BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND RESEARCH - BUSINESS PLAN GUIDELINES

INTRODUCTION
The topic above is an important and very interesting topic that consist of three vital words which are useful in our society today these three words are: business, development and research. I am going to define as well as look into this words one after the other firstly.

WHAT IS BUSINESS:
MEANING AND DEFINITION
            A business, also known as an enterprise or a firm, is an organization involved in the trade of goods, services or both to consumers. Business is an economic activity, which is related with continuous and regular production and distribution of goods and services for satisfying human wants.

STEPHENSON: Defines business as the regular production or purchase and sale of goods undertaken with an objective of earning profit and acquiring wealth through the satisfaction of human wants. 
DICKSON: Business refers to a form of activity conducted with an objective of earning profits for the benefit of those on whose behalf the activity is conducted.
LEWIS HENRY: Defines business as human activity directed towards producing or acquiring wealth through buying and selling of goods.

Thus, the term business means continuous production and distribution of goods and services with the aim of earing profits under uncertain market conditions. Business can refer to a particular organization or, more generally to an entire market sector e.g. the music business. Business is the sum total of activity involved in introduction, purchase of making profit.

FEATURES OF BUSINESS
The features of businesses are as follows:
1.   EXCHANGE OF GOODS AND SERVICES:- All business activities are directly or indirectly concerned with the exchange of goods and services for money’s worth.
2.   DEALS IN NUMEROUS TRANSACTIONS:- In business, the exchange of goods and services is a regular feature. A businessman regularly deals in a number of transactions and not just one or two transactions.
3.   PROFIT IS THE MAIN OBJECTIVE:- Business is carried on with the intention of earning a profit. The profit is a reward for the services of a businessman.
4.   BUSINESS SKILLS FOR ECONOMIC SUCCESS:- Anyone cannot run a business. To be a good businessman, one needs to have a goods business qualities and skills. A business man needs experience and skills to run a business.
5.   RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES:- Business is subject to risks and uncertainties. Some risks, such as risks of loss due to fire and theft can be insured. There are also uncertainties such as loss due to change in demand or fall in price cannot be insured and must borne by the businessman.
6.   BUYER AND SELLER:- Every business transaction has minimum of two parties that is a buyer and a seller. Business in nothing but a contrast or an agreement between a buyer and a seller.
7.   CONNECTED WITH PRODUCTION:- Business activity may be connected with production of goods or services. In this case, it is called as industrial activity. The industry may be primary or secondary.
8.   MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION OF GOODS:- Business activities may be concerned with marketing or distribution of goods in which case it is called commercial activity.
9.   DEALS IN GOODS AND SERVICES:- Business, there have to be dealings in goods or services. Goods may be divided into the followings:-
CONSUMER GOODS which are used by final consumer for consumption e.g TV while
PRODUCER GOODS: are goods used by producer for further production e.g machinery, equipment etc. Services are intangible but can be be exchanged for value like providing transport, warehousing and insurance services.
10. TO SATISFY HUMAN WANTS: The businessman also desires to satisfy human wants through conduct of business. By producing and supplying various commodities, businessmen try to promote consumer’s satisfaction.
11. SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS: Modern business is service oriented. Modern businessmen are conscious of their social responsibility. Today’s business is service oriented rather than profit oriented.

