Three Quick Reasons Why Your Business Plan Is Failing You

Are you constantly being denied funding for your business? Do you feel like your brilliant ideas are getting overlooked? You may be making these three mistakes in your business plan:

Some items in your financial projections are missing.

It’s easy to just focus on revenue and costs, but you could never have too much detail when it comes to finances. Including critical items, such as taxes, capacity, accrual accounting, and best/worst scenarios, will help determine how your business will run. 

You’re not receiving feedback.

Have several people read through your business plan Also, be sure to have people review your business plan before you give a pitch. It is very easy for you to glaze over grammatical errors that won’t look professional when you’re presenting your pitch to investors.

You don’t include your business’ unique factors.

One of the purposes of your business plans is to tell your company’s story. You have to ask yourself, “what makes my business special?” Investors, lenders, and CEOs are extremely busy people who read through many business plans, so talk about the assets that make you stand out from the crowd.

Of course, it takes many revisions and patience before getting your business plan just right. The desired funding, attention, and assistance will be so worth the work. Schedule a consultation with Angela Crane-Jones today to help create the business plan you deserve.

Five Must Haves to Include in Your Business Plan

A business plan is a tangible divide between entrepreneurs who have an abstract idea and entrepreneurs who have a solid, promising structure established. Here are the five things that your business plan absolutely cannot go without:

Executive summary

An executive summary is a brief that precedes a business plan. It sums up the business plan and opportunity in a tight document. A strong executive summary will grab attention and help you get face time with investors, lenders, executives, managers, and CEOs. 

Business description

The business description follows the executive summary and it outlines vital information about your company, such as the location, the services you provide, the mission statement, and company history. Be sure to only keep the necessary details because it can be easy to get carried away in this section.

Industry analysis

An industry analysis is a portion of your business plan that provides statistics about the market potential of your business, product and services. Specific information about the current state of the industry and target market must be in this section. Also, it may contain reference materials such as spreadsheets, pie charts and bar graphs to represent the data. Don’t forget to include a list of your major competitors in your industry with a brief summary of their operations and similar products or services.

Financial analysis

The financial analysis section of a business plan should contain the data for financing your business for the present and future and an estimation of your operating expenses. It should include a balance sheet, cash-flow analysis, profit-and-loss analysis, break-even analysis, and personnel-expense forecast. If you’re completing a financial analysis for a business that has not started yet, your assumptions and data must be based on detail.

Appendix

The appendix of a business plan is the perfect place to include any additional documents that you want to use to give your reader a feel for your product, services, and much more. Be sure to only include relevant information in. It should not be totally unrelated to the materials you’ve already covered.

Planning is the key to success. If you’re struggling with this, schedule a consultation with Angela Crane-Jones to create the business plan you need to get your foot in the door.

Five Things You Need to Know About End-Of-The-Year Charitable Tax Write Offs

A gift to a qualified charitable organization may entitle you to a charitable contribution deduction against your income tax if you itemize deductions. Here are five things you need to know about the end of the year charitable write off

Only gifts to qualified charities are eligible for a tax deduction

It is crucial to know that in order to claim a tax deduction for a charitable gift, you have to make the gift to an organization that qualifies as a true charity. Not all nonprofit organizations qualify for charitable status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For example, gifts to political organizations, business leagues, social clubs, fraternal societies, and a host of other entities that qualify for nonprofit status are not deductible.

To verify whether your gift will be tax-deductible and avoid triggering an audit, you can do a search at this IRS website to see if the entity to which you want to make a gift is on the list of qualified charities.

You have to itemize deductions to get a tax benefit for a donation.

Most people know that donations to charities are deductible, but not everyone appreciates that the deduction is only available to those who itemize on their tax returns. Those who take the standard deduction don’t get any tax benefit from their donations.

FYI: Tax reform boosted the amount of the standard deduction substantially in 2018 compared to 2017 levels. This will almost certainly result in fewer people choosing to itemize, and that in turn will give fewer people a tax benefit from their charitable giving.

You need acknowledgment of gifts of $250 or more

Most people give cash or checks as their charitable donations because it’s easy and quick. However, there are some requirements for gifts of $250 or more. In addition to the records you need to keep for any donation that prove that you made the donation, a $250 gift must get a written acknowledgment from the charity that indicates how much you gave and says whether you got anything in return from the charity. That in turn will help you figure out the net amount you can deduct, as you generally have to offset your donation by the value of what you receive from the charity in exchange for the gift unless it qualifies for an exemption.

Many gifts of property need more documentation

You can also donate property to charity and deduct its fair market value. Deductions of $500 or more require completion of IRS Form 8283, which requires some basic information about the donated goods. If you claim a deduction of more than $5,000, then you’ll need a qualified appraisal of the property, unless it’s a publicly traded security like a stock. Gifts above the $500,000 mark require you to attach the appraisal to your tax return. Due to fraud concerns, gifts in special categories, such as automobiles and other vehicles, require special treatment. 

