5 Points I Share with every Business Start-Up Founder I Mentor
Small business, especially a business start-up is really tough… only those people who have taken a similar leap of faith can truly admire the courage of an individual that is determined to create their own destiny as a small business start-up.
This is why approaching start-ups can be overwhelming for people and some of the time what seems a great idea is simply pushed in the “too hard” basket… and forgotten about.
….for those people who enjoy a challenge and want to take their ambitious dream to the next business step, the “start-up founder” – then these points are what I have used to keep me on track – This should be really helpful for you as you are getting started!
No business can succeed without planning.
There are many ways to construct business plan so that a clear message is kept for you to remain focussed on, some are extensive and cumbersome and some are extremely basic. The following should give you a good starting point for a small business and combine it with the other 4 major sections:
Identify your business:
- In ~20 words, what is it that you want to do?
Create your vision:
Dream big… you have no boundaries here!
- In ~100 words, what do you imagine in the future; (for example: a franchise of like minded businesses operators throughout asia-pacific, or, the creating and vertical integration of an agriculturally diverse property portfolio.)
Write your mission:
- In <250 words, clearly describe:
- What your core business functions are,
- What qualities your business and its people will hold that makes it/them special,
- Describe the function of your business to enable customers a taste of your business exposure,
- Clearly illustrate the key elements of your business that will be focal points for achieving your vision.
“Your mission statement is the #1 reference point for you in the future; it must give you a sense of pride and reflection when you read it….”
NOTE: You can read and adjust your mission statement whenever it is appropriate; use this statement to drive your business; your employees, customers, stakeholders and any other element of the business as you continue to strengthen.
Identify your market:
You must know your market, know what your principle business is and what business will give you the best and most consistent return. Know what will hurt you and how to protect yourself.
Describe your strengths and identify your weaknesses:
Strengths are as important as knowing your weaknesses. Measure these in a similar context so that you can assess your competitors; understand what other competing businesses do well and what they do poorly….
Create goals for yourself and steps that you feel need to be taken for business improvement; implement the improvements to your areas of weakness and manage control over your areas of strength.
Set your goals:
1 year, 3 year, 5 year, 10 year and 20 year goals….
Start by writing your 20 year goals first!!! (some people may disagree with this, but read on and you will see why) Always base your goals upon your vision, and set ambitious targets for yourself to achieve.
Write your 1 year goal that you feel is achievable; make this strategic towards achieving your 20 year goal which you have already outlined.
Set ambitious goals for your 3, 5 & 10 year benchmarks….. you’ll be surprised what you can achieve when you put your mind to it!
Review your 20 year goal again…… it is most likely “too easy” to achieve in the 1st place!
Stay connected to your goals:
Review your goals annually through a period of reflection….. new years, birthday, important celebration etc. make this personal and drive this as a habit.
- What do you want to achieve from this?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
It is much easier doing something that you enjoy, so make sure you’re not starting the business purely based on money$….
Money is a bi-product of business success. Be successful and money will come along for the ride….
Make sure you have an understanding of your health. Your own health is the single most important thing to look after.
Understand clearly and concisely what your business is, who your customers are, what industry opportunities are available and what potential areas are for growth.
Complete a risk analysis and understand the business weaknesses so that control measures can be put in place early.
Take a 3rd party (customer) perspective when creating a business plan:
- who are you and who is your business;
- what are you trying to achieve and what is it that makes your business important to its customers;
- where is the business going to draw its equity, resources, customers and where do you see your business being placed in the future;
- when is the best time to commence business and when are your strategic goals set for to achieve your vision;
- why is your business going to succeed and why do your customers require you;
- how are you going to measure your strengths and your weaknesses and how are you going to implement and manage these to create success.
The ambition to create something knew, the strength to set yourself difficult goals, and the unparalleled focus to out-reach your vision; every day, of every month, of every year…. for a business and business start-up – this is the difference between ‘business give-up’ and ‘business keep-going’
It is your determination to be successful that will enable your vision to be achieved
It is your determination to be successful that will enable your vision to be achieved
You will undoubtedly go through some of the most testing times while in business, and importantly, you cannot allow yourself to be knocked down or pushed aside.
You must maintain composure, remain resilient and continue working with a determined and driven ambition to achieve your goals (both personal and your business goals).
Businesses have highs and lows, it is inevitable that you will feel personally affected when your business is not performing as well as you would have liked, this is called ‘business pain’, as opposed to ‘growing pain’. (Business Growing Pains article)
Business pain will be difficult to understand and manage… this is crucial for any business start-up.
This is a example: Try not to torture yourself and be personally affected by competitors trying to steal your business ideas or setup contracts and poach your workforce; unfortunately these are likely events if you are successful in business, because when you are successful, people want to be like you. (related article)
When you have times of doubt, and you will… return to the basics of your business start-up (your planning). Review your method, adjust if necessary and be mindful that there are people who are willing to help you see reasoning behind any issues.
Sometimes a ‘fresh set of eyes’ can see things that a person trapped in the business continually miss.
5. Financial Control
It is essential to utilise a robust financial recording system that is easily accessible for your accountant. This will ensure that transparency is maintained across your business operations and financial system. Your tax accounting relies upon the effective use of business data.
These are small business essentials for financial reporting and business control;
-  balance sheet,
-  profit and loss,
-  income and expense charts,
-  debtor ageing,
-  creditor ageing, and
-  retained earnings.
Using these regular financial tools for a small to medium sized business is enough to assess the health of your business financially.
By retaining accurate data it is possible to create trends; market trends and forecast predictions depending on market, demographic, seasonal and geographical conditions.
The longer you are in business the easier it becomes to make accurate predictions that help your business take advantage of its opportunities.
Business can be extremely demanding, but for it to succeed you must be equally devoted to rising to the challenge; a business won’t succeed all by itself…. now it’s up to you.
As a business mentor with a passion for regional and remote start-up businesses, I have witnessed these points help people get themselves on track. I have watched people with a business idea and convert it into a viable business. I cannot tell you how self accomplished I feel when I see people succeed.
I hope these couple of simple points help you and hopefully you can find the direction that you need to get your business started.
Written by Geoff Pike, Entrepreneur, Speaker & Business Mentor
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Geoff founded a sole trader plumbing business in a remotely located and vastly underpopulated location in outback Australia. Starting business with only enough money to pay 4 weeks wages, Geoff persisted by growing the business into a multi-disciplined trade services company. Over a period of 12 years, the company Geoff established grew to employ a workforce of over 300 personnel covering an area almost half the size of Europe, receiving international award recognition with an annual revenue of over $30mil. Geoff knows what it takes to overcome adversity.