Entrepreneurs and creators often have fantastic ideas but some may lack a complete set of ‘battle plans’ which will help guide their actions towards their goals. They then plunge headfirst into starting a business without covering the essential bases. Many times, this results in costly mistakes and unnecessary roadblocks.
Other times, entrepreneurs successfully launch a business but let it get stuck in a rut later. When that happens, it is best to take a step back and take stock. Here are 5 essential things you can do to gear your business for success after success:
1) Research your market
Know your target customers inside and out. Know about their needs, problems, worries and the kinds of solutions they desire. Then check out your competitors and how well they are doing as well as the probability of your business clinching market share when you enter the market. Also find out about the market size and the trends, and whether it is big enough to accommodate one more supplier.
2) Write your business plan
Pen down an executive summary of your business plan and detail out the vision and mission of your new business. This may sound like all fluff, but they act as guiding principles for your business plans. The organisational structure, sales and marketing plan as well as operational requirements should also be clearly constructed so that the budget can take them into account. Those who are forward-thinking should also plan out growth and exit strategies.
3) Work out your financial plan
Financials is often the pivot point upon which a business swings. The most fantastic idea in the world will not take-off if the budget doesn’t cut it. Entrepreneurs should plan the financials carefully and include some buffer money for emergencies. They should have a clear breakdown of start-up costs and a break-even point. They should also have sales targets and properly drawn-up balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements.
4) Plan for long-term success
Think long term and how you envision how you want your company to be a few years down the road. Write out clear personal and company goals, with long-term planning for risk and failure. You should also have a set of temporal targets mapping out how your business should be doing in 5, 10 or 15 years’ time.
There should also be a succession plan. What if the business grows too big for you to handle alone? What would happen then? Would you hand part of your business to someone else or sell it off?
5) Choose a good business name
Journalists love nothing more than a unique name on which to spin their story around. However, that’s not the main reason to think of a good business name. A memorable and quirky name which is true to your business creates a hook that will go a long way into growing mindshare (sticking in consumers’ minds), and eventually put money in your pockets.
Remember, if your customers remember you fondly, they will probably talk about you, recommend you to friends and buy from you. On the flipside, if your name isn’t appealing to consumers, they can’t relate to whatever you may have to sell to them, no matter how cool your product or service is.