“The process of answering all [of the software's] inquiries really opens you up to some opportunity you'll miss otherwise. Crafting a business plan isn't easy.”Bruce Mayberry, Barter PX
Bruce Mayberry is what's known as a serial entrepreneur. He's been self-employed for over 20 years, and his business ventures have run the gamut from selling high-speed data circuits to owning an art gallery, and a lot of other businesses in between. He's used both Business Plan Pro and Marketing Plan Pro to write plans for his own businesses, and has even written them for clients as a tax consultant. His first business, he says, "was all smoke and mirrors. I started a trucking firm with $20 and a big smile."
Now he's writing the business plan for his newest venture and he feels confident that he'll secure the $4 million in funding he's seeking. "As to the receipt of the funds, I'm not worried. With a good plan and good management, money is always around."
Bruce's new startup is a modern-day barter organization called BarterPX. It's a website that allows users to easily post their goods and services and exchange them amongst a large member community. According to the website, bartering produces new business and allows users to expand their markets. At the same time, it conserves cash -- instead of spending money to purchase needed goods and services, users can trade their own goods and services, keeping cash in their businesses for other purposes.
Bruce has been working on the BarterPX concept for a few years, and has been going at it full time now for about six months. A quick glance at the website reveals a vibrant trade community, using modern technology to barter goods the way it was done centuries ago.
In the past, Bruce has written business plans for businesses that were already up and running. "Sometimes you just need to re-focus to grind some more profit out. Those programs really help you get a new perspective," he comments. For this current business, though, he has a different goal for the plan he's writing. For a startup, he says, "The properly written business plan tells you how much capital you'll need, and everything else is inaccurate, unsubstantiated guessing."
Business Plan Pro is to credit for some of his successes, according to Bruce. "Every single time I have ideas and brainstorms, they pay off big when I use the software. The process of answering all [of the software's] inquiries really opens you up to some opportunity you'll miss otherwise." Crafting a business plan isn't easy.
For Bruce, as for a lot of "idea people," it's the financials that pose the biggest hurdle. "For me the hardest part is the balance sheet. I'm an entrepreneur, not an accountant. I can do a balance sheet, but it takes days of detailed work that I rarely do. What a relief to enter the numbers and it happens," he says, describing how Business Plan Pro handles the calculations in the balance sheet based on numbers the user inputs elsewhere.
When asked what he thought the most exciting part of being an entrepreneur was, Bruce's answer was telling. "Exciting, are you kidding? Doesn't everyone like 90 hours of work a week, biting their fingernails over payroll for a year, worrying about sales forecast, competitors, advertising cost, staffing...?"
"Well I love all that, but this is not for the thin-skinned. It gets in your blood like speed for a NASCAR driver. I've never sold a business and not had a huge emotional response -- a sense of sadness and joy. It's about more than the money, but it is always about the money." His obvious enjoyment of the process aside, Bruce is quick to point out that there are challenges, especially when dealing with investors. "You better be ready when you're talking to venture capitalists. Business Plan Pro really helps -- a lot!"
While not everyone may have the entrepreneurial spirit that Bruce Mayberry clearly has, he has some good advice for anyone starting down the entrepreneurship path. "More is lost by indecision than the wrong decision. The human mind is a powerful thing; so is hunger. Get out there and make it happen!!!"
Copyright 2011 Palo Alto Software. All rights reserved.