Melinda Brown says attending a NORBEC seminar transformed her booming Ballina business after it started to experience growing pains.
Melinda Brown says attending a NORBEC seminar transformed her booming Ballina business after it started to experience growing pains.

Business plan a sound investment

BY HER own admission Mel Brown was floundering a couple of years ago when her Ballina-based business suddenly took off.

“All of a sudden we experienced massive growth and it was beyond my experience to manage it properly,” she said.

To make matters worse her company, Spirit Dreaming Australia, has about four arms, which made managing the company that much harder.

Realising it was do or die, Ms Brown turned to Northern Rivers Business Enterprise Centre (NORBEC) business advisor Tony Zillig for help.

“He showed me how to write a business plan,” she said. “Before I was just floundering around and I wasn't prioritising properly.

“Having a business plan has kept me focused and I am able to better streamline my business.”

Research underlines the importance of gaining skills like how to write an effective and realistic business plan.

The latest statistics from the ABS indicate that after 18 months about a third of new businesses have failed, NORBEC marketing co-ordinator Chris Thomson said.

However, of the business owners who attended three or more training programs every year, 91% were still trading after three years.

“It is critically important for new and intending business owners to attend relevant and practical training before they commit their capital and time to a business,” Mr Thomson said.

To this end, NORBEC is running a series of Thrive & Survive seminars designed for new and intending small business owners.

How To Prepare Your Business Plan explains how to research your industry, market and competitors, identify business opportunities and threats, identify basic business strategies, analyse competitors, and prepare a business and action plan.

Participants can also access ongoing free professional advice.

“I can say that if you're looking at purchasing or starting a new business, then attend our business planning seminar,” Mr Thomson said.

“It will open a whole new perspective on your business idea and ownership.”

It can also open up avenues for government funding, Ms Brown added.

“Often with a lot of the questions for funding applications the answers are already in the business plan, so it's just a matter of copying them over,” she said, adding that her company has just received a grant of $80,000, with a few more in the pipeline.

“It has secured more funding because I come up looking more professional that the next bloke.”

The seminar will be held in Lismore today and Ballina/Byron on May 31. For further details call 6622 1933.

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