The Business and Life You Want to Build

In the early days of my first consulting business, I knew I needed some sort of plan to give me the greatest chance at success. I took many a wrong step, yet in the end I managed to put a solid business together.

I had learned through bitter experience that forming a successful business is to be conscious about the kind of business, and the sort of life, I wanted to have. I spent long hours thinking and writing about what I believed, what I wanted from my life, why I wanted to start a business, and the things I did well.

Only after that initial work was I able to look at the How of creating a sustainable business.

The Conscious Business

Being conscious about creating your business and your life will set you apart from 99% of the other businesses in your industry. Setting your intent and clearly visualizing and defining your goal gives you the clarity and energy you need to take what you do best and focus it on success.

Many a business plan has been slapped together using one of the business planning tool software packages available today. The problem with such tools is that they start you off in midstream. Make the mistake of thinking that a quick business plan is all you need for success and you will be gnashing your teeth before you're through.

There is a lot you need to know before you begin a business plan. And all the software in the world will not substitute for the background you need to create solid business plans, investor presentations, and communication strategies.

Never Too Late to Start

For the small business it's never too late to reexamine your foundation. But it is far better to begin well. In the beginning you have a smaller team. Your minds are not contaminated by what you think you know, by the sorts of experiences you get in the first few years of a new business.

Don't get me wrong -- experience is a wonderful teacher, but experience without focus is worthless.

You have an opportunity to create a mindset and the right focus. Spend the time early on and you can manage most of the difficulties you'll encounter while they're still small. You'll mitigate the risk of launching a new business or product because you'll have spent time understanding the territory. Remember: Knowing the territory comes first. Maps come later.

Starting a business is risky. Take the time to assess your concept and develop a clear picture of your resources, your abilities, and what's needed to make your idea a reality before diving into the planning process.

It's in our culture, unfortunately, to not be conscious about the choices we make and to blame others for the circumstances of our lives.

Why not be different about the choices you make today? Make what happens in your business and your life a conscious decision.

Create the path that's right for you!

Michael Knowles, co-author of The Entrepreneur's Concept Assessment Toolbook (available at or helps businesses take what they do best and focus it on success. A Principal in One Straight Line LLC, Michael has over 25 years of experience helping companies create communication strategies help them engage customers, employees, investors, outsourcing partners, and the community.

Michael can be reached at

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