True entrepreneurs are born, not made. The desire to create a profitable and thriving business drives them towards their goal. But it takes more than ambition to launch a successful venture. Include these 10 techniques in your planning sessions to give your new business a head start.
Be the Solution
Consumers don’t shop for products and services. Your customers are actually looking for a solution to a problem. The best way to catch their attention is to be the most effective and convenient version of that solution. Get clear on how your product or service fits that description. Take some time to really think about how your product or service fits into your target audiences’ lives. Conducting market research to ensure that your idea is viable is an essential part of this step. If there isn’t a real need for what you’re offering, you may need to revisit your core concepts.
Lead With Your Heart
Why are you pursuing this business opportunity? If you aren’t truly passionate about your entrepreneurial pursuits, you won’t be able to maintain the momentum you need to succeed. Ask yourself, would you still be doing this if money weren’t an issue? If the answer is no, take some time to think about what you really want to accomplish. Visual reminders like vision boards and motivational posters help keep you mentally and emotionally focused during your daily work activities.
Choose the Right Software to Get the Job Done
As an entrepreneur, you are a powerful force, but you’re not all-powerful. Make your work day easier by outsourcing vital administrative tasks. Getting help with these jobs gives you more time to concentrate on primary business activities like meeting clients, making products, or providing services. Some commonly outsourced tasks include:
• Bookkeeping and accounting
• Appointment scheduling
• Customer support
• Payment processing
Working with other entrepreneurs is a great way to get these jobs done while forming a stronger local business community. For cash-strapped start-ups, however, this option could be a bigger commitment than their current sales potential can handle. Business software is another solution. Using the right programs, entrepreneurs can drastically minimize the amount of time they spend on administrative tasks without sacrificing future cash flow.
Not sure which business software solutions are right for your new startup? Get free and personalized guidance from CUE Marketplace. Use our simple recommendation engine to find the business software that fits your business style. Whether you need help setting up your website or want an easier way to reconcile your daily receipts, our engine will show you software with the right features to get your job done. CUE Marketplace can help you plot a course to business success.
Put It On Paper
You might think your idea is simple enough. Why waste time writing down steps and procedures when you could use that energy to make your dream happen? A business plan, however, is an incredibly important document. It outlines everything from your financial goals to how you plan to get your work done on a daily basis. Your business plan will be a vital component in future planning sessions, a tool to help you secure outside funding, and a guidebook for everyday transactions. Revisit your document at least once a year to update it and remind yourself of what you’re trying to accomplish.
BYOB (Be Your Own Bank)
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. Startups fall victim to lack of liquidity every day. Instead of dumping all of your reserves into making the most spectacular launch possible, considering starting smaller and expanding slowly as your income allows. This will prevent you from overcommitting existing funds or taking on massive amounts of debt. Try releasing one product or service at a time to control the pace of your growth. Another option is to keep your day job while you build your business at night. Rather than slowing down your progress, these measures ensure that your business will be strong enough to bear the pressures of each stage of development.
Who Can You Trust for Business Information and Motivation to Succeed?
When times get tough, who can you rely on for information and motivation? Find a trustworthy mentor to help you navigate the road to professional victory. Check with your local Small Business Administration (SBA) or your local Chamber of Commerce for additional resources for new business owners. You can be connected with a member of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). This group of former entrepreneurs enjoy sharing their years of experience with budding business people at no cost and can be an essential resource for information, ideas, and connections. They can also help you get the licenses and other official permissions needed to operate legally in your location.
Set Up a Tracking System
It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture on a day-to-day basis. Keep track of where you are in relationship to your goals by monitoring your sales, gross margins, cash flow, profits and losses, and other metrics that directly relate to the goals you’re trying to accomplish. Use business software suites to quickly generate reports that show you exactly where you are in relation to where you want to be. Schedule time every 3 months to review your data and adjust your direction accordingly.
Check Your Commitment Level
If succeeding in business were easy, everyone would be their own boss. Unfortunately, making a living with your own ideas takes energy, attention, time, and dedication. You will sacrifice sleep, leisure time, personal pursuits, and other opportunities in order to make your business dreams come true. Are you really ready for that level of commitment? Check your gut before proceeding with your plans to avoid wasting time and other resources.
Expect the Unexpected
Even with a rock-solid business plan, plenty of funding, and a clear vision, things can still go wrong. Make a backup plan to guide you through potential tough times. What would happen if your cash flow went negative? What if all of your employees suddenly walked off the job? Take a look at the most vulnerable links in your daily processes and think of solutions to possible problems before they happen. How will you meet your financial obligations and fulfill customer orders? Identify potential sources of aid before you need them to reduce downtime that can kill growing businesses. Your mentor can help you brainstorm some likely emergency scenarios.
Keep an Eye On the Future
With good planning and perseverance, your business will meet your initial goals. Where do you go from there? Institute regular goal-setting sessions to keep your enterprise moving forward. Positive actions can include taking classes to expand your skills and service offerings, scaling your business to meet increased demand, and franchising your operation to provide long-term residual income. Where would you like to see your business in ten years? Base your daily schedule off of your future goals.