Posts Tagged ‘succeed’
You can’t start anything and expect it to succeed if you don’t have a plan. After developing, nurturing and convincing yourself and all of your confidantes that your new venture proposal is an absolutely fantastic idea, you need to write a business plan.
There are many different views on how long this process can take, some say a few weeks and some say six months. It truly all depends on the kinds of resources you have available like time, money to conduct an effective amount of research, and the people you need to work with in order to create the best business plan ever.
Here are a few tips based on some advice from Tim Berry, founder of Palo Alto Software, about a few factors that make an effective business plan.
It must match the business purpose
Your small business should have an ultimate end goal in mind, whether the plan is to exit to get investment, create a self-sustaining charity, or whatever your goal for your business may be. Your business plan should be framed by your business purpose – where your business is going and what you want to leave behind.
Lesson 1: Your business plan must outline your company objective.
It must be realistic
Your business plan really won’t get you anywhere if your projections are off the charts. You may have a fantastic business plan with pretty charts and flawless formatting, but if you are presenting an idea for a product that simply cannot be produced, it’s not going to catch on.
Lesson 2: Step back and assess the feasibility of your plan.
It must be specific
According to Tim Berry, “every business plan ought to include tasks, deadlines, dates, forecasts, budgets, and metrics. It’s measurable.” This idea is so true and it’s amazing how many business plans leave out the crucial information. You can make your company sound great but if you don’t have the numbers backing up your projections, you might as well start over.
Lesson 3: Outline your business’s every detail
You have to give yourself the ability to track your results and see if you are in line with your projections and goals. You will most likely encounter set backs and a few failures here and there but if you have a solid business plan and structure in place, it won’t be difficult to reassess your business situation and get back in line.
Do you think your personality has what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur? According to Entrepreneur.com, your personality has a lot to say about who you become, the potential you have, and how successful you will be.
It has been shown in various studies that certain personality traits can outshine shortcomings in education, skill, and experience. It also makes logical sense that if a person chooses a business venture that coincides with their personality, he or she will experience a greater amount of success.
Entrepreneur.com explores four general personality types of people who typically start, own, and run the majority of successful businesses. Read Entrepreneur.com’s summation of entrepreneurial personalities and see if you have what it takes:
1. The Trailblazer:
You are very competitive, ambitious and goal- oriented–so much so that you tend to be aggressive and sometimes take a steamroller approach. Independent, persistent and decisive, you aren’t happy unless you’re in charge. Trailblazers are logical, analytical, practical and realistic–you tend to base decisions on facts rather than feelings. You are a calculated risk taker.
Good industries for you could include the medical, technology, finance, legal and consulting fields. Being a strong strategic thinker, you focus easily on marketing strategy and operations. Your challenge is likely to be working with people–you are usually a better leader than manager and need to surround yourself with others who can manage the people side of the business.
2. The Go-Getter:
You have a higher-than-average level of both dominance and sociability and are very driven and independent. You are competitive, but your drive to succeed is sometimes tempered by your interest in and concern for others. Go-Getters are typically good leaders and good managers, excelling at motivating themselves and those around them.
You can do well in retail, but may prefer being the outside rainmaker. You work well in ambitious and unfamiliar environments. This means you can invest in, buy or start a business that’s totally new to you and still make a success of it. You don’t need to be an expert in the field to start the business–you are a good collaborator and can learn as you go.
3. The Manager:
You are dominant and independent. You are also very goal-oriented and can be quite analytical, focusing more on processes and outcomes than on people. You have a tendency to look at people as vehicles for helping you accomplish your goals. You can deal well with customers, especially repeat customers, so you’ll probably be great at growing a business.
You like doing things on your own, are a great behind-the-scenes leader and love working with systems, concepts, ideas and technologies. You excel at competitive selling because you enjoy overcoming rejection and achieving goals despite obstacles. Managers enjoy working by themselves, and managing others can be a challenge, so you need to hire employees who are better than you at listening and working well with others.
