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10 Steps to Improve Your Business Plan

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10 Steps to Improve Your Business Plan

Your business plan is going to service the blueprint for your organization, defining all the necessary steps you’re going to follow as you make your business ready to launch and grow throughout the first few years. This document is also important because it might be persuasive to investors and potential partners.

You may have a draft of your business plan already in the works, but are you sure that your business plan is all that it can be? Is there anything you can do to make it better?

How to Improve Your Business Plan

If you’re looking to punch up your business plan, these are some of the most important steps to take:

  1. Give the numbers a reality check. Many business owners are eager to make the business look as promising and as attractive as possible, especially if they’re going to make a presentation to investors. However, this approach frequently leads to over inflated numbers, which look unrealistic and unprofessional to seasoned investors. You’re going to make your document much more persuasive and set the stage for much more reasonable growth if you give those numbers a reality check and make sure they’re actually achievable.
  2. Make your executive summary more compelling. One of the most important parts of your business plan is the executive summary, since it effectively summarizes information you’ve included throughout the rest of the document. This is also the first section most of your readers are going to see, so it’s important to make an excellent impression on this page. Revisit your executive summary and do what you can to make it more compelling, keeping it concise yet meaningful.
  3. Plan on professional printing and binding. When your draft is finished, prepare to invest in professional printing and binding. Little touches, like adding wire-O binding, or upgrading the stock of paper you use, can instantly make your business plan look more professional. Of course, this is only relevant if you plan on showing your business plan to other people; if this is the case, consider going all out to make the best possible first impression.
  4. Acknowledge the biggest challenges and weaknesses. It’s easy to assume that the best business plans are ironclad, showing off a perfect business that has no real weaknesses or flaws. But the reality is that all businesses have weaknesses and flaws, and pretending they don’t exist is only going to make you look worse. Go out of your way to list and acknowledge the biggest challenges your business faces and the biggest weaknesses you’re concerned about. Proactively identifying these, and setting out a plan for how to address them, will improve your business plan dramatically.
  5. Inject your personality. Your business plan shouldn’t be a dry, personality-less legal document. Instead, it should include elements of your personality. Show off how knowledgeable you are about this subject matter and how enthusiastic you are about this project – and don’t be afraid to make a few jokes.
  6. Focus on what makes you unique. You might already have a unique value proposition (UVP) drafted. If you don’t, now is a good time to do that. Throughout your entire business plan, you should be focusing on elements that make you unique. What makes your business different from those of your competitors? Why should customers choose you over any other business? How could this business succeed where others have failed?
  7. Identify multiple growth and development opportunities. Most investors look for growth potential in the businesses they consider funding. Accordingly, your business plan should have multiple growth and development opportunities listed. What’s your primary strategy for growing the business? And what will you do if that doesn’t meet your expectations?
  8. Include major milestones. What major milestones are going to define your success as a business? This is important for several reasons. First, it shows that you have a definition of success in mind. Second, that makes your business plan much more actionable, giving the business a solidified trajectory to follow in its first few years. Third, it provides real metrics for success; very soon, you’ll be able to identify whether or not the business is performing as intended.
  9. Make tweaks for your specific audience. Consider making specific tweaks for the audience who is going to read this business plan. Instead of having a generic document you use to show everyone, develop slightly modified, targeted documents for each specific group. This way, you can appeal specifically to their interests and maximize your potential to persuade them.
  10. Proofread everything one more time. If your business idea is amazing, you probably won’t lose it just because you forgot one punctuation mark at the end of a section. But there’s no real excuse to have any mistakes in your business plan. Before printing, proofread everything one last time to make sure it’s fully polished.

The Living Document

Some people see business plans as stagnant, unchanging documents that should permanently describe how this business will operate. But with so many variables to consider and so many changes in your near future, it’s better to think of your business plan as a living document – something you can update periodically as you learn more information. Don’t hesitate to return to your business plan and make further changes to it as you learn more information about your market, your competitive environment, and the changing nature of the economy.

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Destinations

Best Vacations for the Recently Retired

Work is done and you have little to no responsibilities since you recently retired, so what are your excuses to not travel?