 Business Plan Writers


MAJOR FACTORS AFFECTING HOW A BUSINESS IS DEVELOPED.
---THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF THE BUSINESS FIRM
            The size and scope of the business firm and its structure, management and ownership, broadly analyzed in the theory of the firm. Generally a smaller business is more flexible than a larger business or those with wider ownership or more formal structures, will usually tend to be organized as corporations less often partnerships. In addition a business that wishes to raise money on a stock market or to be owned by a wide range of people will often be required to adopt a specific legal form to do so.
--- THE SECTOR AND COUNTRY
            Private profit making businesses are different form government owned bodies in some countries, certain businesses are legally obliged to be organized in certain ways.
--- LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES.
            Limited liability partnership and other specific types of business organization protect their owners or share holders from failure by doing business under a separate legal entity with certain legal protections. In contrast, unincorporated business or persons working on their own are usually not so protected.
--- DISCLOSURE AND COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS
            Different business structures may be required to make less or more information public and may be bound to comply with different rules and regulations.
---TAX ADVANTAGES
            Different structures are treated differently in tax law, and have advantages for this reason.
REVIEW: Business has earlier been defined as an organization or economic system where goods and services are changed. Therefore what is development?

WHAT IS DEVELOPMENT?
            Development can be defined as the use of scientific and technical knowledge to meet specific objectives or requirements.
            The term development in international parlance therefore encompasses the need and the means by which to provide better lives for people in poor countries. It includes not only economic growth although that is crucial but also human development, providing for health, nutrition, education and a clean environment.
            Development is the process of economics and transformation that is based on complex cultural and environment factors and their interactions.
            Development can be defined as the process of adding improvements to a parcel of land, such as grading subdivisions, drainage, access, roads and utilities. It is an extension of the theoretical or practical aspect of a concept design, discovery of intention.

DEFINITION OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT.
            Business development comprises a number of tasks and processes generally aiming at developing and implementing growth opportunities between multiple organizations. It is a subset of the fields of business, commerce, and organizational theory. Business development is the creation of long term value for an organization from customers, markets and relationships.

OVERVIEW
            In the limited scholarly work available on the subject, business development is conceptualized as or related to discrete projects, specific modes of growth and organization units, activities and practices. Senior business developers, and venture capitalists from successful high teach firms from Europe, NorthAmerica and India into one general structure.
In this perspective, business development refers to: “tests and processes concerning analytical preparation of potential growth opportunities, the support and monitoring of the implementation of growth opportunities, but does not include decisions on strategy and implementation of growth opportunities. Sorensen (2012).
            These tasks and process are performed by “business developer”. Given the native process development activities the business development function is typically organized as a staff function.

BACKGROUND
            The term business development and its actor, the business developer, have evolved into many usages and applications. Today, the application of business development and the business developer’s tasks across industries and countries. Business development had its origins in the Industrial Revolution.

PROFESSIONALS (BUSINESS DEVELOPERS)
            The business developers is concerned with the analytical preparation of potential growth opportunities for the senior management or board of directors as well as the subsequent support and monitoring of its implementations. Both in the development phase and the implementation phase, the business developer collaborates and integrates the knowledge and feedback from the organization’s specialist functions. For example: production, marketing and sales to assure that the organization is capable of implementing the growth opportunity successfully. The business developers tools to address the business development tasks are the business model answering “how do we make money” and its analytical backup and roadmap for implementation, the business plan.
            Business development professional frequently have had earlier experience in financial services, investment banking on management consulting; although some find their route to this area by climbing the corporate ladder in functions such as operations management or sales. Skills sets and experience for business development specialist usually consist of a mixture of the following (depending on the business requirements):
·        Finance
·        Marketing
·        Mergers and acquisitions
·        Legal
·        Strategic Management
·        Proposal Management or Capture Management
·        Sales experiences
The “pipeline” refers to flow of potential events which a company has started developing. Business development staff assign to each potential clients in the pipeline a percent chance of success, with projected sales. Volumes attached. Planners can use the weighted average of all the potential clients in the pipeline to project staffing to manage the new activity when finalized. Enterprises usually support pipelines with some kind of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool or database, either web-based solution or an in-house system. Sometimes business development specialists manage and analyze the data to produce sales Management Information (MI).

Such Management Information Includes:
·        Reasons for wins / losses
·        Progress of opportunities in relation to the sales process.
·        Top performing sales people / sales channels
·        Sales of services / products.

