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August 7, 2009

How Ready Are You To Become A Business Owner? Part II

This is the second in a series of articles designed to help Entrepreneur’s understand the dynamics of starting and owning a business.

Thinking Through Your Idea the Right Way – prior to creating a business plan

In the first article of this series, we learned about the mindset usually needed to become a successful business owner. This portion takes a look at the things you can do to make sure that your idea/venture is thought through the right way. Thinking through your idea means that you are going to plan your success by identifying the “Who, What, Why, How, When and Where” of what you will need to create your business planning.  It does not make a difference if you are starting a business, buying a business, or taking over a business – only that you do not act impulsively or emotionally.

However, this is not a business plan lesson, it is about being prepared. The first thing a potential business owner needs to realize is that thinking through your idea takes time, organization and focus. During the process you may change direction or strategy several times until you find what works best for you.

How much time will this take? The real answer depends on how complex your idea is, how much you know about the subject matter and how much research (market, competitive) that you need to do. Along this process you will think of new ideas, make changes perhaps even start over – therefore expect that it will take twice as long as you first thought.  It may take a day, a week, a month or a year. At this point in time it does not make a difference if your plans are on a formalized document or a notebook pad. I suggest something in pencil.

What does organization really mean at this stage? At this stage of development, “organization” is best described as good time management. Rather than write a boring description, this may best be served by example.

Ex: If you are working full time – use the time before work, lunch hours and early evening to think. Avoid thinking this through just before you go to bed. (You may not be able to sleep)

Ex: If you have more time than most – do your thinking in your morning hours.

Ex: Keep a notepad or journal with you. Write down your thoughts as you have them unless you have a photographic memory. Sometimes the best thoughts come to you when you are relaxed and not trying too hard.

Ex: Have a heading on each page (Who, What, Why etc…) or titles of business plan sections.  

Ex: Never miss an opportunity to talk to someone who may know more than you about what you are planning to do. You do not have to tell them your idea but you can always learn about their successes and how they managed to accomplish their goals.

Focus: Having a timeframe and being organized are the easy parts. The hardest part is to stay focused. For those persons who may be “Attention Challenged” it is critical that that you: 

  • Minimize your distractions perhaps even adjust your lifestyle
  • Manage your emotions (see prior blog article “Riding The Emotional Rollercoaster”)
  • Do NOT focus on the rewards, focus on the opportunity.
  • Set benchmarks for progress  
  • Stay positive
  • Confidants – see below

Have a business partner/friend/family member/spouse to talk to. You need someone to confide in as you ride the emotional highs and lows. Someone to help nudge you back or encourage your pursuit.

There are advantages and disadvantages to having a business partner. The list could be endless but for this purpose we are only trying to expedite the pre-business plan process.

Advantages:

  • Sharing of workload (reduces time to complete planning)
  • Sharing of thoughts, best strategies etc…
  • Increase in resources, network and validation of idea
  • Faster recognition of errors or changes in direction

Disadvantages: 

  • A business partner is like a marriage, you really should know the person well first. You must make sure that you are both on the same page and have the same objectives.
  • Potential power struggle and differences of opinion. These cannot be allowed to inhibit progress. Make decision making, roles, equity, tasks are clearly defined.
  • If your first thought was “I do not want to share the success with anyone”, then perhaps you are already allowing greed to influence your thoughts. Greed is the most terrible attribute a new business owner can have.

Why is all this important? In a nutshell – you do not want to miss something that may result in a cash flow shortage on the way to business fruition. If you do not wish to see your business ventures struggle or fail because of a lack of cash/investors, you will realize that you cannot leave anything to chance.

Next Article “Mapping The Path to Fruition” – Your Business Plan is your initial Action Plan

The Entrepreneur’s Advisor™ is unique in their ability to assist new ventures. Our understanding of the emotional rollercoaster, the details of starting a business, the experiences of running a business, change management  and a passion for what we do separates us from others because “We have been there and done that”. Our innovative Pay-As-You-Go” program is designed to be a sounding board for start-ups. Talk to us – “We love getting our hands dirty.”

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Previous articles can be found at:  The Entrpreneur’s Advisors Blog

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