Friday September 3, 2021
You need a Business Plan
Right? I mean it sounds like the kind of thing not having would be like admitting you aren't qualified to sart a business.
I mean, you're going to start a business. Without a plan?
Whiteboards look cool but are really inefficient.
Tim Proctor and Craig Lysen
Are pair of easy-going Vets who spend days on their program Check Your Six chatting about the Grind of business ownership. For about a year now, they've been out to prove when it comes to starting, owning and operating a company that yes, there really is that much to talk about. A while back while having me on as a guest we got to talking about my mentality when it comes to building and running companies.
"You know, it's funny" I tell Tim. "I've met a lot of business owners who have found a little bit of success in their companies, but are always doing everything themselves. They say 'oh, I'm doing my marketing and my sales and my product sourcing and etc.'.
I look at people in that position and say, "You need to hire somebody", and they say "Well I don't have enough money for that"
The Real Challenge of Running a Company begins with one word: Scale
How long have you been running a startup? It's a trick question. Businesses are always in a period of self-discovery when you get close enough to the inside. The more invested you get in the success of your company, the more time, attention and energy you are going to put towards it. This is the industry of ideas, and success brings it's own new challenges.
Writing a Business Plan
So to make a business you need a plan. That's what they tell you anyway. In reality, there is absolutely no need to complicate the wheel when you are just starting out. The steps to making a business plan are to know what your product is (or service), determine who you want to offer your services to (your audience), and work out how much you want to charge for it (and how). Knowing these things, you're perfectly equipped for the real proof of concept for your new business: landing your first customer.
Humble brag, this is how quick I explain this stuff:
So that's pretty basic, why complicate the wheel? Alright you're still here. Let's break it down:
STEP 1: What is your Product?
Your product is simply the good or service that you offer. Ask yourself "what am I doing for my client" and then simplify and simplify and simplify that message until you have it maybe even in a single sentence. If you can get it that simple you can pitch it to anybody (and get likely feeback fast)
ALWAYS: Quality-proof your ideas. Pitch this thing to somebody. Do they like it? Is it something that makes them go "yes, I need that". How certain do they seem?
Don't go to family or friends for this, they're terrible references (even if they say they aren't).
STEP 2: Who do you want to sell your Product to?
You know what your product is or what you do. Now ask yourself who out there wants your product. Is it a big demographic? Can you differentiate yourself from other big players out there who could be significant in your space? Following-through on step one is a valuable, nearly indispensible part of having a clear outlook on this.
ALWAYS: Find a market you know you want to target, and start pitching to them. You can do this even before your product is fully completed. This is essential and valuable to do because when you're starting out people are likely to tell you no even if your profuct is great.
STEP 3: How should someone Pay for your Product?
So, now you have a Product and you've targeted an Audience. Congratulations! You made a sale.
Now, what's a simple, easy to use method for people to use to pay your price for your services? Understand that a great system is one that is simple. Simple for them, simple for you!
ALWAYS: Do your research. There are plenty of merchant processors out there from Stripe to Paypal, Google Pay and others. Ask what method your clients prefer, and then think about the systems you might be interested to work with long-term.
How "hands-on" do you want to be? If a client is paying online, should the payment link redirect the person away from your website? Things to consider when or as you are working to arrive at this point.
Now. Take those three rules and write them down. Congratulations! You now have a Standard Operating Procedure for your Business. This process if successfully followed will have zeroed in on your product, discovered your first target audience, and closed your first account.
Repeat this Process, you're on your way!
Want to better understand what it's like building a business from the ground up? We've got you covered. Luis Arias built his cake decorating studio from a home kitchen project to a successful brick-and-mortar store: