You Are Your Business
The idea of, and then the actuality of, being ‘in business’ can have a strange, hypnotizing, effect on us. It can turn our thinking around to the point that we think we’re doing one thing when, in actuality, we’re doing the opposite.
People who are intelligent and understanding of business management principles can suddenly develop unrealistic thoughts and actions simply because they go ‘in business’. These people manufacture their own business failure even before the first customer comes on the scene.
Experience In Business Operation
Not everyone is blessed, as I have been, with having a background steeped in the management and performance of business. My growing up years were spent with self-employed, independent businessmen and women, creating an economic support system for their families by building businesses.
As an individual who is thinking of going into business, or who is striving to make an existing
business profitable, you are in need of a particular mindset. There has to be absolutely clarity about everything you want to achieve. A realistic accounting for all the essential steps you need to take to reach your goal has to be made.
Starting a business with the belief that it’s romantic, sexy, adventurous or even ego boosting is the first major reason for business failure. Creating, building, and managing a business is none of those things.
It’s long hours, exhausting work, learning from mistakes, developing trusting relationships with other businessmen, choosing the right employees, keeping records, finding product sources, consistent market research … need I go on?
Are You Right For The Job?
My first concrete advice to those who are now running a business, and for those who are considering it, is to ask yourself some hard questions. There’s no reason to be anything by straight forward with the answers. No one other than you will ever know your responses.
1.) Are you prepared for long hours and hard work?
2.) Can you recognize mistakes and move to correct them?
3.) Is it possible to change the direction of your business if needed?
4.) Can you tolerate being alone with the weight of decisions resting on your shoulders?
5.) Do you actually have a passion for what you are doing?
6.) Do you have the ability to persevere in the face of adversity?
7.) What is different about what you can provide as compared to other businesses?
8.) Do you have a support network?
9.) What’s the first step needed to take to get started in business
10.) What do you want (this is sometimes referred to as the ‘Why’ … this keeps you directed toward the goal) and what do you need to do it?
The lack of any of these things, and others not mentioned here, can only lead to confusion,
frustration, more work, more stress, less profit and a miserable life.
Create A Plan
My second bit of concrete advice it to make a plan and write it on paper, or at least on a computer note pad. This plan is not to enslave you or to force actions you don’t wish to make. A developed plan will keep you from being overwhelmed with questions.
A business plan is a guide, in plain view, that displays everything about your business … the what, why, where, when, and how. These are ideas that you should have before anything else is done.
The beauty of the plan is that it can be changed…should be changed…as more information comes your way and as your insight grows about your chosen business.
“The Plan” is the magic ingredient that allows the creation of a profitable business. Notice that this includes all business … online and offline. Business is business regardless of its location.
The plan allows you to monitor and track your business so you know that you’re moving in the right direction. It, also, helps you to make corrections if you’ve gotten off track.
Basic business principles apply to an Internet business in the same way they apply to a brick and mortar business. Basic business principles apply to any business, any niche, any location.
I agree with you that the planning stage is absolutely the hardest part of going into business.
Some of us don’t really know where to start when it comes to making a plan. Business plans come in all shapes and sizes depending on the kind of business, the goal of the business, and
the people who will be responsible for the business. If you are seeking a loan to get started, a
particularly formalized type of plan is required.
Suggested Software For Planning
I suggest the use of mind-mapping software to make the plan. In fact, I suggest the use of mind maps for everything, but you’ll understand that as you recognize the possibilities built into the software.
The entire process of being an entrepreneur becomes a whole lot easier when you learn how to use and implement mind mapping software. The map creates a mirrored image of your thoughts which is much better than trying to visualize and analyzes everything in your head.
By working with a map, the entire business building process can be blueprinted, from the most simple task to the most complicated functions. The maps you create become your best source of guidance and information.
The image to the right gives displays the beginning of a planning process using a map. There is no end to the additional data that can be added until the plan is complete.
I believe that the next most important element for a business to consider is marketing. After the business planning is done so that a direction and goal for your business has been established, the marketing plan is ready to begin.
The emphasis, again, is on ‘plan’. Map out the kind of marketing you want to do, the target audience for your marketing effort, the resources you need to put the campaign together, the cost of campaign implementation, etc.
Tracking is an essential part of any marketing effort. There is no way to determine if the campaign has been successful, or if there are parts of the campaign that should be rethought, unless you have tracked the entire process.
Again, there is software which provides tracking services. Some of these are free services. Most of them have a premium upgrade available.
Best Business Advice
I personally enjoy the act of building and marketing businesses. The best advice I can offer to anyone who is either in business now, or who is planning to begin a business, is to create a plan.
The plan is a tool. It works for you. The plan leads you from where you are to where you wish to be. Follow the plan, adjust the plan, expand the plan and redirect the plan.
The plan is your foundation. A good plan gives you a much better chance of having a
successful business. Your business success should not be dependent on chance or luck. Your path to the goal you set should be planned, tested and tracked step by step.