6 Business Plan Mistakes: Beware These Business Start-Up Blunders

Any start-up business requires a business plan to prosper. The question, however, is whether or not the business plan will actually help the start-up succeed.

Business plan mistakes are common with entrepreneurs starting their first companies. They don’t think through the actual benefits of a business plan; instead, they simply write one because they know it is what they are supposed to do. Keep in mind that a business plan serves a valuable purpose.

  1. The Business Plan Contains Grammatical Errors

An entrepreneur does not have to ask his high school English teacher to correct his business plan, but a start-up business should be run by a reasonably intelligent human being. Grammatical mistakes, such as spelling and punctuation errors, are red flags that the plan was written by someone who just didn’t care.

To avoid these types of business plan mistakes, it is important for start-up entrepreneurs to review it carefully for the tiniest of errors. The document should flow easily from one section to another and the copy should be free of mistakes. Don’t rely on the spell- and grammar-check capabilities of software applications, either; they won’t catch all the errors.

  1. The Business Plan is Not Written with Investors in Mind

A business plan is intended for many purposes, not the least of which is securing financing from outside investors. When writing such a plan, entrepreneurs should step into the shoes of potential readers to see how they might perceive it. Does the business plan tell investors why they should put up their money for this enterprise? Is it persuasive enough? Does it answer the most important questions?

Play devil’s advocate to avoid business plan mistakes. It should lay out all of the reasons why this start-up might not work out, then strategically outline the ways in which the business owner will ensure those issues do not result in the failure of the business.

  1. The Business Plan is Poorly Presented

A start-up business plan should be printed on high-quality paper and with a laser printer. This ensures the best presentation for the plan and will impress whoever reads it. A business owner might keep a copy that he ran off a standard ink jet printer on lightweight copy paper, but a more pristine copy should be reserved for presentation to investors and banks.

  1. The Business Plan Makes Assumptions

There are two major assumptions inherent in most amateur business plans. The first is that investors, banks and other readers will understand the industry jargon used to explain the foundation of the enterprise; the second is that assertions will be taken at face value.

To avoid these business plan mistakes, it is imperative that start-up entrepreneurs explain everything in fine detail. Don’t assume that others will know what you are talking about; put it in plain English. And if you state assertions, such as statistics or eventualities, back them up with properly-cited data from reputable resources to enhance your business start-up.

  1. The Business Plan Doesn’t Shine

What makes this startup business amazing? What about the business screams, “Success!” A business plan isn’t just intended to outline the specifics of a start-up; it is also meant to sell the business to investors, lenders and prospective employees. Why is this business special?

Think long and hard about what will make this business succeed beyond its competitors. It could be a specific brand of customer service, an ingenious product line or an attention-grabbing slogan. Make those specifics stand out above everything else.

  1. The Business Plan is Not Realistic

Every business start-up has a downside. There is no perfect start-up. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of avoiding the negative, afraid that bringing up potential obstacles will scare off investors. Nothing could be worse for a business plan. Instead, face the challenges head-on in clear, easy-to-read text, then describe what will be done to overcome them. A realistic business plan is actually better than a perfect one.

These business plan mistakes are fairly common, but they can be overcome when entrepreneurs are honest about their start-up businesses. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put together a slam-dunk business plan, but it does require hard work and effort.

Business Idea: Garage Sales Specialist: Profit Selling Other People’s Junk

Organizing a successful garage sale takes a certain amount of skill. One must dedicate a considerable time and planning to profit in this venture.

A garage sale might be a one-time event for an individual who is trying to dispose of unwanted items. Or a planned event for a group or charitable organization. In order to really profit a well written and thought out business plan is necessary. The plan should cover startup cost, pricing, advertising, and marketing tactics. Most people are not willing or able to devote the necessary time or energy to organizing a garage sale on a grand scale. This is exactly why an aggressive garage sales specialist will enter the picture.

Garage Sales Background

Essentially the garage sales specialist is a professional reseller of items which are donated or collected from people who lack the time or ability to organize and sale the items. Essentially the specialist is also a liquidator of people’s accumulated “junk” through the garage sale venue. This business has the potential to earn considerable profits if planned and promoted aggressively.

