Tips on Writing a Business Plan

Many potential clients ask us why they should learn how to write a business plan if they only need it at a specific point in time. They figure that they can pay someone to do it for them. Or buy software that only requires them to input information into the blank sections and it will automatically generate them a professional looking business plan.

Our response to this reasoning is that you don’t need to learn how to write any business plan, you just need to learn how to write your own business plan. The distinction here is the fundamental ability to understand the drivers of your own business and communicate that to third parties from whom you want something.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t pay some essay writer to write it for you. But we have found that many small businesses can’t afford this service, which can be quite expensive.

And we do warn entrepreneurs about using business planning software. The problem with software is that it does not analyze your business for you. You, as the business owner, still need to undertake analysis. Software will generate a professional looking plan, but that is not enough. It needs to contain analysis and information that relates to your business, so you still need to do the work to write the plan. Unless you learn how to write a business plan, you won’t know how to fill in the blanks. In addition to this, the software is usually sold on an ongoing subscription basis, which is contrary to the argument that many people pose against learning how to write a business – it’s a once off task.

We also disagree with the argument that a business plan is a once-off document. Business plans can be a strategic management tool for the business, as well as a means to keep your investors updated on how the business is tracking. Companies that sell business plan software usually use this argument to sell subscriptions. And they are not wrong.

Pursuing an Alternative Career: Dealing with Obstacles

Last week, I wrote about developing a plan to pursue an alternative career path, but before you can put that plan into action it’s important to consider some of the major roadblocks you will encounter along the way. For me, there are only three types of obstacles that keep most people from switching careers including:


  1. Time – Most people tend to be afraid of not having enough time to invest in changing careers or they may be afraid of ruining everything that they’ve managed to accomplish in their careers over the past few years by pursuing a new career. I’ve found that most people fear both of these situations.
  2. Money – Let’s face it, if you never had to worry about having enough money to pay the bills, then you would have pursued the career of your dreams a long time ago. No one wants to worry about where their next paycheck is coming from and the fear of not having enough money always keeps most people from pursuing a new career.
  3. Lack of Experience – Your lack of experience may keep you from feeling confident about your skills, so you’ll be less likely to pursue any new opportunities.


If you notice, these three categories are more mental obstacles, than they are real obstacles. While it’s pretty obvious that you’ll have to invest a lot of your time and in most cases money to get to where you want to be, you shouldn’t give these obstacles more power over your future than they deserve.


Here are some ways that you can begin dealing with these obstacles before they stop you in your tracks:

  • Set up a daily schedule that allows you to work on your career goals a little bit at a time. Give yourself an hour, half an hour or at least fifteen minutes every day to complete one career-related task.
  • Determine what your priorities are. Would you rather watch TV or call someone that may be able to help you with your career goals? All of us make small decisions every day that have a big impact on our progress.
  • Conduct some detailed research on how much money you’ll need to get started in your new career. Explore your options and ask a lot of questions – don’t just assume that you’ll have to fork over some serious money to make things happen.
  • Put together a bare bones budget. A bare bones budget excludes all of the monthly expenses that you don’t absolutely need to spend on. Using a bare bones budget should give you the opportunity to save up the money you need to pursue an alternative career including several months of training, work materials or just extra savings to get by on until you can begin making a steady income.
  • Make a list of any of your personal or professional experiences that can help you in pursuing your new career path. Think back on the skills and resources that you came up with when you wrote a rough draft of your plan.
  • Find different ways to get the experience you need. Contact professional organizations, speak to other professionals in your chosen field or try to offer your services on a freelance basis.


Pursuing an Alternative Career Path: The Planning Stage

After sharing the story of my unexpected journey into the world of freelance writing, I decided it would be important for me to give you some tips on developing a plan to pursue an alternative career (the kind of tips that I wish someone had given me when I first decided to pursue writing).

While I realize that everybody’s situation is different and that most people can’t just quit their regular job to pursue an alternative career, I really think that once you start putting your plan together that it will take a lot of the fear and uncertainty that you may be feeling out of the equation and eventually drive you to take the necessary steps towards building the career of your dreams.


