Finally

I have been working on the new website and getting things in place.

As you may know I have been working on a business plan and ideas for PianoSD.  Max Morgan of Max Morgan Design at http://maxmorgandesign.com and I have been collaborating on this new site now for some time.  Most of the emphasis is directed towards piano teachers.

In the middle of January we finally got it launched and moving.  Very exciting.  I have written my business plan and done my research and feel as if we have a pretty solid plan in place.  Lots of new programs are coming and lots of things happening.  I will do my very best to keep you informed and get the business ideas coming to you on a more consistent basis.

Visit the new site when you have a chance visit the new site and feel free to leave feedback. http://PianoSD.com

Ric Overton

 

Next step

Once you have composed your thoughts and gotten your ideas about your business on paper it’s time to organize those thoughts into a “readable” document.  It should be clear and concise.  Tell the reader how to unlock the door and turn on the lights to turning off the lights and locking the door behind them when you leave.

One of the most important steps here is to tell the reader simply how you are going to do business.  Don’t explain in great detail about how your order forms read or what color pen you are going to use but include as much as possible to let your reader be able to visualize the business and try to see it through their eyes.  Try to avoid vernacular that is specific to your industry, for example, we use the word “flooring” in the piano business to describe inventory financing to people inside our industry, and then try to help the reader understand what it is you are doing and how you plan to accomplish that.

Once you have that in understandable language and you feel your job is complete, turn to someone you KNOW you can trust that is outside of your industry to read it and give you constructive criticism of what they have read.  You know that if you do this and they understand it then you have a workable business plan.  If not, then you may have to change a few things.

Now that you have that in shape it will be time to move to step two which is understanding finances and how they are going to relate to your business plan and lastly we will look at goal setting.  What is your plan?  What is your exit strategy? Do you plan to retire with this business? etc.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing your comments.

One last thing.  I will be setting up an e-commerce site here to help you in your business.  We are planning a few products that will be helpful to you.  I am in contact with a few people who may have interesting ideas and valuable input.  I will let you know as it progresses.

Ric Overton

http://ricoverton.biz, http://ricoverton.me, http://ricoverton.com, http://pianosd.com

If you need a nice L.A. Restaurant for business meetings

try not to make a habit of reviewing restaurants and places of business but, this is one I couldn’t resist.

Holidays can be difficult when you are away from your family. Today a restaurant in West Hollywood made it all much easier. As I told you in my blog this morning we were going to Tart in West Hollywood because we like it and have eaten there a couple of times. We really expect something different on holidays because we are both from the South and used to getting treated special during holiday celebrations, etc.

TART RESTAURANT

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the restaurant was full but not crowded when we arrived. We were taken directly to our table at 12:45 (15 minutes before our reservation). Our waitress immediately greeted us and after a little small talk ( you know the proper amount of small talk ) she brought our drinks and absolutely perfect coffee and our salads.

 

Tart RestaurantTart Restaurant

After our salads the wait staff came and cleared our table and brought the perfect, moist turkey. It was topped with gravy that was obviously straight from the turkey pan (not like the bottled or canned type) stuffing that was prepared from the turkey juices because it was “just right” I even ordered a side dish of the stuffing, incredible mashed potatoes and the best yams I have had in ages. In addition, we also had green beans with a cranberry chutney and grilled brussel sprouts along with a buttermilk biscuit that I swear my mother made. Lastly, the best bread pudding I have had in years which is generally not my favorite but it was the right blend and the best serving size.

 

The best part was the staff. They were attentive, polite and the perfect blend of service. They didn’t sit down at our table and attempt to get to know us but had the right amount of hospitality.

If you are ever in the Los Angeles area this place is a must. It is located on Fairfax across from the Farmers Market/The Grove. Call ahead for an appointment. We have never stayed at the Farmers Daughter Hotel which is part of the restaurant. If the service and food of Tart is any indication whatsoever of the service we will most likely stay there at some point in the future.

To the staff and Chef at Tart – Thank you

Ric Overton

http://RicOverton.me

http://RicOverton.biz

http://PianoSD.com

 

 

 

Next step

I have had several questions about the business plan article.  Where do I start, how do I do this, whats this for, etc.  So, lets start at the beginning.  This is not a difficult process.

You want to go in business or perhaps you already are in business and are not sure of where you are going or what you are doing.  So, now is the time to stop, take a look around, look inside your head at what you are thinking and try to get some direction.

You have to ask yourself very important questions.  Does your idea need a space to operate in?  If so, how much space do you need and how much will it cost.  How do you want your space decorated?  Remember first impressions are lasting impressions.  Do you want a luxurious look or perhaps a more down to earth look and how can you create that space?  If money is no object then perhaps you want to consult a RETAIL or OFFICE designer.  Not your best friend who is “really smart” but, hire a pro who has experience in creating what you are looking for.

The department stores and major companies with offices spend MILLIONS of dollars in research BEFORE they put their businesses up for the general public.  What colors, what schemes, what patterns, where to place things, etc.

With many years of experience in department store layout, I discovered that there is a reason that all the “yucky, boring” food is on the top shelf and the yummy stuff is further down.  Adults buy yucky food, kids want yummy food.  If you want yummy, you will find it.  If your kids want yummy food they can see it too and guess what? You buy it.  Ever notice the candy is at the check out where you can see it while you are standing in line and just how long do you have to stand there before temptation gives in, you turn around and grab that candy bar and off you go.

