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 http://www.booklocker.com/books/1988.html or Amazon.com) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Business Startup Checklist
Use this comprehensive checklist to plan each step of your new business and transform your dream of entrepreneurship into reality. These steps may not necessarily be completed in the order listed, however, you can use them as a guideline for completing all of the necessary business startup tasks.
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This year, over 800,000 of the approximately 2,000,000 start up businesses will fail!
Achievements Outweigh Education and Experience
Q: When it comes to succeeding in business, which do you think is more important: education or experience?-- Regina M.
Used-Book Case Study
Dwight Payne and Gary Heap reside in Santa Barbara, CA, where they attend college and pursue their mutual hobby of science-fiction book collecting. They pooled their book collection of over 4,000 volumes, and sci-fi magazines going back over twenty-five years. All neatly catalogued and indexed, they estimate it would cost $20,000 to assemble the collection today.
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When a company decides that it must raise capital, a key question that must be answered is how much the company is worth. For example, if the business needs $500,000 to get started and/or grow, how much of the equity in that company should $500,000 command? Once this question is answered, the company will go out and try to find investors. When doing so, a key question often arises as to whether the valuation is "pre-money" or "post-money."
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A Startup Never Closes
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Judging Entrepreneurial Ideas
Most entrepreneurs constantly come up with new ideas. Whether they are working on another project, driving, or lying in bed, their minds are constantly churning out new products, services and ways of doing things. For these entrepreneurs, the startup challenge shifts from coming up with ideas to choosing which idea to execute.
Entrepreneurs Ask: As a Novice Entrepreneur, How Can I Feel Less Overwhelmed?
Great question! Overwhelm is very common even among the most veteran entrepreneurs, so take solace in the fact that you are not alone. With the ever-increasing numbers of new entrepreneurial endeavors, and therefore new entrepreneurs, there are many who are experiencing the very same feelings as you.
Confidence = Preparation + Courage
It always amazes me when I see someone on television holding a press conference ? a lawyer outside a courtroom, a businessperson at the launch of a new product. Reporters ask hardball questions. The answers are given with conviction, without hesitation. The person being questioned exhibits supreme confidence. Where does that confidence come from? How do they get it? What lessons are there for those of us who also have to face difficult circumstances and need that same, high level of confidence?
Starting Your Business: It All Boils Down To Making Money and Saving Money
Bootstrapping in the context of business start-ups refers to the use of creative financing approaches such as leveraging personal savings, credit-card debt, loans from friends and family, bartering, and other means to launch a business. Some business founders use bootstrapping because they have no other choice. Just about anyone who has approached a bank has learned that "only established businesses need apply." Bankers typically look for cash flow, assets, an established customer base, and a successful track record on the part of the business that is seeking a start-up loan. Obviously, this is a short list that is impossible to fulfill when you are just getting started.
Meet Success: Business Profile of Sylvia Acevedo, Communicard Owner
Sylvia Acevedo needed a break from her technology job so she bought an old Victorian house to remodel into a bed and breakfast. "Being an engineer working in technology, I really felt I didn't do a lot of tangible work. But with the bed and breakfast, at the end of the day, I felt like I had actually done something."
About Ending Competition
1. Why should I not compete with others?
The 7 Traits of an Exceptional & Successful Entrepreneur
How often have you either referred to or considered the expression, "Success is a journey and not a Destination?" Probably many times, yet often being in a hurry to get there, we forget that success is not an end unto itself, but is instead an ongoing process.
Questions For The Entrepreneur To Be
The Dirty Dozen
1) No Umbrella Business Plan or Strategy -- Without a plan, there's no serious way to gauge the growth and progress of your business. You need a realistic map for where the customers will come from and where your business is going. You also need a plan to bail you out when difficult personal and business times come your way. Solution ? get a plan together. Stop thinking about it and do it.
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