Empowering People
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Plan of Action: Creating Milestones for Success

Posted on 3/27/2018 by Ray Lamboy
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Camden, NJ- March 8, 2018- LAEDA’s February/March Quick Start (QS) series continued working with ambitious entrepreneurs and business owners to help them succeed on their business journey. As part of this process, the participants were introduced to the concept of a Business plan and were taught how important it is in order to analyze their business concept or idea and to overcome obstacles, challenges, and failures.

On the week of March 5th the class continued working on the business plan.  Alejandro Cruz, Assistant Program Manager of LAEDA’s EDTP shared his insights, knowledge, and expertise on how entrepreneurs can use resources to research including industry trends report and census information and how to understand a financial forecast as it relates to the business cycle. Mr. Cruz explained  that anyone can learn about the existing market and industry trends, “You can use the United States Census, to learn about the size of the market where you want to operate, understand what’s their income, existing competitors and if there are other locations that you might consider for your business; you can also use IBIS World Reports, which is an industry analysts document that explores the forecast and growth potential of an specific industry.

After understanding the business cycle, it was clear that to be able to grow most business owners, including those in the classroom, will need to access capital. As expressed by Alejandro Cruz from LAEDA during this class “When you are going out for a loan the banker will always ask you for your cash flow. They want to know your capacity and if you are making money to make a good business decision on their end” a business plan will always help an entrepreneur or a business owner establish parameters for growth, COGS, sales, inventory, etc. 

Mr. Cruz continued to explain how vital a cash flow is and how we should do a forecast for at least three years to see trends and be ready to make crucial business decisions. A student-entrepreneur even questioned, “Can you look at the cash flow in a shorter time span especially if you just started the business?” Mr. Cruz explained that a cash flow can be done for a couple of months but is important to see if looking for a long term is more convenient as it will let you know what are the total sales required for growth and keeping the lights on.

During the presentation, the Quick Start students discussed  how a marketing plan and sales strategies will depend on whom your target market is. There were several take-away that really led the entrepreneurs in various types of discussions. Mr. Cruz illustrated that when choosing an industry we should ask some really important questions; some of them being: “What is the current state, characteristics, size, strongest participants in that industry?” 

As Mr. Cruz comment “Analyze your industry carefully so that way you know what you are getting yourself into, where you stand, and your plan for survival,” Mr. Cruz pointed out, “At the end of the day you need to generate a relationship with the clients needs to understand industry trends, innovation; and more specifically, what can you change or adopt to keep being relevant and competitive.”  

 Mr. Cruz explained that is important to keep learning and acquiring knowledge to make a business succeed. "We must make sure our markets/customers/potential customers learn about us and what we stand for, what makes different and better than the competition as the word-of-mouth goes a long way and at the end of the day our business is what people define it to be or what they say about it and it all starts with the foundation that it is built upon."

LAEDA offers Quick Start in Camden and other counties as well as the Entrepreneurial Development Training Program/Women’s Business Academy, a nine-week course, three times per year on a wide range of areas of general business practices. We welcome you to join our community of successful entrepreneurs. The program is free, but you must qualify. Visit our website at www.laeda.com or call (856) 338-1177 to learn more.