Garage Sales Startup Cost

The startup cost depends heavily on the size and length of the sale or if the specialist or customer are responsible for advertising costs. Cost is more of course if a lawyer is consulted along with other professionals.

Garage Sales Pricing

Draw up a contract which clearly outlines the terms and services provide to the customer. Avenge commissions run 20 percent and up of the sales.

Garage Sales Marketing Tips

Place classifieds in local papers advertising a garage sale on the specified date and time, location. Run the ad a week before the garage sale date. Check other garage sales ads to get inspiration on how to write a good attention grabbing advertisement.

Place posters (where permitted) around the neighborhood announcing the garage sale. Place flyers on bulleting boards in community centers. Print business cards and hand them out to everyone you meet.

Design a one page website devoted to advertising a garage sales specialist business. And promote the website URL on business cards and stationery, flyers, posters.

Place ads on any of the free garage sales advertising website.


  • Tags
  • Receipt Books
  • Bags
  • Advertising Signs
  • Portable Cash Register
  • Computer/Office setup
  • Internet Connection
  • Record Keeping Software


Hold a garage sale for yourself, family, friends to get familiar with the process. Visit other garage sales and watch how the host handles sales and customers. Good organizational skills are a must. Good business sense. Like dealing with all kinds of people. Tip: Take a course in antiques or collectibles.

Best Customers

Families, singles, couples, moving to a new home and want to dispose of their junk. Search out local realtors and leave business cards.

Potential Income

Varies according to the owner’s promotional skills and sales ability. Capitalize on this business today. And remember to check local requirements. A permit might be necessary to operate this business in your location.

Capitalize on this idea today to start making profits with a garage sales specialist biz.

Survey- Environmental Issues Top Companies’ Plan: Businesses Choose to Offset Carbon to Prevent Climate Change

According to the Carbon Management and Offsetting Trends Survey Report , about three-quarters of companies in the survey are implementing carbon management strategies, up from 2015. The survey is the result of a partnership among EcoSecurities, Baker & McKenzie LLP, and ClimateBiz, all based in Dublin, Ireland. The survey was compiled by several authors and was released Sept. 23, 2016.

About two-thirds of the 300 companies surveyed are measuring their carbon footprint caused from greenhouse gases. A little more than half of North American companies are looking at their carbon footprint and their greenhouse gases compared to 92% of Australian firms and 62% of European companies.

Companies Implementing Other Environmental Strategies

Even if companies don’t have a carbon management strategy or are measuring their carbon footprint, they are taking action to protect the environment.

  • 85% implement energy-efficient measures
  • 79% conduct recycling activities
  • 68% reduce waste
  • 92% are interested in solar power
  • 86% are interested in wind power

They are doing these activities because they are economical and represent the easiest actions companies can take to save the environment.

“It’s highly encouraging to see this growth in interest from companies taking climate action despite the doom-and-gloom outlook on the global economy this year,” said Wheeland, one of the authors. “There’s still plenty of room for improvement.”

Companies Buying Carbon Offsets

Companies have begun one strategy to protect the environment. They showed a strong interest in offsetting their carbon footprint by buying carbon offsets or planning to buy offsets. Of those that bought offsets in the last two years, some offset air travel and offset specific services or products.

The number of companies offsetting their carbon footprint is likely to increase as they work hard to meet carbon neutrality targets. Budgetary concerns are the main reasons companies have stopped offsetting carbon before the mandated targets take effect in 2012.

In addition, one-third of companies said they lack an understanding of offsets. More work must be done to help consumers and corporate officials accept the strategies, the report said. Companies also worry about new regulations or uncertainty in regulatory environment regarding offsets.

The survey pointed out alternatives to carbon offsetting. Companies have chosen to reduce internal emissions, invested in community projects and contributed to adaptation projects. When broken down by region, the survey found the rest of the world favored adaptation where the effects of climate change are felt most.

According to the Carbon Management and Offsetting Trends Survey companies are actively pursuing buying carbon offsets, finding ways to protect the environment and setting aside portions of their budgets for these activities.

Icebreaker Questions for Business Meetings: How to Unite a Small Team of Workers

Icebreaker questions are a good way to start a meeting since getting to know each person better can result in more unity and better productivity.

