Why All Companies, Public and Private, Should Write Annual Reports

An annual report isn’t just for shareholders.  Writing an annual report forces you to look deeply into the activities of the past year and see what worked and what didn’t. Those insights are vital to planning your next 12 months.

An annual report also creates a history of your decisions and their outcomes that can be used for future planning and dealing with unexpected problems. Being able to find an answer to a current problem by looking back through your annual reports for that similar situation you remember from eight years ago is a big time-saver and can help you dig into other records that you used to create that annual report.

This article gives you an idea of how to write a good annual report:

Simplified Structure of an Annual Report

An annual report is necessary if your company is a corporation with shareholders or limited liability company with members. Even if you have a sole proprietorship or a one-person corporation, writing an annual report can be a beneficial exercise. If you apply for a loan or hire professional services, you may be asked for a copy of your annual report. A simple document of a few pages in length is adequate.  MORE

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How to Write a Vision and Scope Document

You should be doing this whether you are just starting to plan your new business, working on your plans for the new year, or preparing a presentation for funding.

Sitting down to write a vision document and a scope document helps you see holes and inconsistencies in your business activities and can give you a great new idea …

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/write-vision-scope-document-73586.html

Vision and scope documents define what your customer or company has in mind as well as describe the work process necessary to reach that vision. For example, entrepreneurs benefit from writing a vision and scope document to define their business ideas and list how to develop them into reality. Project managers use such a document to identify the expected result of the project and to set forth the methods and activities necessary to achieve that result.

The Jaws of Death – Entrepreneurs Beware!

The Jaws of Death - Entrepreneurs Beware!

This is an article from Kitco everyone should read!
http://www.kitco.com/ind/Taylor/2013-10-11-The-Jaws-of-Death.html

It shows a likely stock market crash on the way, and that brings on very difficult times for everyone. In this case, on top of the most sluggish and prolonged recovery from recession I have ever witnessed, it could quite easily create a situation much worse than the Great Recession.

I know you get sick of hearing me warn about over-expanding before you know what is around the corner … well … this just might be the monster around the next corner.

I know you are also tired of me warning about taking on debt at this time, but if things look like like what this chart is showing, debt will strangle you!

And, although I no longer carry my mountains of securities industry licenses, and I can’t give investment advice, I can say that you might want to read up on the subject of “Protective Puts” if you have any investments in the stock market.

Re-inventing a business – The Mission

I discovered an outstanding article that describes exactly what I have been seeing increasingly over the last few years, and it is one reason I am moving my services into the coaching/mentoring arena from startup consulting on a project basis.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, most young entrepreneurs just out of school come with planning and structuring knowledge, and so do the new wave of 2nd career entrepreneurs.

I am finding that my clients really want to have a chance to talk over their ideas with a real pro who has seen just about every business model and every problem. It is always amazing to me how much get accomplished in these little brainstorming sessions, and over the years, clients have always raved about my positioning sessions.

Defining your niche

This post is all about defining what I really am going to be doing: Offering my experience and skills for your benefit through coaching/mentoring. Apply the same analysis of where your business is trending, which of your strengths fit with the trend, and what your customers have always valued most about your products or services. This is your mission.

This post is also about the article that pretty accurately describes why entrepreneurs need to be able to talk privately and confidentially about some very sensitive situations. I have been a fiduciary for 40 years, and apparently my clients find that helpful. I highly recommend it …

The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship by Jessica Bruder

http://www.inc.com/magazine/201309/jessica-bruder/psychological-price-of-entrepreneurship.html/1

Re-inventing a business …

Every successful entrepreneur watches what is going on in the economy, industries, customer buying behavior, and marketing trends. I am no different.

I got a hint of change while mentoring at a recent Startup Weekend, and that set me to thinking.  Today I see almost as many Baby Boomers as Millennials at entrepreneur networking events. Most of the Millennials have taken entrepreneurship courses in school, learning to write their own business plans, and the Boomers have written many business plans during their previous careers.

Writing business plans has always been my loss-leader…

What I have mostly done when working with clients is apply my knowledge and experience to defining the business idea, positioning the idea, establishing the business model, revenue model and marketing model, planning the build-out, planning the launch, establishing contingency plans and … finally … putting it all down on paper in the form of a business plan.

My experience was actually what they paid for, whether they knew it or not. Back in 1997 when I started my business, business plans were mysterious documents that most people feared tackling on their own … a great marketing niche for me!

Although I still see some AWFUL business plans, most plans people send me are really pretty good.

Here is where I am going with all this …

This past month I have spent almost all my billable hours on mentoring or coaching. This makes a lot of sense, considering that my experience has always been my value proposition. Writing business plans was a marketing niche. These days people come to me for review and recommendations on the business plans they have written themselves. I also get a lot of calls asking for what amounts to coaching services or mentoring. This, actually, is where my true value lies and where my own enjoyment of work lies.

The big announcement …

I am changing my business emphasis to coaching and mentoring, and I thought it would make for an interesting series of posts in my blog.

What I want to convey is the basics of how an entrepreneur approaches such a change. This applies to current business owners, trying to figure out how to keep their businesses relevant and it also applies to startups. The process is essentially the same.

So, keep watching as I move through this transition in my business and PLEASE COMMENT.  I’d like to create a bit of dialog around this.

This is what I think the future is going to look like …

  • Shift from project fees to hourly fees
  • Group mentoring sessions via online meetings
  • Informal weekly meetings at a coffee house for local entrepreneurs
  • Potentially establishing a virtual incubator – may incorporate the online sessions
  • Potentially a name change – new branding
  • Vetting of service providers and potentially creating a directory
  • Potentially creating online templates
  • [I am still thinking …]

So, keep watching and feel free to communicate!