How to Create a Successful Business Plan

A good business plan enables you to build a strong foundation for your business, provides it integrity and helps to make you responsible towards your business. So, a proper business plan is inevitable in the success of a business. Charting a business plan can be nerve-racking, but with the right steps, it is a cake-walk.

Major sections of a business plan:

1. Executive Summary: Being the most critical section of a business plan, it is the first section that a reader sees. For the sake of perfection, you can write this section after you complete all other sections. It should provide a snapshot of your business, a mission statement, business history, current profile, founder’s details, locations, services offered, number of staff, future plans, and current profile in brief.

2. Market Analysis: This section indicates how well you have researched the prevalent market conditions. The chances of success, details of your industry, growth rate, market shares, current market trends, customer details, details of competitors and their products, comparative study of the products with respect to their strengths and weaknesses and so on can be included.

3. Company Description: This section provides a high level perspective of your industry and company, which helps the reader understand the relation between the two. It includes nature of your industry, company history, target customers, potential solutions that you will offer to target customers, and so on.

4. Organization and Management: This section should deal with how your staff is organized. The organization hierarchies, division of labor, profiles of managers, Board of Directors and Company Owner are to be included. This section should also include details of salary, perks and incentives.

5. Marketing and Sales Management: This section should help you to decide the marketing strategies for the sale of your goods and services.

6. Product Details: As the name indicates, this section describes the products or services that your business proposes to offer. You will need to provide details of current market research, benefits of products to customers, competitive advantages and copy rights or trade secrets with respect to your product.

7. Funding request: This section includes all that a bank or investor would need to know to understand the funding requirements of your business.

8. Financials: This section provides support, if you request for outside funding. Unless it is a startup company, this section should include your company’s financial track record for the past few years.

9. Appendices: This is where you will include all those details which you will not be able to fit into the other sections, but your readers might want to see.

While charting your business plan, you should think of the various audiences like bankers, investors, and professionals. Keeping properly formatted, short paragraphs is highly recommended in a business plan. You can include bulleted points to highlight the important points. It is nice to include complex data in the form of tables, or charts.

Updating Charts is a Bit of a Mess

Globally the whole business of updating charts is in a bit of a mess at the moment and probably will be for a while. Most national hydrographic offices are fairly well set up for maintaining their paper portfolios. This is no great surprise as some of them have been in this business for a century or more. However with the advent of electronic charts a lot of things have to change. The whole production process needs to be reorganised (not cheap) and some of the basic ways of thinking about charts have to change.

Raster charts are commonly produced as facsimiles of the paper charts. In a simplistic system they are literally scanned from the paper originals. This can give rise to inaccuracies for a range of reasons not least of which are distortions in the paper and non-linearity in the scanner. Scanning at a resolution appropriate to the electronic chart can cause a rather jagged appearance which is most noticeable in diagonal lines and known as aliasing. The raster chart has far fewer dots (pixels) than the corresponding paper chart and this can compromise appearance. A better production method is to create the raster image from the same electronic chart images used to drive the paper printing process. There are still some issues here with re-projection which need to be handled correctly but in general this is a cleaner and more accurate process. It also allows image processing such as anti-aliasing which gives a better visual impression when the electronic chart is displayed.

In either production technique the updating of the raster charts follows on more or less naturally from the time served paper chart update process. It is then common for the vector charts to be produced from the raster data, more or less indirectly from the paper chart production mechanism. At the end of the update chain are the third party chart producers who copy the official data sets and repackage them in a variety of ways. Quite naturally these are the last types of charts to get updated.

But this is all changing because this is not a good way to handle vector data and vector data is the future. It is a separate issue as to why vector charts are the future or whether it is the right future but for now it definitely is the future. The IHO and other august bodies are committed to this and substantial funds are being invested. This matters because creating vector data from paper charts is just not a good way of doing things.

In the vector world everything is an ‘object’ like a light or a depth contour or a traffic lane. Each object has ‘attributes’ like the color red or a certain depth. Each object also has a position (the ‘vector’) so it is represented as a point, a line or an area. These objects can be quite readily managed in a simple database but the natural way of organising them is to tie them more directly to the raw survey data. So when a report is received that a new wreck has been found it is just entered into the database – no intervening chart required.

Vector charts are now a cinch to produce. A cell is just a collection of all the objects in a given geographical area. The problem of actually displaying the chart data is palmed off to the ECDIS or ECS. Paper charts and raster charts are a bit more problematical because the traditional role of the cartographer has been taken out of the loop. Have you ever wondered why a modern chart display simply just does not look as good as a paper chart? Well this is why, there is no longer a cartographer involved to lay out the chart and make it look ‘just so’. Instead we have a dumb computer, and they are all dumb, attempting to reproduce the sort of work that takes a human many years of training and experience. It just doesn’t work so well.