For well established companies especially in technology related industries, “business development. Refers to setting up and managing strategic relationships and alliances with other, third party companies.
Business development focuses on implementation of the strategic business plan through equity establishment of strategic partnerships where appropriate.
How to become a business development manager
            Business development managers work with companies to develop, expand and generate new business opportunities. Responsibilities for those working with this industry may vary depending on the type of company and the business services and products provided. Generalized tasks may include marketing, product development and distribution, writing contract proposal and presentations and meeting with potential new clients. Although there are no specific, requirements for successfully endearing the field, becoming a business development manager requires developed capabilities in the areas of business administration, economics and finance as well as strong communications and regatiating skills business development manager:-
·        Conduct some initiate search on the field of business development if you have no experience obtained through past jobs or education. This is important so that you can learn more about the focus of the industry to assess your own capabilities and background in determining what training you many need.
·        Realize that core aptitude requirements to become a successful business development manager include excellent interpersonal skills as the position entails regular contact with potential and existing clients. This type of work requires strong public relations and presentation skills.
·        Infunctions as a business development manager can include responsibilities in overseeing the work of fellow employees. A typical work day may entail some level of human resource duties such as conducting training sessions and workshops.
·        Complete an internship, if you are currently already a college students preparing for a career as a business development manager. Meet with your academic advisor to make the formal arrangements or you may contact several companies yourself to explore your options.
·        Register with a professional association online that caters to the business development industry. You will be provided with access to a variety of valuable industry tools and resources that will assist you while you are looking for a position.
·        Visit job fairs if you have already graduated from college and have obtained your degree in preparation for becoming a business development manager. Network with others already working within the field to make new contacts and to possibly arrange job interviews.
·        Explore the many online job boards and browse through available openings for a position as a business development manager.
·        Job boards also provide you with the option of creating a personal profile and uploading your resume to make yourself more visible to potential employers.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT RELATING TO BUSINESS PLAN
For one’s business to develop effectively and efficiently, a business plan is needed and required.

We are now going to look briefly at the following:-
Ø  What is a business plan?
Ø  Who needs a business plan?
Ø  Choosing the right kind of business plan to develop business
Ø  What to include in your business plan
Ø  Using your business plan to get ahead

WHAT IS A BUSINESS PLAN?
            In its simplest form, a business plan is a guide, a roadmap for your business that outlines goals and details how you plan to achieve those goals. A business plan is just a plan for how your business to make it succeed.
            Many people think of business plans only for starting a new business or applying for business loans. But business plans are also vital for running a business whether or not it need new loans or new investments. Existing business should have business plans that they maintain and update as market conditions change and as new opportunities arise.

WHO NEEDS A BUSINESS PLAN?
            If one is just planning on picking up some freelance work to supplement your income, one can skip the business plan. But, if one embarking on a more significant endeavour that’s likely to consume a significant amount of time, money and resources then, one needs a business plan. If one is serious about developing his/her business, taking planning seriously is critical to your success.
Start up businesses
            The most classic business planning is for a startup, for which the plan helps the founders break uncertainty down into meaningful pieces, like the sales projection, expense budget, milestones and tasks. The need becomes obvious as soon as you recognize the you don’t know how much money you need and when you need it, without laying out projects sales, costs, expenses and timing of payments. And that’s for all startups, whether or not they need to convince investors, banks, or friends and family to part with their money and fund the new venture. In this case, the business plan is focused on explaining what the new company is going to do, hoe it is going to accomplish its goals and most importantly why the founders are the right people to do the job. A startup business plan also details the amount of money needed to get the business off the ground, and through the initial growth phases that will lead (hopefully) to profitability.

