This Is The New Business Start-Up Planning Pep Talk You Might Not Want But You Definitely Need!
The idea of starting your own business is so exciting. You start looking for the right business or licensee opportunity, distributorship or other small franchise to meet your goals and lifestyle needs. And then, one day, you find it! Just the prospect of being your own boss and calling the shots in a business you really enjoy gives you a whole new lease on life…as it should.
If you don’t have the start-up capital to get things moving right away, taking time to make a business plan is a necessity. But, if you already have money upfront, you’re in business, right? Whoa, slow down…
Have you really examined whether or not the business you want to start is the right fit not just for you, but for the market in which you hope to operate and grow? Have you considered your potential competition and how they might affect your success in the long-term? What about your business marketing strategies and their associated costs? How about any additional resources you will need over time and what they might be? How will all of it affect your bottom line?
The list of “what-ifs” and potential pitfalls can be overwhelming. In fact, millions of businesses have tanked before they really even got started for the reason that their well-intentioned owners didn’t take the time up front to think through these issues. And “think through” does not mean just a day or two of pondering in your head. Whether it’s on one page or a hundred, you need to methodically tackle these issues in writing, on paper. Any successful entrepreneur, no matter how big or small his or her business is, will tell you, “You need a business plan!”
Business Plan “101”
Putting together a business plan is not hard, but it does take effort. The resources available to you in how to write your plan are endless. Just type in “small business start-up plan” on the Internet or check out your local library or book store…the list of reputable sources goes on and on.
Regardless of what source you count on to help you craft your plan, the basics always remain the same and are more easily remembered using the “four W's and an H”…who, what, where, when and how, but not necessarily in that order:
WHEN will my business be up and running? A smart business start-up can take at least a month, sometimes even a year or longer.
WHERE will my business be located? Is there demand for my business’ products/services in the area given the competition? Will I work from home or do I need an office?
WHO am I as a business owner, and who are “we” as a business? What will I name my business? What will my title be and what role will I play? How will it be structured? What values and goals will guide me/us in becoming who I/we want to be as a company and set me/us apart?
WHAT products and services will we offer? Lay it all out there. Don’t just think about what products/services you could offer in the near term, but dream a little bit.
HOW do I/we plan to run this business now and in the future? The “how” of running a business trumps all of the “W's” combined when it comes to complexity and challenges. This more elaborate part of your plan is the chance to lay out your short-term, mid-range and long-term goals with regard to your financial and competitive market analyses, as well as management strategies to ensure your business runs like a top.
Remember, there’s never been an entrepreneur yet who regretted having made a plan!