Episode 118: The Importance of Creating an Effective Business Plan with Burke Franklin – Transcript

Episode 118: The Importance of Creating an Effective Business Plan with Burke Franklin

Rennie Gabriel  00:09
Hi, folks, welcome to Episode 118 of the Wealth On Any Income Podcast. This is where we talk about money tips, techniques, attitudes, information and provide inspiration around your business and your money. I'm your host, Rennie Gabriel. In past episodes, we spoke about how to understand the numbers from your business, how to measure the level of pleasure based on where you spend your money, how to track your money in 5 to 10 seconds, what determines how close you are to Complete Financial Choice®, and how to run your business without being in your business. And last week, we had me talking about Powerful Marketing On Any Income, which is how to find more of your best and most profitable clients. Today, we have as our guest, Burke Franklin, Burke has a program called Biz Plan Builder. It's business planning software, and it's helped over 2 million entrepreneurs and their advisors in virtually every industry get organized, raise capital, and succeed in their day-to-day operations. Its online dashboard of cross-functional programs, and "Done For You" business templates serves as the easy-to-use back office software suite for businesses of all sizes. Burke, welcome to the Wealth On Any Income Podcast.

Burke Franklin  01:36
Hi, Rennie. Thank you. My pleasure being here.

Rennie Gabriel  01:39
Well, let's get right to it with some questions. Okay, you've got these products that sound like templates for business owners. But why are you doing this?

Burke Franklin  01:49
Well it started you know, a million years ago when I was a kid, I remember reading about or seeing or something about a 200-mile per gallon carburetor, which sounded terrifically far-fetched. And of course, I use the word carburetor, which goes back . . .

Rennie Gabriel  02:02

Burke Franklin  02:03
You know, how far back is that?

Rennie Gabriel  02:06
I don't remember when those stopped, because I'm very old.

Burke Franklin  02:09
Yeah I was a kid. Anyway, so a 200 mile . . . And I thought, well, where'd that thing go? That that would be great like that? Where is it? You know what happens to inventions like that? And of course, over the years, I've seen other variations or you know, of that 200-mile per gallon carburetor, somebody comes up with something that does some amazing thing, like cure for cancer, maybe something like that. Where do these things go? And how come they don't turn into successful businesses? And how come some of these businesses that are one-time successes suddenly go belly up, or they just burn out? I don't know what happens to them. So I wondered about all that. And then, you know, later on in my life where I was - I'd sold electronics for Texas Instruments. I was the electronics buyer and later, catalog copywriter for the Sharper Image catalog. And so the electronics on the sales and marketing side to the buying side. And then I was selling word processors in Silicon Valley until they were replaced by PCs and Macs. Anyway, long story short . . . I'm doing marketing and stuff, the kind of marketing I wished I had as a salesperson. And a friend of mine called me up and he said, 'You know, I've got a deal going with Apple, Apple wants to buy my engineering software'. And at the time they read a study by the SBA, the Small Business Administration, where they determined, well, you know, the proverbial four out of five businesses that go out of business, 65 or so percent of them had no business plan. They asked to see his business plan . . . Now, I knew nothing about business plans, I could care less. I didn't even like plans or planning. Plans always seemed like, you know, I'll bet, but wait, there's a bright, shiny object. Let's go do that, you know, and no, and you know, my, we'd be on vacation, my dad would say, 'No we're going here - rrraww'. And so we couldn't go off and do the bright, shiny object I saw in the distance. So those are all kinds of objections to planning. Not to mention not knowing how to put one together. Anyway, Apple wanted to see it. And I saw it really as an elaborate brochure to sell the whole company concept. So if you're interested in the company itself, you want to understand its market, its people, its product, its benefits, its competitive advantages, all that kind of stuff. So Apple wanted to know this, because they needed this company to stay in business to develop and support the product. I mean, they're basing their engineering department on it. So I helped him put it together, it needed to appeal to all levels of the company and but at the end of the day is long story short, it worked, and he got the deal. And somehow over the next year, I was involved with a number of people, I'm say somehow it's like, how did that, how did that connection occur? I don't know. But there I was helping people with business plans, and putting together their sales pitches and investor pitches and stuff like that. And I would just be the guy who's going to invest or be the guy who's going to buy it. I'd say, 'Well, here, I'm not sold yet'. I'd be that really kind of cranky investor-buyer. And say, 'You know, convince me'. And I would say, "you got to show me this. You got to do that. You got to tell me this. You got to do the math". And so, after about a year of helping people do this, it was very successful - they got funded, one was funded by a top-tier Silicon Valley venture capital fund. Anyway, about a year later, I'm in the shower thinking if I see one more crappy business plan, I'm going to scream. Because really, I think what I determined I realized was, I think what people are doing is they're writing a business plan or putting together any business document, like they're bs-ing their way through a school, paper. Investors, business people, senior management, donors, whoever you're working for, you want to have them invest in you one way or the other. They want names, dates, show me, prove it. Give me an example. What are you talking about? You know, all that kind of stuff. And it's really got to have specifics and it's got to have meat and potatoes, because you're competing for money. If you're going after investors, they've got anywhere from a handful to 100 other deals they're looking at. 