EXISTING BUSINESSES
            Not all business plans are for startup that are launching the next big thing. Existing businesses use business plans to manage and steer the business not just to address changes in their markets and to take advantage of new opportunities. They use a plan to reinforce strategy, establish metrics, manage responsibilities and goals, track results, and manage and plan resources including critical cash flow. And of course they use a plan to set the schedule for regular review and revision.
            Business plans can be a critical driver of growth for existing businesses. Do you know that businesses that write plans and use them to manage their businesses grow 30 percent faster than business that take a “seat of the parts” approach? For existing business, a robust business planning process can be a competitive advantage that drives faster growth and greater innovation. Instead of a static document, business plans in existing businesses become dynamic tools that are used to track growth and spot potential problems before they derail the business.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT KIND OF BUSINESS PLAN TO DEVELOP BUSINESSES
            Before you even start writing your business plan, you need to think about who the audience is and what the goals of your plans are. While there are common components that are found in almost every business plan, such as forecasts and marketing strategy, business plan formats can be very different depending on the audience and the type of business.
            For example, if you’re building a plan for a biotech firm, your plan will go into details about government approval processes. If you are writing a plan for a restaurant, details about location and renovations might be critical factors and the language you’d use in the biotech firm’s business plan would be much more technical than the language you’d use in the plan for the restaurant.
            Plans can also differ greatly in length, detail and presentation. Plans that never leave the office and are used exclusively for internal strategic planning and management might use more casual language and might not have much visual polish. On the other end of the spectrum, a plan that destined for the desk of a top venture capitalist will have a high degree of polish and will focus on the high-growth aspects of the business and the experienced team that is going to deliver stunning results.

The three common types of business plan include:-
v    ONE-PAGE BUSINESS PLAN
A one-page business plan is exactly what is sounds like: a quick summary of your business delivered on a single page. No, this doesn’t mean a very small font size and cramming tens of information onto a single page……..it means that the business is described in very concise language that is direct and to-the point.
A one page business plan can serve two purposes. First, it can be a great tool to introduce the business to outsiders, such as potential investors. Since investors have very little time to read detailed business plans. A simple one-page plan is often a better approach to get that first meeting. Later in the process, a more detailed plan will be needed, but the one-page plan is great for getting in the door.
This simplest plan formed is also great for early-stage companies that just want to sketch out their idea in broad strokes. Think of the one-page business plan as an expanded version of getting your idea down on a napkin keeping the business idea on one page makes it easy to see the entire concept at a glance and quickly refine concepts as new ideas come up.

v    THE INTERNAL BUSINESS PLAN
The internal business plan dispenses with the formalities that are needed when presenting a plan externally and focuses almost exclusively on business strategy, milestones, metrics, budgets and forecasts. And of course it also includes the review schedule for monthly review and revision. These internal business plans are management tools used to guide the growth of both startups and existing business. They help business owners think through strategic decisions and measure progress towards goals.
EXTERNAL BUSINESS PLAN / THE STANDARD BUSINESS PLAN DOCUMENT
            External business plans, the formal business plan documents are designed to be read by outsiders to provide information about a business. The most common use is to convince investors to fund a business, and the second most common is to support a loan application. Occasionally this types of business plan is also used to recruit or train or absorb key employees, but that is much less common.
            A formal business plan documents is an extension of the internal business plan. It’s mostly a snapshot of the internal plan as it existed at a certain time. But while the internal plan is short on polish and formality, a formal business plan document should be very well-presented, with more attention to details in the language and format.
            In addition, an external plan details how potential funds are going to be used. Investors don’t just hand over cash with no strings attached-they want to understand how their funds will be used and what the expected on their investment is.
            Finally, external plans put a strong emphasis on the team that is building the company. Investors invest in people rather than ideas, so it’s critical to include biographies of key team members and how their background and experience is going to help the growing of the company.

