"Business in a Box"
What Would You Do If Your Entire Business Was Contained In a 200 Foot by 37 Foot Box Without Any Supplies or Extra Help for Days?
By Robert Kothe, Author of Millionaires' Secrets Revealed
My family and I just got back from a wonderful vacation on a small ship. I learned so much about business efficiency while I was aboard. Think abut this, your business, the comfort of 104 passengers, the livelihood of 40 crew members are all working and playing in harmony in the space of a 200 foot long by 38 foot wide small ship.
I am not about to teach you how to open your own cruise line. We still can learn a lot about general business from this model. There are many important lessons to take away from this kind of business.
What we can learn most of all is the importance of pre-planning. On a ship, there is very little margin for error. Planning must be done well in advance. As time passes, the existing plan must be reviewed, re-worked and more details must be filled in.
I will use the role of an on-board chef as an example of planning.
Two months prior to the cruise the chef must know how many passengers are expected, how many meals will be served and which ports they will stop in to take on supplies. This is only a fraction of the information needed but it is a good start for our example.
On a ship this small, it is important to keep in mind that the refrigerator and freezer can only hold five days worth of supplies. The average cruise is two weeks long. To further complicate matters, certain types of food only has a one or two day shelf-life before it wilts or rots. These types of food most be received fresh, and served immediately. A time line must me made and adhered to. Food must be stored in the order that it will be used.
When our chef is in a port he is finally able to use a telephone. (The cruise line frowns on the use of a marine phone since the cost is over $5 per minute.) The chef relays the ordering information to the corporate purchasing department. The purchasing department immediately begins to contact hundreds of suppliers in the area who have a proven track record for on-time delivery and high quality food. The cruise line that I was on has over 470 suppliers.
One month before the cruise a final passenger count should be known. The chef must re-work his plan to either reflect a full ship or a less than full ship.
Let's jump ahead to a day on the actual cruise. Everything our chef needs is aboard, still fresh, and stored in the right order.
Today there will be two breakfasts a cold buffet in the lounge and a full four course meal in the dining room. Immediately after breakfast a five course lunch needs to be prepared followed by a five course dinner. For all of the meals that are server in the dining room, the chef has only a fourteen minute window in time to ready the food for over 100 passengers. Keep in mind that passengers can choose from five entrees.
Our chefs planning is so accurate that he can actually design his menu to statistically know exactly what will be ordered. People think they are being given a choice but human eating behavior is so predictable that a good chef will know what will be chosen long before the passengers sit down for the meal. That is what I call knowing your market.
Without going into details on how all of this is done, let's just say that our chef must have a good plan based on experience.
Imagine if we took a cruise that did not believe pre-planning. You showed up at the dock at 9am on Saturday just as the itinerary said to do. The ship is not in it's slip. An employee of the company said the ship is running a little late. The ship is lost. It should be in by tomorrow. Just wait on the dock for a while.
The next day the ship shows up. As soon as the gangplank was put in place the current group of passengers ran off of the boat and kissed the ground. They kept saying something about not getting on this boat but you figured ,"It's paid for."
The ship sets sail and you hear an announcement, "Hi folks. This is Timmy and I will be driving this boat and cooking the food. I'm not really the captain because I don't actually have a license but you all signed a waiver so it should not matter. Just as soon as I fix the broken septic system I will be preparing lunch. By the way, I am looking for volunteers to help work the lines and serve lunch this afternoon.
You get the idea. You can not run a cruise ship without a plan. You definitely cannot run a cruise ship with only one person.
So how does all of this apply to you?
In Business your plan is appropriately named your "Business Plan". It is the creation of your business plan that can make or break your company.
Personally, I used to think that a business plan was only something that you needed to do if you needed to "suck-up" to a bank for a loan. Since I was not interested in being in more debt to a bank I assumed that I would start small and grow the company. No money needed so I felt that I did not need a business plan.
In the time that followed, I would spend my days in business looking busy and reacting to the telephone. A year later, I was in exactly the same place, looking busy reacting to the telephone.
Today my business plan keeps me focused. I have since written a book, "Millionaires Secrets' Revealed", created an audio CD around the book, and helped create a Internet marketing training company. All of my business ventures involve some form of a written plan. I couldn't help but notice that the more detailed the plan was, the more successful the business venture would become.
Think of it this way. If I told you that I would pay you $1,000.00 for every sheet of paper that you can fill up with a business plan. Would you begin writing today? If you made a 10 page business plan, you would get $10,000. A 100 page business plan would bring you $100,000. A 1000 page business plan would get you ONE MILLION DOLLARS. With a pay plan like that would you ever stop writing? You would probably partner with someone with business experience who can also write a business plan. You might even put together a team of people.
I am not going to pay you $1,000 per page, but the open market will. The more details that you have in your plan, the better your chance of attracting skilled people, intelligent investors and an experienced management team. This combination of talents will all come together and create a company that can fetch millions of dollars in the open market. Everybody will know what to do since it is all in your original plan.
Believe me, the cruise ship that inspired me to write this article was not running off of a five page business plan scribbled on a napkin. It probably contained information on coast guard regulations, maritime law, International shipping limitations, Customs research, Quotes from ship builders, fuel costs, travel itineraries, weather reports, executive team requirements, hotel and motel staff information and much more.
Start your empire today with a good plan and you will be able to cruise to success.
Copyright 200-2011 Factxback
About the Author:
Robert Kothe is the author of "Millionaires Secrets Revealed." This book is a guide written for people who are determined to become self-made and successful. It is a balanced perspective on how to have a good family life and financial freedom. Millionaires Secrets Revealed is available at http://www.factxback.com/msrbook.html Robert can be reached at (516) 427-3292
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