Here’s an easy and pain-free way to start putting your plan together:


  1. Put it on paper. Put together a dream board or write a list in your journal that describes your dream job. What would your typical work day be like? What type of people would you be working or collaborating with on a regular basis? In what ways would you be contributing to your local community or society in general? How much money would you be making? Write all of these details down without placing any limitations on yourself and you are guaranteed to get an accurate description of your alternative career.
  2. Identify your personal assets and resources. You may already have many of the skills or qualities necessary to pursue an alternative career, but you’ve been too busy thinking about the reasons why it wouldn’t work.  Instead of thinking about what you don’t have, start evaluating the skills and resources that are currently at your disposal. I didn’t have any experience as a content writer when I first started writing online, but I did have experience in writing reports, press releases, resumes and many other types of business and marketing documents. As soon as I realized this, I was able to use my experience to develop my content writing skills.
  3. Make a to-do list. I don’t know about you, but having a list of chores or simple tasks in front of me really makes it easier to tackle a huge project. Pursuing an alternative career may seem overwhelming at first, but if you break it up into smaller tasks it will be much more manageable. Your list should include a lot of research-related tasks at this stage. Your main focus should be on gathering information about courses that you might need to take, people you should talk to or books you need to read.
  4. Write a rough draft of your plan. It’s impossible to know what the future holds or what your actions may lead to, but you should put together a basic plan for reaching your goals. What do you need to do? How long will it take to meet each of your goals? Will you need to invest more time or money throughout the process? It’s time to think about these issues and consider the information you’ve gathered. A rough draft of your plan should help you to focus more on what’s important as you begin your journey, but you should also be willing to make any necessary changes to it as you learn more and reach certain milestones.


How Do You Succeed In Business

Researchers have studied the qualities of successful business people, and found that they all shared certain personality traits, skills and behaviors that were lacking or insufficient in individuals who had not been successful.

What Does It Take to Succeed In Business?



A successful entrepreneur develops and interacts with an extensive network of people, and knows how to leverage their contacts, knowledge and skills. John D. Rockefeller’s statement illustrates this beautifully: “I would rather earn 1% off 100 people’s efforts than 100% off my own efforts.”



A true leader empowers others by guiding the decision making process in such a way that the other people on the team come up with the ideas or win-win solutions that the leader had in mind.



Long-lasting success is based on truth. A lie may grant a short term mini-victory, but trust once lost is difficult, often impossible to regain.



Successful people believe in themselves and welcome constructive criticism from others. This is the basis for lifelong learning, as well as for the courage to take control and responsibility, to be proactive, to face challenges and take risks.



Keeping an open mind and the ability to handle unexpected changes is crucial to seizing opportunities and achieving success.



Successful entrepreneurs don’t mind working hard, but they prefer to work smart. They aren’t afraid to take a major risk, but they do assess the situation thoroughly before they jump into action.



Successful entrepreneurs have a set of goals and a clear plan of action towards meeting them. They prioritize their activities and manage their time well. They don’t procrastinate on anything important, and they do keep great records of what they do.



To maintain the stamina necessary to run a successful business, smart entrepreneurs take good care of their physical and mental health by balancing their business and nonbusiness activities. They also maintain a desirable fitness level and proper nutrition.


How Do You Become a Leader?

Even if you are a follower as of this moment, you can train yourself to become a leader.

Your leadership status is determined by your state of mind and the level of your belief in yourself, and not so much by what you know or have. Once you put yourself in the leadership frame of mind, eventually you will indeed become a leader and others will start perceiving you as one, as well.

In order to train yourself to become a leader, you must:


  • Develop a mindset of abundance
  • Develop a strong will
  • Be willing to set the rules
  • Protect and serve your followers
  • Respect yourself and your time
  • Take great care of yourself


UK Careers in Construction Examined

What About Careers In Construction?

Currently construction is one of the leading industries in today’s world. It can range from Building Skills, to Architecture and on to Design and even Health and Safety issues at work. With so many inter-related roles and disciplines, training and qualifications vary enormously.