Now to be fair the automated vector to raster production processes are getting better but none the less there is still a complete role reversal. The raster chart becomes a second class citizen to the vector chart and the paper chart ends up at the bottom of the pile. Instead of being the primary focus for updates it becomes the last. There are undoubtedly many advantages with vector charts and with paper charts generated from vector databases. However, for the foreseeable future, they are never going to match the visual quality of the charts that have become standard fare for the mariner for many years.

Last in the chain will always be the third party chart producers. Fortunately as their update feeds become predominantly more electronic (just another output from the database) then these updates should become more timely. Ultimately they should be able to match the official charts for accuracy.

Just now we are in a great transition phase. Some hydrographic offices are pushing ahead with vector only systems while others just deal with traditional paper charts. Most are somewhere in between and possibly a bit unsure of which way to go or how it is all going to shake out. Meanwhile the mariners can look forward to improved electronic charts coverage and more rapid updating. They can also anticipate charts which do not look so good and which, in some cases, are going to cost more. Maybe this is just a classic engineering compromise.

Corporate Charting – Is a Personal Natal Wheel Valid After the Death of the Founder?

During astrological research last year on the USA as a country and all our presidents, a corporation charting method was adopted that had wider application than originally thought. It can be somewhat time consuming to do a thorough job using this method but is not difficult. The original application was for corporate charting work and could definitely turn out to be an advantage for anyone studying or doing corporate astrology. This technique stems from an older published article but I cannot locate that original article to give the author deserved credit. Apologies. For this article personal research for the corporate example given and references for adopting the technique with the presidential study will be given.

Using the research on the original article it was studied carefully examining the points the author made to verify each activation. The original example was accurate, valid and worked as presented. With a good database of corporate information available, another well-known corporation and its founder were selected that had ample dated events. The original article was used as an instruction manual to apply the theory. It was amazing how well the technique worked on the corporation and founder separately chosen, just as the author said it would.

As with much of my research, once curiosity is satisfied and learning is gleaned from the study, the material was put away. During the presidential research, this old technique came to mind. It had to be re-worked with minor adaptations for a country and presidency rather than founder and corporation, mostly re-labeling of the concepts. The technique worked amazingly well for our evolving country.

As astrologers when we want to view development in individuals we look at important events or milestones in the life of that individual. Dates such as marriage, divorce, accomplishment, accident, surgery, birth of children, or deaths of significant others in the life are examined. If we were doing such work for a non-human entity such as a corporation the dates used would be those of opening of a business, public offerings, stock splits, expansions or contractions, partnership, takeovers, mergers, and various failures or successes. The same is true of the development or milestones in the life of a country. All that is required is the re-labeling mentioned previously. The wheel of a country is the map of a collective of humans operating as one body, a humanity being so to speak. That humanity being’s progressions can show the needs and conditions of that ongoing process, a timeline of sorts.

The original article example was that of a Japanese corporation and its founder. The verifying research (for the validity of the technique) was Walt Disney and his entertainment conglomerate. The presidential research example was that of the USA Virgo Rising wheel and each of the 43 presidents that have held the office of president during our history (Grover Cleveland was president twice).

Whatever is born in a moment of time is imprinted with the energies available at that moment in time and that is true of all beginnings. A map can be cast and read for the intent and the potential and then progressing maps outline the unfolding experience. The two companies described were founded by individuals. They took on lives of their own distinct from their founder but were clearly connected to that founder as ongoing events could be simultaneously seen in both the company and the founder wheels.

A company founder will grow old and eventually die but the corporation as a child of the founder lives on. It may experience new management or ownership, but will continue its own independent life cycle. It was amazing that ongoing corporate events could be seen clearly in the founder’s wheel continuing after the founder’s death. This required suspension of prior judgment that had been based on ignorance of possibility. It also raises an interesting question: how do you continue to map a person who has already passed on? The answer is the same way you mapped that person while alive, no change in technique.

You could extend this concept to regular natal wheels and the relationship between parents and children as an example. Astrologically, a theory should hold up through various applications. Have you ever noticed that events in a spouse’s life can still show up in the other spouse’s wheel even when they are no longer together? You can have activations involving a mother figure even when the natural mother is no longer on this earth plane? Perhaps as a foster or adopted mother, a grandmother, an older woman friend or one who has been cast as an affectionate mother figure. How would you find this? Simply continue regular individual progressions past the portal we call death. Think about this, There is actual activity for a person past death such as funerals, estates, selling or other distribution of property, memorials. Look at what has happened since Michael Jackson’s death. His legacy lives on. The birth wheel of a deceased person is still a map that can illustrate that individual’s experience. Anyone interested in contributing to some research?