Icebreaker questions for business meetings are slightly more formal and less intrusive to the employees’ personal life. The purpose is to tie a team closer together in order to facilitate the joint effort of several members starting or finishing a project. As each person gets to know the other person’s strengths, likes and hobbies, whoever has the task of delegating will find it easier to do so.

Before the Meeting

Choose a good meeting place. Depending on the size of the group and the meeting type, meeting places may range from a company’s conference room, coffee shops to hotel meeting rooms. In addition, rather than jotting down a few notes here and there on what to discuss, be more organized by making an outline and agenda sheet. It shows more professionalism and compels others to act similarly. While planning the schedule, leave enough time in the beginning for icebreakers.

Icebreaker Activities

Conduct a mini speed networking session if the group has 10 to 15 members and consists of people who don’t know each other. Set up a rectangular table with five chairs on each side. Set the timer so that each pair will have one or two minutes to get to know one another. Provide a sample of questions they can ask. When the time is up, make only one row scoot one seat to the right or left so that everyone gets a chance to meet the whole team. The person on one edge will move to the other edge.

For a smaller group or as an alternative to the speed networking exercise, pair people up and give them a maximum of five minutes to extract as much relevant information as they can from each other. After the time is up, each pair should introduce the other person to the whole group.

Icebreaker Questions for Business Meetings

The following questions are possible icebreaker questions that can be asked in the above activities.

  1. What kind of sports or activities do you enjoy?
  2. What kind of books do you enjoy?
  3. What type of magazines do you like reading?
  4. What did you study in college?
  5. What was your favorite traveling experience?
  6. What are your favorite hobbies?
  7. What is your favorite Michael Jackson song?
  8. Tell me something unique about yourself.
  9. What is your passion?
  10. Describe yourself in three words.
  11. If you had to relate yourself to a turtle, rabbit, tiger or bear, which one would it be and why?
  12. How did you find out about the company and what do you do?
  13. What are some of your short term or long term goals?
  14. What skills do you admire in others?
  15. What are some of your pet peeves?

Icebreaker questions for business meetings can be more effective when used with specific activities like the ones above. It’s not only fun, but it also engages the brain, promotes unity and helps people remember one another better since everyone’s involvement and participation are required.

Technical, Business & Trade Editing Pay Rates: Average Payment for Medical, Science & Corporate Editors

Technical editors are among the highest paid in the business of editing, especially when knowledge of the business or trade is necessary.Technical editors should apply for positions that require a knowledge of terminology they are familiar and comfortable with.

Pay for Technical Editing

Technical editors can expect to be paid by the hour.

  • The average pay rate is $70 per hour.
  • The high end of payment is $100 per hour.
  • The low end of payment is $33 per hour.

Pay for General Business Editing

Business editors can expect to be paid by the hour.

  • The average pay rate is $70 per hour.
  • The high end of payment is $150 per hour.
  • The low end of payment is $25 per hour.

Pay for Copy Editing for Businesses

Copy editors can expect to be paid by the hour or by the page.

  • The average pay rate is $60 per hour or $3 per page.
  • The high end of payment is $125 per hour or $4 per page.
  • The low end of payment is $25 per hour or $2 per page.

Pay for Editing Corporate Periodicals

Corporate periodical editors can expect to be paid by the hour.

  • The average pay rate is $70 per hour.
  • The high end of payment is $125 per hour.
  • The low end of payment is $40 per hour.

Pay for Editing Newsletters

Newsletter editors can expect to be paid by the hour or by the page.

  • The average pay rate is $60 per hour or $180 per page.
  • The high end of payment is $100 per hour or $225 per page.
  • The low end of payment is $30 per hour or $150 per page.

Pay for Medical and Science Editing

Medical and science editors can expect to be paid by the hour or by the page.

  • The average pay rate is $65 per hour or $3.50 per page.
  • The high end of payment is $125 per hour or $4 per page.
  • The low end of payment is $30 per hour or $3 per page.

Pay for Medical and Science Proofreading

Medical and science proofreaders can expect to be paid by the hour.

  • The average pay rate is $50 per hour.
  • The high end of payment is $125 per hour.
  • The low end of payment is $18 per hour.

