Katherine: We’re being joined by our friend Paul Contris of Welcov. He’s going to talk with us about some business questions that I’ve been given. I want to say welcome back Paul, how are you?
Paul: Good. How are you today Katherine?
Katherine: I am doing wonderful. I want to just jump right into it. How important is a business plan to a business?
Paul: Well, I think it’s critical. It helps not only familiarize people you might be needing in your business like lenders or prospective clients or investors, helps get them familiar with what your business is about. I think it really helps you as a business person formulate your goals and your plans and your strategies for getting there. I think it’s pretty critical.
Katherine: Is this a document that you do just in the beginning planning stages or does it need to be updated periodically?
Paul: Typically the business plan is just at the beginning but I guess in a way you do update it each, typically an annual … You can do it more frequent than that, but when you do your annual budget process I think that is one way of updating that now you’ve seen what’s happened in the first year and you’re going to predict what happens in the next year and that would include everything involved with the business. Your new revenue sources, what you think the existing revenue sources are going to do, what your expenses are going to do. Larger companies they’ll do in addition to annual budgets they’ll do more strategic planning programs where they look at market trends and maybe review your mission statement and that type of thing.
I think the business plan, as such, really is something that’s a benefit at the beginning of the business and then from there on you do your annual budgets and maybe strategic planning programs.
Katherine: Okay. Do you think that there are any businesses who will not need a business plan?
Paul: I suppose if you’re going to open up a hot dog stand on the corner of a street somewhere you probably don’t really need a business plan. If you’re going to open up a landscaping service … There’s a lot of small businesses that don’t do business plans. I wouldn’t say that … Maybe it’s not that critical for certain smaller service businesses but once you get to a certain level or size of business I think it’s really helpful.
Katherine: Mm-hmm . Okay. What I’ve always been asked, people want to know how you get around the people you want to be around. You probably are familiar with the phrase or the term “Hang out with the people you want to be like.” How do you just be around those people? My question to you is: What’s the best way to get around the right people when you start out in business? When you’re new you don’t really know.
Paul: I think it depends on what type of business you’re going into. If it’s any kind of established type of business and maybe you’re going to start an insurance agency or maybe you’re going to do a franchise of some sort of Panera bread company or something that … Most businesses have associations that you can tap into. If you’re going to become a realtor or whatever there are associations that you can … They’ll have ongoing functions and that type of thing and you can attend those I think meet a lot of people. It’s just basic networking.
Katherine: I see.
Paul: It depends on the business you’re going in but you would have to try to find out whether they have any kind of groups of people that business sponsors and has regular meetings and that type of thing.
Katherine: Mm-hmm. Associations, networking, that’s how you get around new people.
Katherine: What classes, if any, should a business owner take?
Paul: I’ve got to say, I would certainly recommend some basic accounting classes …
Paul: … It really is helpful if you can understand how your monthly financial statements work. You don’t have to be a super accountant or whatever, but if you can understand the basics of an income statement and a balance sheet that would be helpful. Depending on what your business is if you’re going to be involved … If there are a number of employees then a managerial class, a management class would be very helpful and maybe a marketing class. Those are kind of the general ones as far as business classes that come to mind. I’m sure there is other non-business stuff too that might be helpful. An English class …
Katherine: Understanding your books, of course, but understanding our money is very important, I see that.
Katherine: What we’re going to do is we’re going to wrap up and we’re going to come back next month with you again talking more business. Paul, tell them how to get in touch with you outside of this needs to be said.
Paul: Our website is www.welcov.com.
Katherine: Awesome. Until next time. Have a good day.
Paul: Thank you Katherine.