The USA as a country requires a slightly different reading. A country is the child of a group of minds such our Founding Fathers. They as a collective attended multiple meetings over a couple of years to formulate and to set into motion what we call our country. That would be similarly true of the formation of any other country. To repeat the concept, a group of people collectively form a governing entity. The USA was born in a moment of time. That entity, the country, takes on its own identity, intent, potential and has ongoing experience and it has its own sky map.

In the USA we elect a leader (president) to a four-year term. Occasionally circumstance and events shorten that term and an elevated, but not directly elected president may be inaugurated. From what I described earlier as an individual founding a corporation, we must make simple adjustments. A group of individuals founded the country and the country became an entity. This non-human entity has needs and requirements and attracts to itself a leader to fulfill those needs. In this adaptation, a comparison must be made between the country and the presidents inaugurated as temporary leaders of the country (eight years is our current maximum). Also, a corporation or a country should have a much longer life than an individual. In this instance the USA is 233 years old at this writing.

The universe is amazing. It provides us with maps of its patterns and continually changing energy and we have known how to read them for thousands of years. It takes a little training and skill to learn to construct and read those maps just as it takes training and skill for any other endeavor. To not use the maps the universe provided is silly, but humanity gets stuck in fear and superstition continually. We fear what we do not understand and we negate anyone else’s efforts relative to what we individually fear. And so, over the centuries, a few brave souls maintained the knowledge and educated succeeding generations. Still all were subject to the fears and superstitions of those who did not possess the skill. Remember the old sayings about if we were meant to fly we would have wings? It took much time and experiment but it did happen. We fly. Flying is neither evil nor demonic it is actually quite convenient. We are now working hard on flying even further into space. The universe is a continually changing map and we are developing the skills to read that map.

As mentioned, the example for the experiment was Walt Disney and his incredible entertainment conglomerate. The conglomerate’s ongoing activity is clearly reflected in the progression of its founder while he was alive and continued past his death. Could it be done? Yes. Does it work? Yes. This comparison was one of the methods adopted for the much larger presidential research. This specific technique could not be simpler, but it does take a little time and effort to do research. It uses standard progressions. Using the Walt Disney research example…

· Set Walt Disney’s personal wheel and the wheel for the beginning of his business.

· Set every chart (natal) that materially affected the company, such as the incorporation, IPO and re-incorporation to name a few.

· Progress Walt Disney’s wheel to each event date to see the connection between his personal energy and corporate events during his living years. Compare progressed to natal and progressed to progressed.

· Progress the Disney business wheel to each important event. Compare progressed to natal and progressed to progressed on each important wheel. All of these charts should be and were connected to each other through close activations.

· Walt Disney did pass on, but his chart remained alive; his wheel continued to work even after his death. Progress his natal wheel as if he were still alive and compare it to the business wheel and the other important wheels for new events that substantially affect the company and its survival.

· Cast new natal wheels as important corporate events make it necessary and incorporate them into the progression procedure.

· There should be connections between the natals, progressed to natals and progressed to progressed for whatever date is applicable. You will find that it did not matter that Walt Disney was no longer on this Earth plane.

Once you have worked your way through this practice project, do the same procedure with corporations and their founders in which you are interested and can access the birth information and activity dates. This technique was employed in the presidential research with the adaptations mentioned and this technique does work well.

For astrologers who want to check out this method, the basic Disney data used for that long ago research is provided below. There are many new Disney dates that can additionally be used. There may be newer or more valid information than what was originally gathered, but this is the data used for that research so many moons ago. Enjoy!

Database:

· Birth of Walt Disney: Dec 5, 1901, 12:35 AM CST, Chicago, Illinois
· Date of Death: Dec 15, 1966
· Mickey Mouse: created in 1928 for a silent cartoon entitled “Plane Crazy” that never debuted
· “Steam Boat Willie”, the first-ever sound cartoon premiered Colony Theatre, New York City, NY, Nov 18, 1928
· “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered Carthay Circle Theater, Los Angeles, CA, Dec 21, 1932
· Walt Disney Company Dec 16, 1929. Hollywood, CA, noonmark
· Walt Disney Company incorporation Sep 30, 1938, Sacramento, CA, noonmark
· Opening of Magic Kingdom, Disneyland Jul 13, 1955, 1:35 PM PDT, Anaheim, CA
· IPO Disney Nov 12, 1957, 10:00 am EST, New York, NY
· Opening of Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL Oct 1, 1971
· Ray Merriman DIS business chart Feb 19, 1987, Wilmington, DE
· Opening of Epcot Center, Orlando, FL on Oct 1, 1982
· Re-Incorporation Disney Jul 28, 1995, 3:45 PM EDT, Dover, DE