In the construction industry there are three levels to consider. “Unskilled” and “Semi-Skilled” workers have little or no formal credentials, but generally make up the bulk of the on-site workforce. Following this are the skilled workers, who’ve trained and built up their abilities. Many take on lower management positions. At the top of the scale we have the careers relating to more senior management and technical staff. These people have trained to design and/or manage the overall process and as such are the most qualified within their field.


How To Train In The Construction Sector

Skilled jobs demand some form of further education study – predominantly in subjects connected to the vocation itself. These qualifications are either obtained directly through colleges, or through ‘on the job’ training. Just over two years ago, over 8,500 construction training positions began in this country. In addition to the 613,000 or so people within the construction trades in the UK during 2009 another 18,000 students were assigned to training programmes.

In the industry there are three standard construction sectors. They all focus on different areas of the market.

Building Construction is the initial area to check off. This is the process by which structural improvements are made to established buildings. For example with the addition of rooms or renovation of bathrooms etc. Profit centred organisations that work on medium sized projects come under the heavy construction category.

Industrial Construction is a relatively small part of the entire construction industry, but it is a key part of it. Due to the size of the schemes the owners are often very large profit-based entities.


The large industrial developments (and the bigger civil ones too) require very experienced professionals from many different backgrounds. Without a doubt the costs of ventures increase from a few hundred pounds for small projects through to many millions of pounds for large industrial schemes. Let’s now get an overview of some of the professionals who work in the industry:


Civil Engineering


It’s usual for a civil engineer to have an appropriate university degree. In addition the Chartered Engineer certification can be obtained through the Institution of Civil Engineers. To achieve chartered status engineering graduates need to hold the four year MEng. With a three year BEng under your belt you could consider becoming an Incorporated Engineer.


Building Engineers


These can also be referred to as ‘M&E Engineers’. These candidates usually hold degrees in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering. Graduating M and E Engineers can join the CIBSE at Graduate level to increase their contacts and networks of professionals.


Careers With Electrical Training Courses

Train For A Profitable New Career As An Electrician

The electrical industry has become one of the most significant aspects of life today. Both commercially and domestically we need good electricians. Essentially the work involves installing, maintaining and testing electrical systems, equipment and appliances under strict safety regulations. A report compiled by the Summit Skills showed that in 2009 there were a total of 613,000 people employed in the electrical industry in the United Kingdom. With the right qualifications you too could be enjoying a profitable and rewarding electrical career.


Can I Do It?

Who gets on well with this type of work? As electricians use tools and are very hands-on most of the time, you must be able to work well practically.

Those who can work methodically through a process do well as electricians. You must be happy working alone if you’re considering self-employment. Obviously if you’re colour-blind, this work isn’t going to be right for you. And in the end, if being your own boss is your goal, you should be determined and positive!


Control Your Own Future

Many career-changers consider electrical work so they can set themselves up in business. In fact the majority of those who have re-trained either become contract workers or self-employed.

And there appears to be an ongoing healthy demand for electrical contractors in private housing, so it can work very well. Of course, some just want the qualifications so they can earn a second income part-time. Finally some just want to be able to carry out electrical work in their own homes.

The beauty of doing electrical work is that every good job you do will be talked about by your clients. Obviously, the same goes for any bad experience they have! Be sure that you’re pleasant and courteous whenever you’re in someone else’s home – apart from being the right thing to do, it could bring in a lot more work!

Some electricians employed by big companies work shifts, but most work a regular eight hour day during the week. Despite regional variations, the average employee electrician in Britain in 2009 earned approx 26K. Electricians who work for themselves and take on a variety of domestic jobs can bring in significantly more than that, although their hours are usually longer. Of course, anyone running their own business has to cover their costs as well, though these shouldn’t be too extensive.


How Do I Begin?

The electrical industry mainly recognises EAL and City & Guilds in Britain today. National Vocational Qualifications can also be undertaken by proving commercial competency in industry.