Ever notice that the cosmetic department is generally located at the center of the department store at the mall  entrance?  Ever notice that the letters on the back walls are all at the same heights?  Ever notice how the floors are designed and laid out in the stores?  All of this doesnt happen by chance, it is a well thought out plan down to the colors of logos and carpets and even the smell of the cleaner in the bathroom.  Ever stay in a Hilton Hotel, remember what the room smelled like?

Your business needs to be well thought out.  You are not marketing to the same group of people you were 5 or 10 years ago.  The new consumers are different.  If you dont see that you have REALLY big problems and its time to start taking notice of the new world.

Once you have answered all of these questions ON PAPER.  Then put them in a logical sequence of order HOW, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE AND WHY and you can begin the purpose of the business plan.

Next we are going to be talking about financial strategies.

I am working on starting a podcast shortly.  This is not a simple feat either.  It requires a little more thought than I originally planned but, I will get it done soon.

Until next time.

Ric Overton

http://PianoSD.com and http://RicOverton.com and http://RicOverton.me

Business Plans Continued

As I spent some time writing about business plans last week I felt as though there was more that I should say and some things that might help some of you understand.

Business plans should be a living document that you refer to often.  It should be a virtual road map of how you intend to do business.  Properly written it should describe whats going on in your mind and what your concept is.  They are not meant to be difficult or stressful to produce and generally speaking really don’t have to meet a specific guideline.

Starting a business without a business plan as a reference is like going to a remote town in a state that you know nothing about without a road map to get you there.  Chances are you will never make it but, if you do successfully it will take you longer to get there in most cases than if you had consulted a road map.

So, to reiterate, once you have the idea of what you are going to do or what your concept is, start to develop your ideas.  Think of yourself and your idea and then start to grow on those ideas.  You can consult your competition by visiting, look at their advertisements, pay attention to their customers, look at their store design (if its a retail store) or the office set up (if its an office) and generally consider exactly how you intend to begin.

Think of the things that “could” occur and how you will react to the things that “pop up”.  But, again, you are trying to decide how you intend to conduct your business.  Perhaps you intend to send thank you notes to your customers, you need to write into your business plan exactly what type of stationary you are going to use and what color you are going to write your note in.  Perhaps you want music in your area- what type of music is it going to be, etc.  I guess you get the point by now.

Most importantly – BEFORE YOU SIGN THE LEASE OR START YOUR BUSINESS YOU MUST WRITE DOWN EXACTLY WHATS IN YOUR MIND.  I sometimes jot  down business plans for fun.  Take a look at a business, visualize myself in the business and jot down ideas and thoughts about how to properly engage in this business.

Lastly, Google business plans or “How To” and you will find a treasure of business plans and ideas.

Let me know how it goes, I would be interested to hear.

Ric Overton of http://PianoSD.com

Business Plans

I am asked on a regular basis about business.  How to start a new business how to close an old business, what to do, what not to do, etc.  Its very easy to get a business moving.  Its another thing entirely to see that business get up and running and all of the things you need, you at some point have to start making money.

At the beginning of everything must, MUST be a plan.  You can not fully execute anything without a plan.  I know, its a pain to sit down and actually get your mind around what you do and formulate a business plan, but, it has to be done.

Here are some questions that should be asked.  What is it that I want to do?  Do I know what I want to do? What is the market for my goods?  Who are my customers? What are they buying?  Am I just another business that does xyz?  Am I different and if so, how, if not, why not?  How do I intend to make money?, etc, etc.,etc.  I once helped propose basic questions that should and need to be answered BEFORE opening a business and we stopped at 153 questions.  It’s easy to put the open sign out, its something entirely different when you’re faced with the daily ins and outs of the business.
Google business plans sometime and you will find out exactly what a business plan is all about.  I never advocated getting so technical that you are writing an operations manual but, I am telling you that without a plan you will, 100% promise, you will fail.

I listened to a motivational speaker once who “took his hat off and stayed a while” and he explained that taking your business to the next level means looking at every key aspect of your business and making the stable parts strong but making the weaker parts of your business a prime focus or doing away with them.

These things take courage and most of the time come with some extremely hard decisions but they are decisions that have to be made.

When you Google business plans and see the prime aspects of building a business plan and really begin to dissect your every day goals you suddenly realize how many things you need and how many things you could easily do without.  Strengthen what you need and disperse what you can do without and immediately your business will begin to take on a character of its own.

Often times when we start in business we have plans and aspirations of what that business is to be, only to be seen many months or possibly even years later that it took its own turn, with or without your help.

Still, everything should be written down.  Not as a diary but as a plan.  The plan has to be well thought out in order for it to be executed properly.  Start today writing your business plan.  You will find out in the long run that it is exactly what you needed when you read back in black and white what you are thinking.

Until next time

Ric Overton

Look for me at http://PianoSD.com via Http://MaxMorganDesign.com

 

 

This is my first post in my new blog.

I am excited about the opportunity to bring you my new business blog.

This blog was created to be an aid or help to those people in the music business mostly, the piano business but may have some assistance to others.  I hope this blog will help you in some way.  Perhaps to show you something new or a different perspective.  It always helps me see through a different set of eyes from time to time.

Please feel free to send me comments or questions and I will be happy to assist you if possible. One of my greatest loves is PianoSD.com and you will see references often.

One other comment is that Max Morgan of http:maxmorgandesign.com has helped all of this come together and I am grateful for his help.

Thank you for visiting and hope to see you often

Ric Overton

Ric@PianoSD.com is my personal email address.

http://PianoSD.com