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Work is done and you have little to no responsibilities since you recently retired, so what are your excuses to not travel? It’s time to enjoy your golden years and travel to some fun destinations. If you saved for your retirement, hopefully you put in some sort of travel budget so you can see the world, and stay in amazing hotels like the Marriott. Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age and that means a huge influx of retired travelers is set to hit the world’s top destinations. We can’t travel like we used to so let’s explore some excellent vacations for retirees.

Ireland

Who hasn’t dreamed of strolling through the rolling green hills of Ireland? The lush green country is a perfect vacation destination for the retired set. Dublin is a great place to start to see some of the oldest buildings in all of Europe and taste the perfect pint at the Guinness brewery. There is so much to see in Ireland you can really take your time on an extended trip and enjoy everything Ireland has to offer.  The perfect vacation for the recently retired.

Sicily

If Italian food is your favorite or if ancient architecture is your bag, Sicily is for you. Who hasn’t wanted to check out Palermo, the lively capital that boasts spectacular cathedrals and delicious street food? The small island off the coast of Italy’s big toe is the perfect destination for retired folk. The islands slow pace and miles of gorgeous beaches make Sicily a great spot. Many Italian-Americans track their heritage to Sicily and those Baby Boomers can visit their ancient roots.  Retired people will love the vibe of Sicily.

Australia

The flights to Australia will take up to 21 hours so you need to spend some time there to make it worth it. Now you are retired and you have literally nowhere to be, it’s the perfect time to take an extended vacation to the land down under. Australia has something for everyone, with major cities, extreme outback and wonderful beaches. You must see Sydney Harbor, the Great Barrier Reef and a kangaroo. Other than that, explore Australia at your own pace; you have all the time in the world.

U.S. Road Trip

If times what you have, why not take a coast-to-coast road trip across our great country. America has so much diverse landscapes that you can experience so much on a road trip. For a real adventure rent a recreational vehicle and take your time, see all the sites you want and do it in style. An RV can be rented at very affordable prices and offers a unique experience many have never lived. See the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, drive historic Route 66 or make your own route.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Why not take a road trip on the most scenic highway in America, the Blue Ridge Parkway. This picturesque 470-mile drive connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountain national Park in North Carolina. The road follows the peaks of numerous mountains along the way giving off spectacular views and winding through some cute little towns.   There are some seriously cute places to stay along the way and more than enough activities to keep you entertained.

Rocky Mountaineer

Maybe you should let someone else drive so you can soak up all the incredible views along the Canadian Rocky Mountains, in the Rocky Mountaineer, a luxury train. Enjoy sitting in glass domed train cars so you can see beauty at every angle. There are multiple options available to satisfy any urge. You can get coastal views or strictly mountain routes. You can decide among many options to make the vacation fit exactly what you want.

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Destinations

Why You Should Visit Hawaii

 I break down each island in the chain and tell you why you should visit each one

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Hawaii is paradise on Earth and one of the most traveled to destinations on the planet, so why all the hype? I break down each island in the chain and tell you why you should visit each one. Check out paradise in each of its unique forms from the laid back vibes of Molokai to the big city by the beach in Oahu’s Honolulu.

 

Oahu

Oahu is home to the largest city in all the Hawaiian Islands and is the most populated. There is a huge military population on Oahu as the Navy has its base, Pearl Harbor. Honolulu is the island’s only “big” city and Waikiki is the party destination if you are into that sort of thing. Not all of Oahu is a party destination, as many parts of the island operate at a much slower pace. Check out the North Shore for bohemian beach towns and world-class surfing.

For some interesting attractions, check out the Polynesian Cultural Center or the sunken remains of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor. The beaches are world-class and the resorts are massive.

 

Hawaii (Big Island)

The largest of the Hawaiian Islands by far is Hawaii or “the Big Island.” This massive island features almost every climate in its rich ecosystems. There is often snow on top of the mountain peaks that are surrounded by rainforests and deserts. The big island features a wide variety of terrain and activities. Check out some of the best surfing, snorkeling and hiking the world has to offer. The island is split into two main sides, the leeward side, which is very dry and arid, and the wayward side, which is the wettest region in America.

Make sure you check out Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest mountain, measured from the sea floor up. There are also two active volcanoes to check out where you can see lava flows.

