belong to that ‘special/unique group‘. The logo of apple, those white earphones – you don’t have to say anything because everyone knows – it’s Apple, it’s cool.

I found 2 books you might like:

What’s the Social Media Big Trio?

Have you ever wonder where should you ‘be’ in social media? which social media application you should use? We all know that there are a lot of social media application: SocialMediaLandscape2011
image by fred cavazza

Did you know where exactly you should start your journey with social media?

Maybe the best way is to start from setting your accounts on Big Trio: social media big trio

  • Facebook
  • Linkedin
  • Twitter

Those are (so far) the biggest and most popular social media platforms. You can stay connected with your friends/family/business partners via those three.

You should ask yourself a few questions before you set up your accounts/profiles:

  • private or business or both — will you use those applications to communicate with your friends/family or business partners/customers
  • will you use your mobile or computer or both to access to your social media accounts
  • how often will you update your profiles? — if you want to build the number of followers on Twitter, or make sure your Facebook fans are checking your Facebook page status often

Whether you will decide to have private or professional profile on one of those three platforms – make sure you are consistent. Start from that and then discover more social media platforms.

How to increase social media influance

stadium chairs and field

“Don’t think about the score”

What Brian Solis says about social media mission:

‘Always pay it forward and never forget to pay it back…it’s how you got here and it defines where you’re going.’

I think that the main core we should focus on is our content – what we want to share with others, how we want to share it and when. Depends on the content – how much it will be popular – people will follow that content. If that’s something they don’t need – well…they won’t even bother.

We are used to presenting potential clients our products/services but we are not that much involved in the conversation. What social media is giving us is the possibility to find more clients but we need to change our process of communicating with customers. We need to talk to people, show them what kind of benefits they might get. Clients need to know that we are not only selling something but also helping them by explaining, providing the conversation, sharing information/tips/ideas.
I think that people don’t want to be left alone – they want to feel that any time they are able to reach us and get the information. And that’s what social media are for…helping us to do that – be closer to each other. Commitment is something we need to remember and be able to engage.

Brian Solis is telling about social media influence:

“Influence is not measured by a score, but instead by the culmination of resulting actions. Focusing efforts on solely driving actions is counter productive. As such, focusing efforts to boost scores is as shallow as it is restricted.”

I think Brian wants to show us that we should go further, we should start see the bigger pictures and not only the numbers/profit. I think that profit will come as long as we are focus on quality and communication with people.

Brian Solis: “The distance between who I am and who I want to be is separated only by my actions and words…”

Brian Solis — Author of the acclaimed new book on social media and business, Engage!, Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture

What you can do with content on Facebook

I read a article “Content on Facebook: What Separates a Popular Fan Page from the Rest?” by Kathleen Barth .

Kathleen, like many other social media people, says that content is king. This time she provide us with analyze what allows Facebook fan page maximize its impact.

Owner Content.
Most popular types of content:
Fan Content.
Top reasons fans join a brand page:
image with text find discounts (42%)
image just love products (33%)
video get latest news on products (24%)
text give company ideas on how to improve products (12%)
external link get customer service (12%)
poll complain (6%)
reasons fans choose to follow a page: top reasons to unsubscribe from a fan page:
being treated in a special way by the brand (95%) no longer interested in brand (32%)
be spokesman for brand (94%) information published too frequently (27%)
talk/interaction (77%) information not liked by fan (12%)
not publishing frequently enough (7%)

The whole article you can find at socialmediatoday site
Kathleen Barth — 3 years of social media marketing experience in the Los Angeles area, mostly for entertainment clients. She is available for freelance work.