Congratulations! You have made the decision to start a business. It takes a lot of courage and effort, and of course, RISK! But if you arm yourself with proper tools, and with some careful planning, you can find ways to mitigate some of those risks and drive your business to success.
No two businesses are the same
That’s right! This is going to be my motto for this blog. You have to understand that while business activities, products offered, and business types may be similar, or be in the same field or industry, no two businesses will ever be the same. What determines the business is the internal mechanics of it, i.e. how it is run and managed. Each business owner has their own motivation and goals for their business, and perhaps a secret ingredient that would then set them apart from their competitors.
I am pretty sure (OK hopeful) that as part of your decision to start a business, you have already thought about this. As informal as this is, that was the first step in preparing a business plan. It is very important that all businesses develop a business plan. It should not be limited to only when you need financing. You should create a business plan at the beginning, and at any point in the business that you feel you need to reevaluate the way things are going.
Your secret ingredient
The process of creating a business plan helps you to understand your business. Going back to the “no two businesses are the same”, your business planning process will help you narrow down what you want to offer your customers, how you are going to finance and manage your operations, what you will do differently from others offering the same products or services as you, and ultimately what will set you apart from the rest of your competitors (i.e. your own secret ingredient!). This could be anything from providing better customer service, or faster delivery times, or better products…you name it, its your business and your journey in putting together a business plan will help you find your niche.
So where to start
Well, you have already started! You have thought about starting a business and thought about your competitors, money…. so just put it down on paper. Do not get held back by formalities at this point. Put down everything you are thinking about your business on paper (if old fashioned like me), or type it out, or note it somewhere, and build on it as you think of more stuff. Think about what’s motivating you to start a business, what products or services you want to offer or sell to your customers, who else is doing it, what’s holding you back… It’s amazing how things start coming together when you put them down on paper. It is only once you truly open up to yourself and understand what you want to accomplish with this business, that you will start seeing a path towards implementing it.