Older individuals can make donations directly from an IRA

Those who are 70 and older can donate up to $100,000 to charity directly from their IRA. Although you won’t get a tax deduction for doing so, you also won’t have to include the withdrawn amount from your IRA as taxable income, as you would if you had kept the money yourself. This charitable rollover can be a great way to use excess retirement money that you don’t need yourself to go toward a great cause.

By knowing the rules governing charitable donations and your taxes, you’ll be able to take maximum advantage of the Internal Revenue Service’s generosity and make a bigger impact on the world. Need additional help with your business? Schedule an appointment with Angela Crane-Jones.

Ten Reasons Why You Should Support NBIC

We have deep roots in Nashville.

Our history goes back to 1983 when Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) submitted a proposal to Congress to accelerate job growth in economically disadvantaged areas in Nashville. The following year, TVA appointed the Growth Enterprises Nashville, Inc. board to oversee Phase II of the project, birthing the the Nashville Business Incubation Center (NBIC).

 

We have a successful 30-year track record.

We have been helping small business owners grow from acorns into mighty oaks for over thirty years. We take pride in being results-oriented and goal-driven.

 

We are led by a Tennessee State graduate.

This incubator is led by Angela Crane-Jones, a proud TSU graduate and award-winning business advisor.  She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and Master of Arts degree. Additionally, a few of our clients are TSU graduates and their businesses have added jobs to the economy, employing TSU alum. We bleed Tennessee State blue! 

 

We have notable graduates. 

If you have ever visited the city’s office buildings, you will see them guarded by Archangel Protective Services, an NBIC graduate that added over 100 jobs after completing our hallmark Mighty Oak program. Maybe you’ve heard about the fresh, customized pizzas at Slim +  Husky’s or you have seen Nashville’s #1 food truck, The Grilled Cheeserie. These incredibly prosperous businesses allowed us to hold their dreams in our hands.

 

We strongly value inclusion and equity. 

At the Incubation Center, we believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to grow during the unprecedented economic rise in our city. We offer educational and expert-level offerings for small businesses, especially those owned by women, veterans, and ethnic minorities.

 

We have over eight phenomenal offerings to choose from.

Are you looking for help with securing work with governmental agencies? We have a program for that. Maybe you’re looking for a support system to help you support your brilliant business idea? We have a program for you! Take our Biz Quiz to see which program is best for you.

 

We have provide 360 degrees of support.

From human resources to legal help, you have your back! Many of our programs, such as the Entrepreneur in Residence program, offers an accountability partner with a holistic business approach. You will never be alone in your entrepreneurial journey with the Incubation Center. 

 

We are passionate about helping small businesses win federal contract awards.

We understand that women and minority business owners have been overlooked in the federal contracting process in the past, so we partner with organizations that are dedicated to solving this issue, such as the Metro Nashville Office of Women and Minority Business Assistance, and we offer programs, such as Elevate.

 

We are an industry-agnostic incubator.

Many incubators are zoned in on one speciality, such as technology or culinary. However, we have a powerful and diverse team of professionals to help you scale a sustainable business. 

 

We help create wealth in the community.

Our client companies have collectively added created over 450 new jobs and generated over $100 million in sales. We ensure that our regional economy is prosperous.

There are many more reasons to fall in love with the Incubation Center. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, discover all that the NBIC has to offer by scheduling a consultation with Angela Crane-Jones at Calendly

Five Ways to Ensure Your Workplace is Inclusive

Studies show that inclusive workplaces are six times more innovative, creative, and productive. How do you ensure that your office feels inclusive enough for your employees to feel like they belong every day of work?

Celebrate employee differences

Inviting your employees to share their backgrounds and traditions in the workplace is a great way to show your respect of differences. For example, start highlighting holidays and special dates from all cultures represented in the workplace when creating company calendars and newsletters.

Invest in diversity training

Diversity training is a wonderful investment that will help employees understand how cultural differences can impact how people work and interact at work. It can cover anything from communication styles to respecting others’ identities to dealing with conflict.

Create pathway for employees to comfortably communicate issues

Open-door policies (literal or figurative) may sound intimidating, but it’s one of the best ways to build trust and improve communication with your employees. Be sure to establish boundaries and expectations for communication to flow smoothly.

Establish policies

Set policies and standards for how employees are expected to work together. Written guidelines are proven to reduce instances of harassment and discrimination. 

Do community service projects

Find community service projects in your area for your team to participate in monthly. Studies show that serving the community as a team boosts employee morale and helps create a positive working atmosphere where people feel like they belong.

A workplace that has mastered inclusion is where people are able to be their true, professional selves and bring everything they have to the table. Are you looking for 360 degrees of support, especially in the human resources aspect of business? Schedule a consultation today.