Business, technical and trade editorial jobs typically have more requirements than other editing positions, but this trade off equals higher pay. If you are a beginning editor, expect to be paid on the lower end of the payment spectrum, but similarly, if you have experience or are more knowledgeable than most in a field, do not be afraid to ask for a higher pay rate.

Data Encryption Adds Business Value: Serious Security Breaches and Loss of Data Occur Frequently

Even unregulated organizations need to protect data on portable devices. There is also the issue of’ ‘safe harbor,’ under which organizations do not have to notify individuals in the event of a security breach, provided data was encrypted.

Data Losses Increasing

The proliferation of mobile devices has resulted in significant losses of data through either carelessness or theft. These devices also get lost or become categorized as missing, putting large amounts of data at risk of being stolen and compromised. One data protection technique which is being applied to mobile devices and is gaining momentum from user organizations, is encryption. Full-disk encryption is an encryption technique which adds value to an organization’s product or service offerings, since it ensures that shared data is secure.

Encryption Methodologies

Two types of encryption are currently available to user organizations: self-encrypting hard drives and software-based full-disk encryption. Together, these two techniques can provide a high level of protection by ensuring that there will be no loss of data can occur if a third party retrieves a mobile device. Useful information and access to it should not be restricted by the selected encryption technique. With encryption, mobile operations can be expanded and authenticated users can more easily and securely share information.

Encryption can aid organizations to in achieve regulatory compliance objectives with reduced risk. The best encryption products are those which are integrated into existing technologies and systems, cannot be bypassed, and are transparent to users. Existing security technologies, for example, firewalls and threat management systems, as well as operating systems and all hardware devices, need to be integrated with the selected encryption technology.

Layers of Protection

Supporting hardware and software technologies, such as self-encrypting hard drives and trusted erasable hardware devices, can add additional benefits to the encryption process and add an additional layer of protection, as well as reducing the cost of re-vamping or adapting older hardware devices. In particular, full-disk encryption ensure that confidential information such as file names are not visible, reducing costs and preventing the loss of personal, identifiable information.

Productivity gains will be accomplished through ease of deployment, management and use, provided the right solution is implemented. This implementation requires centralized management capabilities, encryption software, cryptographic keys and security policies, that are readily deployable and easily managed, while not placing additional demands on IT resources. The complexities and cost of using encryption systems bring other benefits to an organization and its user base, including a robust self-service capability and provisions for changing encryption keys and replacing forgotten passwords.

Decision Making for Business Leaders: Stress Relief and Critical Thinking for Problem Solving

Reducing stress through stress management techniques is helpful for the critical thinking process required for effective decision making and problem solving.

Most people, when confronted with a tough decision or a problem to solve will settle on the first plausible solution. This is, according to the book, The Thinker’s Toolkit: 14 Powerful Techniques for Problem Solving by Morgan D. Jones, called satisficing. Jones explains that the term satisficing was coined by Herbert Simon in 1955. It is a merger of the words ‘satisfy’ and ‘suffice’. A person practicing satisficing settles for the first solution they can think of rather than searching analytically through facts to find the best solution to a problem.

The Value of Critical Thinking

People make bad decisions every day. No one is exempt. Anyone can make a bad decision. Developing effective decisions is a common challenge both in business and in everyday life. Problem solving and decision making requires taking the time to look for alternative solutions without involving emotions. Business leaders need to look at the information available while considering stakeholder’s perspectives. No decision will ever please everyone, but an effective decision maker in business needs to come up with the best possible solution.

Use Stress Management Techniques for Problem Solving

One decision making tool most people can easily use for problem solving is learning what went wrong. Trying to fix a problem without understanding how it became a problem leads to bigger problems. Getting upset or even scared when things go wrong is part of being human. It is a part of being human that a good leader needs to be able to work through quickly because making decisions when emotionally stressed means the decisions are being made without all of the information that is needed.

An emotionally stressed leader – if untrained in decision making and problem solving – is likely to revert to the very human reaction of grabbing the first solution that comes along. This very basic part of human nature makes it important for effective leaders to know how to calm themselves quickly. A couple of deep, calming breaths will be helpful for some leaders, while others may need a few moments alone to do a yoga stretch. Other managers should try any stress relief strategy they are comfortable using.