Rennie Gabriel  05:41
Oh yeah. 

Burke Franklin  05:41
So why your product, why now and why from you? And so you've got to really realize this isn't a college paper, you're bs-ing your way through. This is a serious proposal, and you're competing for that money. And that's why VC firms only fund, what, a handful out the probably 100,000 deals they see every year. You know I don't even know if  they look at this. Anyway, it's important stuff. And so, that's, so I realized this, so putting all that together these guys had some great ideas. If I wanted these things to see the light of day, like the 200-mile per gallon carburetor, you had to have your act together. And that's really where this software came from. And that's how it's evolved over 30 years is make it better, better, better, better, so you can, so that 200-mile per gallon carburetor can see light of day in the world.

Rennie Gabriel  06:26
Yeah, it's funny too because, in other words, what I'm hearing is it evolved from something that you thought was terrific to seeing something that was garbage over and over again. But one of the things I'm wondering about - I don't know if you can answer this - is that 200-mile an hour, a 200-mile distance carburetor could have been a scam and that's why it's not an existence. You know, what do you think?

Burke Franklin  06:51
Who knows . . . I mean, you could argue that cancer has been cured a dozen times over, and the reason it's, that cure, the person who cured it is something's happened to them, is because you know, you're disrupting an industry that doesn't want to be disrupted. So I don't know, you can imagine if you got the 200-mile per gallon carburetor, there's going to be certain factions out there that, you know, doesn't like you and your little friends. And so go away. So there's that, you know, 

Rennie Gabriel  07:16
Oh, yeah. 

Burke Franklin  07:16
Unless, you know, even then, even in the Biz Plan Builder, I've asked, you know, if you win who loses? So we know who you're disrupting. Because I talk to these classes and different entrepreneurial groups, So how many of you guys are disruptors? They're all, Yeah, I'm a disruptor, you know. And I think well hold it here before you poke the beast, you want to be careful. And so you can actually go to the beast and say, I got this idea. And here's what I'm thinking . . . Anyway, you can make that work and, and even then, if you've cured something like cancer, you want to be careful what you shout from the rooftops, before you get to a certain certain size where they can't take you down. But yeah, that's kind of a narrow little thing - but it is worth considering, really.

Rennie Gabriel  08:00
That makes sense. Now, the people who listen to my podcast, they know I donate 100% of the profits from the online work that I do to charity. So tell me about a particular charity that you support. What do they do and, you know, tell me what they mean to you?

Burke Franklin  08:20
Well, I've supported a number like the Pachamama Alliance out of South America, it's all about preserving the Amazon Rainforest. That's really where most of the oxygen comes from. So we should keep that and not burn it down, cut it down, turn it into farmland or, you know, build cities on it. So that's a good idea. There's other smaller things, you know, I like supporting animal you know, animal shelters, dogs, especially dogs, I love dogs. And you see dogs are...  they're just, they're just 100% love, unconditional love. And for them to be in some kind of high-kill shelter is just tragic. And so let's adopt dogs please - adopt several, you don't have to have just one dog, you can have several. I've had two dogs. I love having two dogs.

Rennie Gabriel  09:00
Yeah, right now we have four dogs in the house.

Burke Franklin  09:03
There you go. What's wrong with that? That's great. That's really it and you know, and then I also donate software to different organizations just to help them get off the ground. So it's like it's a good thing, let's help you guys get this out there. We even had a member of Rotary use the Biz Plan Builder to put together a proposal where Rotary donated - I forget how much money it was - but there was a tribe of pygmies in Africa that were displaced because you know, there was some law in that country that said no, people can live in this jungle. But wait, these guys have been living there for hundreds of years, you know, and so they needed to mount some kind of legal thing to get them to be able to go home and so that worked. So that was that was cool thing. So that's, that's kind of an unusual thing to use a business plan for but hey, you know, that was a good cause.

Rennie Gabriel  09:54
Perfect. And so I'm going to guess your target market based on you know, if you're doing business plans, are entrepreneurs, maybe inventors or people who are growing their businesses. Do you also work with nonprofits?

Burke Franklin  10:09
Yeah, a little bit. Nonprofits, the donor usually comes from, donors come from business. And they want to know, you know, I was helping my mom, and she donates to, it was a donkey rescue, for example. And so we're looking at the donkey rescue. You want to see that most of the money that's donated to the nonprofit goes to what the nonprofit is about.

Rennie Gabriel  10:28
The programs, not their...

