Part 3: Strategic Planning
Before you jump in head first on a new business venture, you will need to take a great deal of time working through strategy. A good strategy will allow you to grow and be flexible as you run across challenges and unexpected turns.
Create a Business Plan
Yes, it is time consuming, but if you don’t have a plan the chances of success are slim. If you have questions on how to create a business plan, visitEntrepreneur.com. (More importantly, find a resource who can help create a solid business plan so you will have a firm foundation to stand on.) Review your business plan with people you trust and respect. Go to other people who work for, or started their own successful business, and have them review and give you critical feedback. Encourage them to be honest…brutally honest. If there are flaws in your business plan, it is better to discover them before you begin investing money into your start-up.
Find an Angel Investor
You have your business plan; you know how much you need to survive; now you need to put your plan into action. Chances are, you are going to need money for start-up costs. Depending on the vertical you are in, you should plan on needing somewhere between $5,000 – $500k invested into your company from an Angel Investor prior to starting your business. This money can be used toward marketing collateral, space to purchase or lease, supplies, contractors, etc.
Manage Your Time
Getting your business up and running will take more time than you have. Plan accordingly. Create schedules, deadlines, monitor your time, and stop for the day when you are no longer making any progress.
Create a Sales Strategy
Tap into your contacts. Ask them for their contacts. Don’t be afraid to ask people you know for leads. Create a 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, and 12 month sales plan. Set goals and review those goals. If you are not making your numbers, you need to be doing something different. To be a business, you have to make money.
Figure out how to use a financial tracking system like Quickbooks
If you are not lucky enough to be able to afford someone to run your books, don’t worry. There are several solutions in the marketplace to help you track the day-to-day financies of your organization. Don’t avoid your finances. Learn how to use a financial program like Quickbooks and track your invoices and expenses. Plan for how you are going to pay your taxes before April rolls around.
Find People to Partner With
Ask any free agent or private contractor, working alone is awful. You need people to communicate with throughout the day that understand your business and what you are going through. This might be a family member or someone from the outside who has the same passion and vision. Having someone to hold you accountable and support you will help your business succeed in the long run.