Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ready to Start?

I'm hoping to start at least some debate about how to start up a business. There are certainly many takes on it, many fortunes made bloviating about it, and some good advice succintly given. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I don't think you have to have all your ducks in a row before you start, but you should at least be aware of what you'll need to do from the outset through the first year:
1. Have expertise in your business type. This has been debated recently, as technical knowledge isn't the predictor of success per se. By the same token, I don't believe an entrepreneurial spirit can run any business. It's that unique combination of knowledge about not only your product or service but your placement* too, marketing in general, plus passion for what you're selling. If you're lacking any of these, read on.
2. Have some capital and be willing to spend it where it's needed. You can't do it all. You will have to bring in help, particularly if your marketing and placement knowledge are on the lower end of the scale. Plan for that financially by using savings or finding investors (aka friends and family who share your goals and can lend to you without interest). Remember, I'm talking to you microbusiness owners with a product or service to sell that you can produce yourself. If you're a SAAS or other kind of outfit, "investor" means something entirely different.
3. Have a team of people you can rely on in the areas you can't or don't want to cover. Line up these folks by asking around, searching the net, setting up meet-and-greets, networking, etc. Identify the people you connect with and trust and keep their contact information accessible. When an issue comes up in their area of expertise, you'll have a relationship already and won't have to find just anyone in a crisis.
4. Have a plan for what you need to do to be successful and to grow. This means a marketing plan, a business plan, a few diagrams on a napkin, but something that includes an achievable, measurable future based on some sound thinking of what is possible.

Well, that's all I have for today. I welcome your comments, you lurkers out there!

*By placement or place, I mean where you market and sell your goods/services and how they are distributed: via the web, channel sales, shelves at convenience stores, mail order, etc.

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