Volume 2 Issue 5 Featuring the Winners of the Business Plan Competition

We follow last month’s SBA Small Business Week special edition with another special edition featuring the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition. We’d like to congratulate everyone involved in the competition and the following award winners:

  • Alison Cariati, HAVERHILL Incorporated, Winner of the Entrepreneur Track
  • Eddie Ross, TennisHub, Winner of the Technology Track
  • Tyler Benster, Azavy, Winner of the Student Track
  • Jenny Yu, Optitrum, Finalist of the Student Track
  • Mel Prenovitz, EndoSphere Surgical, Inc., Finalist of the Entrepreneur Track
  • Melissa Ellard, Fashion-Force, Finalist of the Student Track

Innovative entrepreneurs like those involved in this year’s competition are what keep Rhode Island moving in the right direction.

On the topic of business plans, when was the last time you reviewed yours? In January, we talked about starting the year off right and setting your goals, which included updating your business plan, but have you looked at it since then? Now that we are halfway through the year, it’s time for us all to perform that mid-year checkup to make sure we’re on the way to achieving our goals and to make any necessary adjustments. In addition to reviewing and updating your business plan, here are a few additional areas to review for mid-year evaluations:

Financials – This is the first place most business owners should start. How are your sales compared to last year? How are they compared to your projects? Not only are sales figures important to review, but how are your expenses? Sales growth will often incur additional expenses, but make sure your profit margins are in line.

Competitors – It’s important to get a sense of how your competitors are doing. Are you bidding against more competition than in the past? Are you winning those bids? It’s also important to find out what new competition there is in the marketplace.

Customer Service – The mid-year mark is a great time to evaluate how you look in the eyes of your customers. Sending out customer satisfaction surveys is a great way to find out what you excel at and where you can improve.

Employee Performance – Are your employees helping you reach your goals? Evaluating employee performance will help to determine who is dedicated to your success and who could be holding you back. Getting optimal performance from your staff will ensure that you can spend more time working on your business than in your business.

Marketing Strategies – Have you launched any new marketing initiatives in 2013 such as email marketing, social media, direct mail or advertising? How have those strategies paid off? It’s always important to evaluate each marketing initiative to see how it is affecting your bottom line.

I hope that you are all meeting or exceeding your goals for 2013 and wish you continued success. For those who aren’t, you have another half year to get things on track. Good luck!

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