Burke Franklin  10:31
And vet bills, not cars, houses, and other things that the admin people are using. So really, a high percentage of the donation should be useful to what the purpose is. And so, you know, again, don't even then, if you're running a nonprofit, those donors are looking at you and a dozen other options and wondering which one's the best. And that's where you can really make a difference and show you have a plan. 

Rennie Gabriel  10:53
Yeah, now because I . . . You're right, and because I donate a lot of money to various charities, I am on the mailing list for piles more because they sell their mailing lists as another way of raising funds. And so what I've started doing is going to Charity Navigator to find out more about the charities that are just showing up in the mail that I never knew about. And I'm finding many of them have failure rates in terms of how they're handling their money. I'm like 35%, well, no 71% of the money that they raise is going to raising money. You know, and like 7% is going to programs.

Burke Franklin  11:38
I wonder why they want to send me a t-shirt, a magazine, a bag or something. No, keep that- buy more donkey food or whatever.

Rennie Gabriel  11:45
One of them I got the other day had a brand new dollar bill in the envelope, saying this is a real dollar. So I checked them on Charity Navigator, they're not even listed.

Burke Franklin  11:57
So the nonprofit really is a business actually, just words have changed, the profit would be called surplus, other things like that. But it really you got to run it like a business because it's people think it's a, it's not a . . . it's a tax status. It's not a management style. 

Rennie Gabriel  12:14

Burke Franklin  12:14
You're still running a business. You still have to be efficient.

Rennie Gabriel  12:17
Even though it's a nonprofit, if they don't have surpluses, they won't continue to serve the people they want to serve. 

Burke Franklin  12:24
And you don't want to be begging for money year in and year out. If you've got a good ongoing nonprofit where you've got a good PR campaign, you've got the, everybody on the team is dialed into that business plan. Like when you use Business Plan Builder, you know, everybody can contribute to that. So I even say, you know, when you're doing your strategic planning every year, or every so often, reviewing this, get everybody involved in this thing. I remember way back when our shipping guy had some great ideas. Most companies, Well I'm not talking to the shipping guy. He's the shipping guy, you know. I just want to talk to my senior management team, and senior management team is not on the front lines, where the friction occurs, where the action happens. And so you want everybody to weigh in with some ideas, because that's going to really make it go.

Rennie Gabriel  13:07
Yeah, I remember, we spoke about one time you hired a packaging development company, because, you know, they created retail packages for Fortune 500 companies thinking they must really know what they're doing. And that didn't work out. I remember you said that was one of your biggest failures. But tell me what was your insight from that?

Burke Franklin  13:29
Well, the insight from that is, you know, you look at how these guys, these guys develop packages for like HP and Apple, Kodak, big companies. Well, the other thing those guys have, well, you know, they all have 100,000 employees, they've got PR departments, PR companies, marketing this, advertising, everything going on everywhere else where most of small businesses didn't have that at all, let alone the people, the team to run it or manage it. And so you've got to have, in my case, a package, a box, this is the boxes by itself on the shelf in the store. And it's sitting next to other boxes, and I call it, it's not street-fighting, it's like shelf-fighting. A person's going to pick up the box and they are going to look at yours, they're going to flip it over, they're going to look at different things. They're going to pick up the box next to it and the next to it and the next to it. They might even ask the salesperson, I don't think really any salesperson in a retail store knows anything about the product so you can't rely on that at all, unless you've got a whole team to go in there and train them that's not going to happen. So this box, you need somebody who's made boxes for companies where they really understand. It's kind of like direct response marketing. It's got to be on the box, not just a big, like Apple's product one time was version 10. It was a white box with an X on it. That's all Apple needs to do. I need to work harder. You know, so that was really the mistake of thinking these, some of these people that come out of these Fortune 500 companies can work. I had a guy, high-level guy, this guy needed an entourage to get a cup of coffee. This is a hands-on, get down and dirty in the trenches, grab a shovel and start digging type thing and everybody's all hands on deck working it. There's no somebody standing back, ;While I'm just here to supervise. I don't actually work.'

Rennie Gabriel  15:06
Yeah. So well, I know that people who are listening will want to know more about Business Plan Builder, the software so that they can grow their businesses. Is there some valuable free resource that you can direct people to that will continue to support them? 