Two Types of Decision Making to Consider

Decisions made when calm – and after considering as many alternatives as possible – are likely to be the most effective. Robert H. Vaughn, in his book Decision Making and Problem Solving in Management, breaks the decision making process into two segments: Programmed decisions and Non-Programmed decisions. Programmed decisions refer to the basic decision-making process that is involved in the planning process.

Non-Programmed decisions are the responses to the unexpected. Non-Programmed decisions involve problem solving skills. They are the responses leaders are required to develop when the unexpected happens. The things that cannot be foreseen are often the most troublesome in business. All decision making efforts go through a basic process but problem solving skills have to be more directly focused. Problem solving skills will be focused on the threat at hand and also on preventing it from happening again.

Benefits of Effective Decision Making

There are multiple benefits business leaders will see from becoming trained and practiced in decision making and problem solving skills. The first benefit is that fewer profits will be lost due to bad decisions. Another benefit is that employees will have better morale. No one wants to work for a weak leader. People do not like to work for leaders who routinely make bad decisions. That drives up costs for the company because it is expensive to hire and train an employee only to have to do it all over again in a week or a month.

Business Strategy Execution – Core Processes: Leadership for Success – Critical Business Processes

The heart of strategy execution lies in three vital business processes: People, Strategy and Operations.

Execution is the key to success in today’s business environment. It is the job of the business leader to prosecute the building blocks of execution – leader behavior, creation of a framework for cultural change and maximizing human capital – with intensity, depth and rigor. But this cannot be done without effective processes to support the effort.

In their book, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, former Honeywell CEO Larry Bossidy and renowned management consultant Ram Charan describe three core business processes for execution:

  • The People Process
  • The Strategy Process
  • The Operations Process

Every company uses them, but too often they stand alone in silos. The business leader owns these processes – not the staffs in human resources, strategic planning or finance – and must be deeply engaged in all of them.

The People Process: Link Strategy with Operations

Of the three core processes, the people process is the most critical. If businesses fail to get this right, they will never achieve their full potential. A robust people process accomplishes three important things:

  • In-depth and accurate evaluations of people
  • Identification and development of the leadership talent necessary to execute the company’s strategy
  • Development of the leadership pipeline that forms the basis for succession planning

The people process ensures that the organization has the right kinds and numbers of people by linking to strategic milestones over the near, mid- and long terms as well as to operating plan targets. This can involve the tough decision to replace people if they lack the skills required to pursue the strategy.

In order to have the right people in place, the leadership pipeline also must be effective. Talent management involves the assessment of potential future leaders – in terms of both quality and quantity – and determination of how well talent in the pipeline matches up with the human resource requirements of the business strategy. It also requires analysis of retention risk and spotting high potential people who are in the wrong jobs. In addition, nonperformers are identified and either moved to jobs that fit their capabilities or moved out altogether.

In order to link people processes with execution, Human Resources must be integrated into business strategy and operations. This requires HR staffs to expand their capabilities beyond their traditional functions and to develop business acumen, critical thinking skills and the ability to make the linkage between strategy and execution.

The Strategy Process: Link People with Operations

An effective strategic planning process identifies and defines critical issues, questions the assumptions on which the strategy is based and determines organizational capability to execute the strategy. A strong plan will include several key components:

  • Assessment of the external environment
  • Understanding of existing customers and markets
  • Determination of the best way to grow the business profitably
  • Analysis of the competition
  • Analysis of the company’s ability to execute the plan
  • Balance of short term and long term requirements
  • The Operations Process: Link Strategy with People

The strategy process defines the destination for the business, the people process identifies who will get it there and the operations process lays out the pathway, breaking down long term goals into short-term targets.

While the business leader must be must be intimately familiar with all these processes, he or she is not the only one involved in defining the roadmap for execution. All the people accountable for executing the strategy must participate in operations planning.

There are two key things to remember:

  • Synchronization: The entire organization – all its interdependent parts – must have a common understanding of the external environment and other critical factors. That way, they can match their goals and link their priorities with those of the other parts of the organization.
  • Assumptions: A clear understanding of the underlying assumptions allows the organization to build the budget on realities and to set realistic goals and milestones.