4. The Motivator:
You have a high level of sociability, an above-average level of dominance, and are both driven and independent. This gives you the ability to work well under pressure and in autonomous situations. It also means that you will be a great consensus builder, a good collaborator and a driver of change. Just like the name suggests, you are the consummate motivator who does well working by, with and through others.
Motivators excel at leadership or sales. You can be convincing and avoid most confrontation by creating a strong emotional argument. Motivators do well in the toughest of customer service roles, as you are able to see both sides of the argument. You do well in business with partners, or in a business that involves others. Motivators are good at nurturing relationships and often do best in a business that involves keeping clients for the long term. You thrive in a team environment.
Entrepreneurship can be terrifying. Venturing off on your own can be a scary step and it’s important to be confident in what you’re doing. If you’re tired of working for someone else, the suffocating limits, and lack of moneymaking opportunities, you should seriously consider the world of entrepreneurship.
Rosalind Resnick, author of “The Vest Pocket Consultant’s Secrets of Small Business Success,” wrote a great article featured in the Small Business section of The Wall Street Journal. The article is truly inspirational and has hard facts about why entrepreneurship could be the best route for you.
Liberation at its finest
Entrepreneurship can be the key to liberating yourself from that dreaded cubicle. As a small business owner, you’re free to “unplug and work anywhere there’s WiFi reception,” Resnick says. You have the luxury of working where you please–which can increase your efficiency and ability to focus on the crucial tasks at hand.
Give yourself a raise
If you own your own business, you call the shots and you take on all the risk. There’s no limit to your salary and a raise can be dictated based on your own actions and the opportunities you create for yourself.
“While getting a business off the ground is never easy, every dollar that you put in and every hour that you work is an investment that returns profit back to you,” Resnick says.
If you still feel uneasy about the idea of taking on the world with your hands in your empty pockets, think of it this way: a “real” job may only last about four years, and you’re not getting paid enough. If you own your own business, you’re absolutely entitled to reap the benefits of your work. Answering to someone else can only stifle your true capabilities.
If you’re the kind of person that responds better to hard numbers rather than abstract ideals, here’s some information you might want to pay attention to. Recent changes in the tax laws make business expense deductions pretty sweet. “Under expanded bonus depreciation rules, qualified investments in fixed assets, purchased between Sept. 9, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2011, can be fully written off for federal tax purposes,” according to Michael J. Goldberg of New York’s Ganer, Grossbach & Ganer LP.
All in all, starting a business isn’t about the benefits, or the adventure, it’s about you. You can use your small business as a test to show your true potential. Take some risks and see what you can do.
Starting a small business is not easy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within the first five years. Not to start off this post with straight negativity or anything, but you need to be realistic.
There is no guarantee of success when you’re starting your own business. There is no formula, no secret recipe, no checklist that will ensure your success if you follow such and such steps.
However, there is hope. If you can see yourself fitting into all of the following categories, you may very well have the potential to succeed as a small business owner:
Someone who is capable of stepping up to the plate, initiating and developing projects, organizing and balancing time and responsibilities, and being detail oriented.
Someone who can get along with various different personalities, a diplomat who is capable of developing a relationship with any kind of person whether they are a dissatisfied customer, a sporadic vendor, an irate banker, or an unreliable consultant.
A decision maker:
Someone who can perform under pressure, someone who can make a quick, independent decision with a pressing deadline. If your website is down, you can make the calls to have it fixed and up and running while also coddling the dissatisfied client who couldn’t place an order online.
Someone who understands the importance of organization, an organizer who knows what is demanded of him or her five minutes from now or five days from now, who can organize finances, inventory, schedules, marketing strategies, and dodge any major mishaps.
Someone who can take the emotional trials of running a small business, a person who does not take no for an answer and is not intimidated by responsibility or work overload.
As an entrepreneur, you can’t underestimate the difficulty of starting a new business and succeeding. It is important to be patient, work hard, stay organized, be open-minded, and keep pushing forward.