Burke Franklin  15:23
Yeah, I do it's businesspowertools.com. You can also go to businessplanbuilder.com. The businesspowertools.com, we've got a pay, if you look at the menu across the top of the website, like we all have, everybody has, there's a thing under Support, and under other tools and things like that we could drop. I've got a spreadsheet... I was sitting in my office one day, and I was up in Silicon Valley, and I'm reading an article about one more billionaire and thinking, you know, how much work is it going to take for me to become a billionaire? And I thought, wait a minute, how much money do I really need to have, do, and do all the things that I want to do? I put together a spreadsheet where I listed all this stuff, what's it going to cost and you know all the expenses that go within, the financing, and you know, and reverse-engineered it into how much money I needed, after I made the money, made some money, return on investment, paid the taxes, blah, blah, blah, what's my number? And it was nowhere near a billion not even near 100 million, it was like actually something doable. An airplane, the killer house, a couple of expensive cars with you know, anyway... These spreadsheets, just to do the math and get a reality check on your situation. So that is in freebies, and I've got another little booklet called How to Gain the Advantage with Investors. I didn't say against investors, I said with them. So you can learn how investors think so you can tailor your offer, your deal, when you're in your conversations, you can understand where they're coming from, because they're in business too, you need to be able to make your deal work for them. And that will give you a significant, I think advantage over whoever else you're competing with for the money. So there's that booklet, you can download it. The spreadsheets are all there - they're on the same page. You can pick and choose, there's a number of things there. And then my own book, Business Blackbelt, which is written from answering lots of these questions over the years and putting them all together, writing them down, so there they are. So you can get Business Blackbelt as well. So there's that. Those are some freebies and then of course, the business plan really is designed for do-it-yourself and consultants use it all the time, because it's a platform to help them work with a client. Most of them, I found out 73% of the consultants I've talked to say they wish their client had a business plan. They really didn't want to write it for them, the client really doesn't want to write it. Nobody really knows how. But if you have this template on a platform where you can collaborate, you can tell the client, Look, fill in the management team section and talk to me on Tuesday and we'll go over it. So that way - and most of it's done for you. It's not like all these other business plans where you've got an empty box where it says, Tell me about your management team here, like - what do I say? So we've written it for you, you're going to edit it because it's easier to edit than it is to write from scratch. And it just makes the whole process easier. So it enables you to really have a plan. And now you know where you're going, you know, you really didn't know how which . . . It was Steve Jobs who said, I've got to say no to a thousand good ideas. Imagine how many bright, shiny objects that is. So you've got to stay on the path. And then when you need to make changes, heck, it's software. So you just go back into the platform, you tweak it, everybody in your team can look at it. Some people can edit it, some people have read only, and you can do the math. That's the other thing is you got to do the math. You've really got to. I was a judge of the business plan competitions, me and there's three venture capitalists, and everybody came and said "Yeah, we're going to do a million dollars in our first year. We're going to do a million dollars in our first year". And on the break, I said to these guys have said, "Is it just me, or does everybody do a million dollars in their first year?" Everybody started laughing, like, "Hey, you'd be blown away at how often we hear that". So I explained to people, you really got to start with some real numbers. There are this many customers for this product. Like go to the magazine that talks to that industry and see how many paid subscribers they have. That's a real number. When investors do their due diligence to make sure that everything you say is real and true, they run across the basis for where you got that number. And then you talk about what percentage of this market might I get? What is my penetration? One thing, the other big Bozo no-no is to never ever say 1%. If we sold a drink to 1% of everybody in China, we'd be rich. No kidding. But you say anything, but 1% - .9, 1.1, not one. It just, those are just two right off the bat red flags. And you know, you can't afford to go into your presentation with two strikes against you like that. So you want to be careful. So that's just two glaring things that I think are in the way of the person succeeding with a 200-mile per gallon carburetor.

Rennie Gabriel  19:41
What I'm going to do is I'm going to put the link to the downloads in the show notes, so people can just click on that and get right to it. And I'm going to guess that business plans are not just for startups, but for businesses of any size because they're going to continue to grow, evolve, and that business plan would need to do the same thing. Is that right? This is a short answer. This is a yes or no question. 

Burke Franklin  20:06
Yes, that's what the consultants are talking about. It's those clients, businesses... growing businesses. It succeeded. It's working. Yay! Or you got the money - now, you've really got to be sure you don't have to go back to the investors and say, "We screwed up and lost it all". No, you want to have a plan. That's usually when it really takes off is when the business is going, and it kind of becomes chaotic. Everybody's going in different directions. You need to kind of rein this thing in and get, okay, where are we going with this?

Rennie Gabriel  20:30
All right, Burke, I want to thank you for being on the show. Thank you for being here and all the information that you provided. 

Burke Franklin  20:38
Thanks, Rennie. 

Rennie Gabriel  20:39
And to my listeners, thank you for tuning in. You can listen to the Wealth On Any Income Podcast on your favorite platform, and please rate, review and subscribe. And if you'd like to know how books, movies and society programs you to be poor, and what the cure is, then log on to wealthonanyincome.com/TEDx. You'll hear my TEDx talk and can request a free 27-Page Roadmap to Complete Financial Choice®, and receive a weekly email with tips, techniques, or inspiration around your business or your money. And if you'd like to see how you can increase your wealth, and donate to the causes that touch your heart, please check out our affordable program, Wealth with Purpose. Until next week, be prosperous. Bye bye for now.

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