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A BUSINESS PLAN
            While we just discussed several different types of business plans, there are key elements that appear in virtually all business plans. These include the review schedule, strategy summary, milestones, responsibilities, metric (numerical goals that can be tacked), and basic projections. The projections include sales, costs, expenses and cash flow.        There core elements grows organically as needed by read by the business for actual business purposes. And for the formal business plan document, to be read by outsiders for business purposes such as backing a loan application or seeking investment, the following summarize those special-case, what is included in businesses plans.

v     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Just like the old adage that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, the executive summary is your business’s calling card. It needs to be succinct that hit the key highlights of the plan. Many potential investors will never take it beyond the executive summary, so it needs to be compelling and intriguing.
The executive summary should provide a quick overviews of the problem your business solve, your solution to the problem, the business’s target market, key financial highlight, and summary of who does what on the management team.
While it’s difficult to convey everything you might want to convey in the executive summary, keeping it short is critical. If you hook your reader, they will find more detail in the body of the plan as they continue reading. You could even consider using your one-page business plan as your executive summary.

COMPANY OVERVIEW
            For external plans, the company overview is a brief summary of the company’s legal structure, ownership, history and location. It’s common to include a mission statement in the company overview, but that is certainly not a critical component of all business plans.
            The company’s overview is often omitted from internal plans.
Products and services
            The products and services chapter of a business plan delves into the core of what you are trying to achieve in this section, you will detail the problem you are solving, and how you are solving it, the competitive landscape and your business’s competitive edge.
            Depending on the type f business you want to develop, this section may also detail the technologies you are using, intellectual property that you own, and other key factors about the products that you are building now and plan on building in the future.

TARGET MARKETS
            As critical as it is, that your business is solving a real-world problem that people on other businesses have, it’s equally important to detail who you are selling to. Understanding your target market is key to building marketing campaign and sales processes that work. And, beyond marketing; your target market will define how the growth and development of your business runs.

MARKETING AND SALES PLAN
            The marketing and sales plan details the strategies that you will use to reach your target market.
This portion of your business plan provides an overview of how you will position your business in the market, how you will price your products and services, how you will promote your offerings and any sales processes you need to have in place.

MILESTONE AND METRICS
            Plans are nothing without solid implementation. The milestones and metrics chapter of your business plan lays out concrete tasks that you plan to accomplish, complete with due dates and the names of the people to be held responsible.
            This chapter should also detail the key metrics that you plan to use to tracks the growth of your business. This could include number of sales leads generated, the number of page views to your website, or any critical metric that help determine the health of your business.

MANAGEMENT TEAM
            The management team chapter of a business plan is critical for entrepreneurs seeking investment, but can be omitted for virtually any other type of plan
            The management team section should include relevant team bios that explain why your management personnel are the right people for their jobs. After all, good ideas are a dime a dozen- it’s a talented entrepreneur who can take those ideas and turn them into thriving businesses.
            Business plan should help identify not only strengths of a business, but areas that need improvement and gaps that need to be filled. Identifying gaps in the management team show knowledge and foresight, not a lack of ability to build or develop the business.

FINANCIAL PLAN
            The financial plan is a critical component of nearly all business plan. Running a successful business means paying close attention to how much money you are bringing in, and how much money you are spending. A good financial plan goes a long way to help determine when to hire new employees or buy new equipments.
            For start up businesses, a solid financial plan helps you figure out how much capital or income or money your business needs to get started or to grow or to develop, so that you will know how much you have invested into the business and how profits are going to be obtained. Example:-
A typical financial plan includes:-
·        Sales fore cast
·        Personal plan
·        Profit and loss statement
·        Cash flow statement
·        Balance sheet.