 

Maui

The most all-around island in the chain, Maui has a little bit of everything. Every major resort has a luau and we recommend checking one out for some culture and unlimited mai tais. This island has all the outdoor activities you could ever want with some incredible hiking, surfing and snorkeling. The weather is perfect and the sun is usually shining.   Take a hike to the crater of a volcano at the Haleakala National Park.  

 

Kauai

Known as the garden island, Kauai is easily the most beautiful of the main islands. This is also known as the lovers’ island and the retirement island as most guests are on their honeymoon or well, old. There aren’t too many spots open past 8pm and the island’s nightlife is almost non-existent. There is some of the best hiking and outdoor activities in the world.

Check out the Na Pali Coast, a rocky, 20-mile section of the island that is unreachable by car and where you’ll recognize the beginning of Jurassic Park. Take a helicopter tour of amazing waterfalls and secret beaches galore.

The most impressive feature is the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, the Waimea Canyon.

 

 

Lanai

The smallest of the Hawaiian Islands that are open to the public, Lanai is mostly owned privately by billionaire Larry Ellison (Oracle). This island used to be a huge pineapple plantation and is now home to two Four Seasons resorts. Golf is god here as two of the best courses in the US are located here.

 

Molokai

The most remote Hawaiian Island is Molokai, which has hardly any infrastructure and has very few visitors each year. The pace is slow here and they only operate on island time. Come here if you want to chill hardcore and not do many touristy activities, as they don’t really exist here.

 

Find which version of paradise you like the most and check it out. Hawaii has a little of something for everyone; you just have to find it.

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Guides

Airplane Bathroom Hacks

We talked to some flight attendants who shared with us their awesome airplane bathroom hacks.

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An airplane bathroom may be the worst possible place to do your business but when you are 25,000 feet up in the sky, what are your other options?  They are small, inconvenient and not the most sanitary places, but when nature calls and you have nowhere else to go.

We talked to some flight attendants who shared with us their awesome airplane bathroom hacks. When is the best time to go, what you should bring, how to deal with the smell and when are the worst times to use the airplane restroom. Don’t be stuck thousands of feet in the sky with nowhere to go number 2 because there is a huge line, follow our airplane bathroom guide.

 

When to go

Flight attendants told us that there are two perfect times to use the airplane bathroom with having people lined up outside waiting. First is right after the pilot turns off the seatbelt signs. This window closes fast so be ready. Once the plane takes off, it usually takes about 5 minutes to reach cruising altitude, this is the height that the plane levels off and becomes flatter in the air. This is your opportunity so don’t let it slip away. Be prepared to get up the second the seatbelt sign goes off. You would have about 10 minutes to do your business without people lined up outside.   Flight attendants will be just getting up from their jump seats so you won’t have anyone in the aisles to block your path.

The second perfect window is right before the flight attendants start their drink service. Flight attendants don’t like when people are up during the drink service since the carts take up the entire walkway. Getting up right before their drink service takes some timing and situational awareness. Pay attention to the flight attendants, they should all be in the galley area prepping their drink carts, so this is your chance. Pop up quickly before they have a chance to tell you to sit down. Now you’ll have up to 10 minutes all alone in the bathroom. Also the best time to join the “mile-High Club,” if you know what I mean! Don’t stay more than 10 minutes or a flight attendant may come knock on the door and ruin the moment.

 

What to bring

I always travel with bathroom wipes because we all know how cheap airplane bathroom toilet paper is. Something to read is always a nice touch, but don’t be obvious, we don’t need the whole plane to know what’s going on.

 

Smell?

The smell can get you in trouble, not literally, just embarrassing. The flight attendant we spoke with told us a great hack. She brings a packet of coffee grounds into the lavatory to soak up the odor. Ask the flight attendant; they will happily give you one, because everyone will suffer if not. They will be trapped in the same sardine can as everyone else, so they want a no stink situation too.

 

Times to avoid

Right before landing is a terrible time to go to the bathroom. The flight attendants will be upset and the bathroom can be a little bumpy during landings.

The worst time to go is about 15 minutes after the seatbelt sign is taken away. This gives people time to realize they have to use the restroom so the line can be ridiculous.

 

Good luck and use the airplane restroom at these optimum times.

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