This typically will take three to four years. Mature entrants generally study courses in their own time on a partly distance-learning basis.

As most of them are preparing for work in housing rather than industry, they don’t need NVQs. Specialised colleges focus on teaching skills that will help students learn what they need in months, not years. So whilst trainees emerge with more limited qualifications, they are still considered competent and qualified to carry out the more in-demand jobs.


Training For A Domestic Electrical Installer

Whatever your starting point, you’ll cover certain essential practices whoever you train with. A good all round programme for beginners would be an EAL Domestic Installers Course, at Level 2. You’ll be taught a basic understanding of electrical wiring in the home and standard safety procedures. You’ll be prepared for the EU Building Regulations qualification known as Part P.

Similarly, you’ll have training for the City & Guilds 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations Certificate (2382), another legal necessity. Working towards these industry-recognised qualifications will equip you not only to work on jobs in kitchens and bathrooms, on lighting circuits and wall sockets etc. but also to self-certify them as well. The whole process will probably involve around 300 -500 hours of training, which will be part home study and part in-centre training. Qualified electricians are needed all over the country. The opportunities are there – now it’s up to you.

The Best About Careers & Apprenticeships In Plumbing

Increase Your Income By Becoming a Certified Plumber

People will always need the services of qualified plumbers, in good times and bad. Work in the domestic field continues to thrive, despite the setbacks of recession. We all know a neighbour or friend of a friend who couldn’t get an emergency plumber for weeks! There’s also loads of work to be had putting in downstairs loos, new showers, en-suites etc. as people are moving less and up-grading more. Consequently if you’re considering a career change, you might well find that becoming a professional plumber fits the bill!

Convert To Self-Employment

A career change into the plumbing industry is often prompted by the desire to have a small self-run business. The majority of newly qualified plumbers over the age of twenty five choose to work for themselves in the domestic market. Obviously this makes sense when you think of the level of demand in just about every town in the country.As with all the trades, good plumbers pick up a lot of their business via recommendations from satisfied customers.

Working for yourself means getting on well with everyone around you. Present yourself well, and work can come from surprising sources. Remembering to treat other people and their homes with respect will pay dividends down the road. Commercial plumbers will usually work on weekdays only, typically 8am to 5pm. But self-employed domestic plumbers have a different situation. If you’re willing to work some evenings and weekends on emergency jobs and quotations, householders will soon get to know you can be trusted.

Rewarding Work For Years To Come…

As a qualified plumber you can have a job for life, which will provide security and a good income for you and your family. The work’s very fulfilling – you play an important role in people’s day to day lives, so you’re never just another number in a big organisation. Obviously you only need to take on the work you want to do, although it’s not a good idea to be too picky at first!

If you’re planning to run your own business, you’ll need to get a feel for how to do good quotes. This means allowing for your expenses as well as your time. You might like to work out a system to account for all your fixed costs. Some of the more commercial plumbing courses will teach you about business practices.

Which Is Best For Me?

Look for industry recognised City & Guilds courses. These are available from both technical colleges and private training companies. Those looking to train straight from school usually find apprenticeship work where they can take NVQ’s as well as City & Guilds. It’s more common though for re-trainers to learn their trade part-time so they can still afford to pay their bills! That’s why so many private colleges have emerged, which cater for career changers who sometimes only need domestic training. Their fees will be higher, but in the long run they’re more cost effective for the person looking to work for themselves in a predominantly domestic environment.

Additional Skills

Whichever course you decide on, you should emerge with at least basic plumbing skills in sanitation systems, hot and cold water systems and more. If, like many plumbers you bolt-on a few extra skills, you’ll be able to complete projects yourself without having to bring in other trades. Additional skills could be in plastering or tiling, basic electrical work or energy efficiency.

You’ll find it easier to build your reputation if you provide some extra bolt-ons. Your work will be more evenly spread all year round. If you can take on small electrical tasks or handle gas whilst you’re on a job, you won’t waste time working to someone else’s calendar.

To round up, if you’re looking to work for yourself in private housing the most effective route will be via a specialist plumbing training company.