Now-a-days, there is a ton of information available online and off about small solo businesses. And, even more about having an online business. But, the truth is building a successful business really requires a few critical elements, that aren’t talked about all that often. They’re all covered in the Business Profit Equation though.
Step One – Planning & Budgeting
Okay, I know that sounds boring and probably isn’t what you’re interested in hearing. The problem is, while there’s plenty of info about “making money online,” that’s not really the same as building a sustainable business. The bottom line is without actual planning for the key elements of your business, it’s unlikely you’ll ever have a successful one.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you have to create a traditional full blown business plan. You only need that if you are going after traditional funding for your business. However, you do need a plan. It will help you stay focused and on track. Otherwise it’s way to easy to easy to get distracted. And, distraction, is a very good way to fail.
So What Do You Need To Include In Your Plan And Why?
The very first question you need to ask yourself is, if there’s a market for the kind of business you want to start. And, do you actually have an interest in that kind of business.
These two elements are crucial – look, let’s be honest . . . starting an online, or a small business is a LOT different than starting most traditional business. One of the key differences is that you can start many of these types of businesses part-time. And, often with minimal financial or other resources and still be successful. However, this is only true – if you are working within restraints that let that happen.
What this means is you need to use proven budget friendly strategies that let you have the greatest chance at starting a successful business. If you decide to sell a product that doesn’t have a proven market, you then need to find or create a market to buy it and that costs money. And after all that, you may still find out there’s really is no market for your product. Find a market first . Then discover what their needs are . . . where their pain is. And only then create or better yet find a product or service that addresses that need is the best, most cost-effective way to start a new business and have a chance at actual success.
That’s the first part of the question. The second part is do you have an interest in the business you’re getting ready to start. Wondering why that’s important?
Despite all the hype offered on and offline about starting a new business about how easy it is . . . starting a business, any business and building it to success takes time and effort. It will not happen overnight, or in 30-days. And, it certainly won’t happen without serious effort on your part. If you don’t have any real interest in what you’re doing it’s going to be very difficult for you to last over the long haul of building your business. Even online, despite the constant barrage of “you could be making money tomorrow” type of hype, it takes at least a year to really build a solid business and often it takes a lot longer.
Look we’re all interested in the idea of a 4-hour work week. We’d all love to make tens of thousands of dollars by sending an email to our list. It would be so lovely to push a button and then get dozens of PayPal and Clickbank notifications that “You’ve got money” daily as we relax on the beach with our families. But, we also need to understand that getting to that point takes time, effort and planning. We have to put the structures and systems in place. And we have to create the visibility for our business that will allow that to happen.
You Have A Market And You’re Interested . . .What’s Next?
You’ve made a good start. If you know who your market is, what your prospect’s needs are and you’ve found a solution to offer you’re ahead of the game. Kudos to you.
The next set of questions you need to answer are just as important. How will you promote your solution to your prospect? What will you do to distinguish yourself from your competitors? How will you deliver it? What will it cost you to buy or create it, market and deliver the product? How much will you sell it for? What is your profit margin? How much will you reinvest in your business?
Often people like to ignore these questions. The idea of money coming in is enough. But without this information you have no way to gather the data you’ll need later to automate. You won’t know how much you can spend to attract your ideal prospects. And most importantly, you’ll have no idea whether you’re even breaking even, let alone making a profit with your business.
And there are still the issues of where you’ll be getting your start-up and operating capital from, how you will use those funds, and how you will manage your business and personal cash flow.
Lastly, you’ll want to deal with your business structure because it determines a number of tax and asset protection issues. Answering all of these questions will give you a good head start toward building a successful business.
Leveling Up . . .
The next level of planning will put you head and shoulders above most start-ups. You need to lay out your goals and objectives for the quarter ahead. Don’t worry this is not written in stone. But in will go a really long way to ensuring a successful business.
When I say plan out the quarter, here’s what I mean. What is the strategic message you’ll share that’ll attract your ideal prospects? Where will you find them at, and how will you share the message? What is the thing you’re going to offer that gets them interested?
How are you going to follow-up to convert them into customers? How will you keep them engaged so they become a repeat customer? What will you do to separate yourself from your competition? What will you offer next?
Here’s Why It’ll Make A Difference
Many people thinking about starting a business for the first time have very similar experiences. This is especially true of online business startups. You do a Google search about starting an online, home-based or small business. Or maybe you join some “guru’s” list. Then one day you get an email. The email promises some “wonderfully magical” business model. It guarantees you can make thousands of dollars overnight with just a PayPal account and a computer. And, there’s little or no effort required on your part.
Okay, probably not that blatantly. But they certainly make it seem like it’ll be quick. And easy. And like anybody can do it. So you buy into the program so you can start making money online and hop right in. Forward thirty days later. Maybe you’ve made a little money. More likely you haven’t.
But the “guru” sends you another program that’s even better. Or a tool that’s going to do all the hard stuff for you. A tool that you simply can’t live without. So you buy that program or tool too. Now rinse and repeat again and again. Eventually, you’re broke, disillusioned and you still haven’t achieved that dream of making money online. Or at home. And, you certainly haven’t built a business.
Others, dig deeper. They buy and read some books. Maybe they even take a class. They do everything except figure out a plan. Because somewhere along the way, they were sold on the ideal it wasn’t really necessary. Take my word for it, it’s necessary. It helps you focus in and figure out the details of starting and growing your business. AND, it saves you from making as many costly mistakes as you will make without a plan.
Deciding to build a business from the beginning. Then creating a plan for how to do that. And, then sticking to it. Will help you stay focused. It will help you save money by limiting purchases to the tools and resources you actually need. And it’ll give you a much better chance at building a successful business.
In the next post we will discuss two additional components that are critical to your business. So be sure to come back soon. Or better yet subscribe to my email list and you’ll be the first to know when it’s ready!