Although there are plenty of stories out there that describe the overnight success stories of several entrepreneurs and small businesses, the likelihood of that is just minute. You need to be able to make the correct choices a long the way – and the way is long.
David Bakke, wrote a great post for Money Crashers about small business mistakes and the reasons why entrepreneurs fail. Listen to the mistakes that I found most helpful from his posts. Read them, study them, and avoid them. If you feel you are weak in any of these areas, fix it immediately because it could cost you your dream of being a successful small business owner.
1. Lack of Focus
I’ve seen a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs fail simply because they were “all over the place” with what they actually wanted to do. They tried so many different businesses in their first few years that they never got anything off the ground. A lot of this needs to be weeded out in your “pre-launch” process. That goes for both internet businesses and brick and mortar businesses. If you know you want to sell things on the Internet, do your research first as to exactly what you want to sell and how you want to sell it. Launching a website and then constantly changing the focus from selling cupcakes to selling screwdrivers to selling women’s lingerie is a sure way to be “finished” before you’ve even started.
2. Veering Away From Your Passion or Talent
You should really stick with what you are good at or what you love to do. Can you be successful being involved in something that you are not great at or feel strongly about? Absolutely, 100%. But, how dedicated are you going to be to that concept in the beginning? How likely are you going to still feel motivated after doing it for six months? How much easier would it be if you had chosen something you are great at or passionate about?
You’ve got to make sure you do your due diligence and do the proper amount of research before starting. This goes back to my first point on focus. I’ve seen people dive in head first to areas that they knew little to nothing about, and the huge mistakes they made in the beginning were just too costly to overcome. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that mistakes are going to be made along the way, especially in the beginning. Take these mistakes and learn from them. But, you need to be prepared enough so that you can avoid the huge, expensive mistakes that sometimes can sink your idea before it even has a chance to take off.
4. Too Hesitant
As mentioned in the prior section, before you start a new business, even if it is a passion of yours, there needs to be a certain amount of research that goes into it before taking the plunge. You won’t just wake up one day and boom, decide to start a business. This just wouldn’t be smart. There is always going to be a certain amount of risk and uncertainty in any new business that you forge. If you are not willing to assume that risk or simply don’t have the stomach for it, you’ll never succeed.
Those of you interested in venturing out into the business world on your own will be faced with many challenges. You may be wondering if you’ll even make it. It’s a huge risk but truth be told, it’s absolutely worth it. Owning your own small business can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do.
So what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? Passion is great, but there are several other qualities you need as a person, before you can succeed in business.
A Knack For Solving Problems
Most entrepreneurs start their businesses by finding a need or a problem in the market, and satisfying it. By solving consumer problems, you contribute the community – which is the most profitable venture out there.
You have to be able to do things on your own. Entrepreneurs thrive when faced with intense responsibility and workload. They can manage their own time, and love being their own boss.
Hunger for Hard Work
The beginning stages for entrepreneurs include long hours, little pay, stress, and frustration. They focus on accomplishing tasks and getting work done before anything else.
All entrepreneurs exude a level of self-confidence that earn them respect and recognition. Having confidence in yourself and your abilities will take you farther in life than any other quality. You will never out-perform your self-belief.
This is a no brainer. Distractions are not an option. Successful entrepreneurs know to resist temptation when it comes to unimportant things. You need to be able to focus on the most essential tasks, and save the less important things for later when you have time.
Openness to Change
The economy is changing, the market is changing, consumers are changing, and companies are changing right along with them. Any successful entrepreneur understands the critical need to “go with the flow,” and have the ability to change as their business grows.
As I mentioned in 5 Tips for the New Business Owner – Part 1, any new entrepreneur or small business owner needs as much advice as he or she can get. The lack of resources available for starting entrepreneurs and business owners can be a frustrating and difficult obstacle to overcome.
