AP9 BusinessMax Highlights the Basics of a Business Plan for Small-Business Start-ups

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AP9 BusinessMax Delivers Significant Savings on Office Purchases, Services and Other Small-Business Needs

Stamford, CONN. January 1, 2006… When you’re looking into launching a new business, it’s good to have lofty goals, AP9 BusinessMax reports, but it’s much more important to have a plan. Members of AP9 BusinessMax, a leading small-business discount membership program offered by Adaptive Marketing LLC, can develop plans on the basis of reduced costs for various office needs, thanks to the savings offered through the program.

Conventional wisdom suggests that less than half of all new ventures manage to stay in business for four years or more. The reasons given for failed businesses are many: poor marketing, cash-flow and financing problems, bad locations, poor management, a lack of clear objectives and more. Each of these problems can be traced to a single root source though: poor business planning. This re-affirms the need for entrepreneurs to develop a strong business plan before launching what can be an expensive and time-consuming effort to bring their products and/or services to the marketplace.

So what exactly should your business plan offer? As a service to those with an entrepreneurial spirit, AP9 BusinessMax offers a look at business plan basics:

--Determine your audience. If you’re offering oatmeal cookies, are you aiming for the widest possible audience (e.g., everyone who eats oatmeal cookies), or are you looking to claim a niche audience (e.g., college students, diabetics, natural-food lovers)? The size of your intended audience has a direct corollation to the amount of financing you’ll need, whether it’s for production, marketing, distribution, staffing or other costs.

--Define your product or service for your audience. What exactly are you offering? Beyond the obvious -- e.g., “we offer oatmeal cookies with sugar, with sugar and nuts, and sugar-free” -- you need to make your target audience understand why they should choose your oatmeal cookies over a competitor’s oatmeal cookies. “Longer shelf life,” “better taste,” “lower prices” and any other advantages you can offer over your competitors’ cookies need to be factored into your plan.

--Determine your distribution avenue(s). You can’t make money on cookies that have nowhere to go and no way to get there. You need to research any and all potential outlets for your product or service. Will you sell your product in stores? Online? Over the phone? And how will your product reach the end user? A trucking chain? Personal delivery? Express delivery from your home to your customer’s home? Distribution costs can make up a large part of your start-up finance needs, so you’ll need to find the fastest, easiest, cheapest way to bring your product to market.

--Find financing. Unless you’re personally wealthy, you’ll need money from outside sources to get your company up and running. Small business loans are one source, but you’ll need to make sure the rest of your business plan is in order before a bank will even consider lending you the money. Personal investors are another source, but unless they’re hoping to use your company as a write-off (which isn’t an ideal investor relationship if you hope to succeed), they’ll want a firm action plan in place as well.

Starting a new business isn’t easy, but with a solid business plan (and, of course, a desirable product or service), you can make your mark in today’s market. For more information and to check out sample business plans that can help you get started, visit the Small Business Administration website at http://www.sba.gov/.

And look into AP9 BusinessMax, which offers members significant, year-round discounts on supplies, business resources, healthcare needs and much more, via online access through Dealpass.

About AP9 BusinessMax

AP9 BusinessMax is a leading membership discount program offered by Adaptive Marketing LLC. Headquartered in Stamford, Conn., Adaptive Marketing is a category leader in both membership and loyalty programs, bringing value direct to consumers through an array of benefits in healthcare, discounts, security, personal property and personals. Members may access their benefits at DealPass.com, an online portal for Adaptive Marketing membership programs. With broad online and offline distribution capabilities, Adaptive Marketing offers its corporate client partners effective tools to enhance market presence, strengthen customer affinity and generate additional value through programs, such as AP9 BusinessMax.

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