It is my experience that a business owner gets the best, most practical advice from someone who has walked a mile in his shoes, which is why I suggest to my clients that that join a peer advisory group.
The old saying is true – It’s lonely at the top. And it is important to overcome the isolation that comes with being the boss. Peer groups offer an opportunity to discuss important issues with those who can empathize and offer unbiased advice. Bankers, accountants and investors that you mentioned can come to the table with biases and agendas that are not necessarily aligned with those of the business owner. I am not implying any evil-doing, but they just come with a different perspective.
The opportunity to network is another benefit of joining a peer group. Professional networking is becoming more important for growing one’s business, and often members of these groups end up doing business with fellow members and referrals.
Finally, leading an organization comes with tremendous pressure and responsibility, and can be a roller-coaster ride of emotions that you probably don’t want to share with your employees. Having a group of trusted peers allows you to be comfortable sharing hidden feelings and blow off a little steam, too.
A business plan should be a tool to guide your business, not a source of anxiety. Successful businesses balance financial and personal goals. If you’re miserable, financial success isn’t very rewarding. Set personal goals first, and plan the rest of your businesses accordingly. How much time, energy and anxiety are you willing to invest in your business?
Also, don’t let the process of planning suck energy from your main goal of acquiring customers. Full business plans are only absolutely required when raising outside capital; investors and lenders need to know where their money is going and when they will get it back.
This short-term insurance policy helps small businesses expand into new foreign markets, add new buyers, and transfer all foreign buyer credit decision making to Ex-Im Bank at an economical cost. It is a “named buyer” policy that simplifies small business access to export credit risk insurance on their foreign accounts receivable. In addition to providing payment risk protection and allowing the extension of competitive credit terms to foreign buyers, the insurance also enables small businesses to obtain lender financing of those receivables through the assignment of policy proceeds.
A streamlined online application provides a policy quote and credit decisions up to $300,000 on foreign buyers within five workdays (buyer credit requests exceeding $300,000 will require additional processing time). Insurance premiums are payable only upon an exporter’s shipment, or invoice for services, to a buyer pre-approved by Ex-Im Bank. Premium rates are determined by a rate schedule based on the credit term with no differentiation based on country.
Credit reports on all buyers the exporter elects to insure are complimentary (though they remain with Ex-Im Bank). Insuring pre-existing foreign buyers is optional. There are no application fees. A $500 advance deposit is required at quotation acceptance to issue the policy. This deposit is refundable if the exporter decides to cancel the policy.