Here is the second half of the 10 tips to follow when launching your first startup business, as according to Scott Gerber, a writer for the Young Entrepreneurs column in Entrepreneur.com.
6. Learn under fire.
No business book or business plan can predict the future or fully prepare you to become a successful entrepreneur. There is no such thing as the perfect plan. There is no perfect road or one less traveled. Never jump right into a new business without any thought or planning, but don’t spend months or years waiting to execute. You will become a well-rounded entrepreneur when tested under fire. The most important thing you can do is learn from your mistakes-and never make the same mistake twice.
7. No one will give you money.
There, I said it. No one will invest in you. If you need large sums of capital to launch your venture, go back to the drawing board. Find a starting point instead of an end point. Scale down pricey plans and grandiose expenditures. Simplify the idea until it’s manageable as an early stage venture. Find ways to prove your business model on a shoestring budget. Demonstrate your worth before seeking investment. If your concept is successful, your chances of raising capital from investors will dramatically improve.
8. Be healthy.
No, I’m not your mother. However, I promise that you will be much more productive when you take better care of yourself. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, not a 9-to-5 profession. Working to the point of exhaustion will burn you out and make you less productive. Don’t make excuses. Eat right, exercise and find time for yourself.
9. Don’t fall victim to your own B.S.
Don’t talk the talk unless you can walk the walk. Impress with action not conversation. Endorse your business enthusiastically, yet tastefully. Avoid exaggerating truths and touting far reaching goals as certainties. In short, put up or shut up.
10. Know when to call it quits.
Contrary to popular belief, a smart captain does not go down with the ship. Don’t go on a fool’s errand for the sake of ego. Know when it’s time to walk away. If your idea doesn’t pan out, reflect on what went wrong and the mistakes that were made. Assess what you would have done differently. Determine how you will utilize these hard-learned lessons to better yourself and your future entrepreneurial endeavors. Failure is inevitable, but a true entrepreneur will prevail over adversity.
Your small business has a great chance in succeeding. By following the tips from this post and the previous five tips, you will give yourself the best chance to jump start your new venture.
As a small business owner, it is important to know everything you can about your business and your industry. So how do you stay informed and up to date about your business in order for it to thrive? You must learn new information constantly in order to keep up with developments in your field.
An article on SBA.gov discusses the importance of staying informed. The following is a list of 10 ways to stay informed so you can learn to expand your network of information resources in order to help your small business succeed.
Ten Ways to Stay Informed
- Subscribe to industry or trade publications that focus on your business or the business of your clients and customers.
- Join a professional association, chamber of commerce, or network with other entrepreneurs in similar industries.
- Look for information on the Internet. Watch for opportunities to interact with business or industry experts in chat room interviews. Put the interviews on your appointment calendar and be sure to show up.
- Subscribe to Internet newsgroups that focus on your industry.
- Read newspapers – local and national – to track business trends.
- Talk to your customers and clients. What issues are troubling them? What is their mission? What factors do they think will affect their business in the future? Ask yourself, “How might this affect my business?”
- Invest in training: attend a conference or seminar on a subject that affects your business. Once there, don’t be a wallflower. Strike up conversations with other participants. If a session is particularly helpful, go up to the speaker to thank him/her or add a comment of your own. Ask for his/her business card. If he/she agrees, you’ll have a resource who’s just a phone call away when you need a fast reality check. Most people are flattered to be consulted – but remember, their time is valuable, so don’t waste it. Ideally, information exchange should be a two-way street. Do you have information that might benefit your source? Share it with him/her.
- Visit or call your city library or check out the library at a nearby college. Find out what resources – periodicals, newspapers, reference materials – they offer for someone interested in a business like yours.
- Recognize that at some point you may not be able to know everything about your business. Learn to use consultants or hire employees who can compensate for the gaps in your knowledge.
- Cultivate your curiosity. Don’t be afraid to try new things. The most important skill you can develop is not the ability to remember information, but the ability to seek out and find the information you need, when you need it and then use it for the benefit of your business.