USING YOUR BUSINESS PLAN TO GET AHEAD IN DEVELOPING BUSINESS.
            I mentioned earlier that businesses that write business plans grow 30 percent faster than businesses that don’t plan. Taking the simple step forward to do any planning at all will certainly put your business at a significant advantage over businesses that just drive forward with no specific plans.
            But just writing a business plan does not guarantee your success. The best way to extract value from your business plan is to use it as an ongoing management tool. To do this, your business plan must be constantly revisited and revisited to reflect current conditions and the new information that you‘re collected as you run your business.
            When you‘re running a business, you are learning new things every day: what your customers like, what they don’t like; which marketing tactics work, which does not. Your business plan should be a reflection of those learning to guide the future strategy. This all sounds like a lot of work, but it does not have to be. Here are some tips to extract the most value from your plan in the least amount of time:
§  Use your one page business plan to quickly outline your strategy. Use this document to periodically review your high- level strategy.
§  Use an internal plan to document processes that work. Share this document with new employees to give them a clear picture of your overall strategy.
§  Set milestones for what you plan to accomplish in the next 30 days. Assign these tasks to team members. Set dates and allocate part of your budget if necessary.
§  Keep your sales forecast and expense budget current. As you learn more about customer buying patterns, revise your forecast.
§  Compare your planned budget and forecasts with your actual results at least monthly.
§  Make adjustments to your plan, based on the results.
The final most important aspect of leveraging your business plan as a growth engine is to schedule a monthly review. The review doesn’t have to take longer than an hour, but it needs to be regular recurring meeting on your calendar. In your monthly review, go over your key number compared to your plan, review the milestones you planned to accomplish, set new milestones and do a quick review of your overall strategy.
            As defined earlier,
            Business is the sum total of activity involved in introduction, purchasing and distribution of goods and services for the purchase of making profit.
            Development can be defined as the use of scientific and technical knowledge to meet specific objectives or requirements.
            Therefore,

WHAT IS RESEARCH?
            Research is the systematic investigation into the study of material and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.
            The purpose of research can be a complicated issue and varies across different scientific fields and disciplines.

DEFINITION OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
            Research and development (R& D) is a systematic activity combining both basic and applied research, and aimed at discovering solution to problem or creating new goods and knowledge. Research and development may result in ownership of intellectual property such as patents. In accounting for research and development costs, the development costs may be carried forward but the basic and applied research costs are often written- off as incurred.

Create an idea or product that you believe can be successful. This is easier said than done. Coming up with a viable product or idea is sometimes harder than constructing a business plan. Having a good business plan is important for every entrepreneur, but what if you do not have an idea upon which to build a plan?
1.      Get your creative juices flowing. There are many different ways to accomplish this task. Play a game, read a book, paint a picture, play a sport, etc. The point is, do something that gets you thinking and then focus that energy into creating an idea/concept/product. Expose yourself to many different environments that are outside of your comfortable zone. Get more engaged with your hobbies. Expertise will help get closer to a viable business idea. Do not try to force an idea to occur because this will usually result in bad ideas! Take your time, focus your thought, and create the right product for you.
2.      Know your limits. Determining these factors will help you focus your thought process. For example, if you are interested in computers, but have no education or experience with computers outside of internet surfing or word processing, it will be difficult to create a marketable idea for computer software components. Keep your thought process reasonable. In other words, do not let your imagination run wild. When you become good at creating ideas, then you can let your imagination do some work, but not at first.
3.      Seize upon any inspiration. Sometimes, ideas will pop up at the oddest times. Get a small notebook to carry around with you and write ideas in. This way you can look at your notebook and later begin to develop your idea. Ask yourself, what types of businesses would you use? What are some common issues that your associated complain about that could be solved through a business.
4.      Identify a problem. Think about how you can make the world a better place with your invention or business idea. Your business should revolutionize the way we live life, even if it's just a small way. For example, if you are interested in cooking, maybe you have a problem with the way an oven can dry out a chicken when cooking. Now that you have identified a problem, brainstorm and think of as many solutions as possible. It does not matter how crazy the solution is, just think about them and write them down. After you have written down every possible solution, no matter how crazy, go through the list and find the solution that you feel you can best accomplish. Surprise! You have probably come up with an original idea. This does not mean that you should pitch this idea tomorrow. All this means is that you should develop your idea, mold your idea, and perfect your idea into something you think people would buy if in the market. Also, this way of thinking will get your creative juices flowing. You may find yourself traveling a different path from your original field of interest. If this occurs, follow the thought until completion. You may be surprised where it leads!
5.      Study demographics to see which type of customers will appreciate your business idea the most. Businesses generally appeal to a specific set of demographics before they become viral. Decide if your idea has the potential to be viral among a small group of people. Think about your potential competition for the same demographics and how you can set yourself apart from them.


FINDING A PERFECT BUSINESS                                     
1.         Understanding your customer
This might seem strange to start here as how do you know your customers before you have a business idea in place. The answer is simple - your customers make the business, therefore without customers there is no business. If you have a business idea don't try to develop the idea around what YOU think potential customers will like or need, but find out what your customers actually desire. Too often business owners get an idea in their head and jump right in with both feet. However, they soon find out that their target market does not want what they are offering. Spending both time and money on a project just to see it languish is not the perfect business idea.
Moreover, let's say you don't already have an idea - getting out and understand consumers (those who will eventually become your customers) may lead you to the perfect idea. Knowing what potential consumers need and building products to meets those needs will get customers beating a path to your door - that is a perfect business idea.
2.         Passion
Passion here does not mean being fanatical about your product or service. But, it does mean having some interest in what you do. More times than not, you will be spending 15 to 18 hours a day working on your business in the beginning - usually for the first 12 to 18 months (more like 2 years in this economy). You have to constantly be thinking about ways to improve and grow your business as well as be out talking about it to everyone, everywhere. If you end up starting a venture that you don't have passion for, something that does not make you jump out of bed each morning, it will be very hard to put in the hours and energy to make it successful - thus not a perfect business idea.
3.         Understand Your Competition
Every business has competition - either direct or indirect. Think about movie theaters. They have direct competition from video rental stores or at home television. They also have indirect competition from any other activity that consumers spend their disposable income on like bowling, paint ball, golf, etc. Anything that people do in their spare time.
Further, some competitors are ruthless. Meaning that if you promote and offer a product that is similar to theirs but at a lower price, these competitors will just lower their price to match or beat you. If they are already established businesses - they may be able to undercut your price enough to drive you out of business.
If you don't know your competition - what they are willing to do to keep you out of their market - you may be spending more of your time in a pricing war then growing your business - not the perfect business idea.
4.         Cash Flow
Lots of entrepreneurs enter the business world with great ideas but very poor understanding of the capital it will take to get their venture off the ground. Most will prototype their product or service and understand what it takes to make the product or provide the service but they don't understand the capital it takes to manage the rest of the organization - including marketing (very expensive but extremely necessary), employees (more than just salaries or wages), insurance or supplies and all the little miscellaneous expenses that add up very quickly like phone, internet, computer services, etc. Knowing your total cash flow will help ensure that all of your costs (variable and fixed) can be covered by the business - the perfect business idea. I have seen way too many businesses with great products fail because they could not cover simple expenses like rent or utilities.
5.         You
Know who you are. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Know that you are ready, willing and able to do what it takes to make your venture a success. I have worked with many business owners in the past that think all they have to do is hang out their shingle and they have it made. Thus, when it comes down to actually running the business day-to-day - they are unwilling to invest the time, energy or money necessary for success. Thus, know how hard you are willing to work.
Moreover, know your personal financial situation and what you need the business to generate to cover your lifestyle. If you think your business will pay you a great salary from day one - it will not. And, if you need it to, it is not the perfect business idea for you. Take away outside distractions like your personal financial situation - get those in order - thus, when your business concept does materialize - you will be able to solely focus on its conception and growth. In the end providing you the financial security you are seeking - it will be the perfect business idea.
Regardless of the level of your desire for your business - a lifestyle mom and pop operation or a multi-national conglomerate - if you develop a business idea with these five concepts in mind - your idea will be the perfect business idea for you.

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