Many people dream of starting their own business. Being your own boss, making your own hours and reaping the rewards of your hard work are all benefits that running a successful business can provide to its owners.
Starting a new business can also be risky, is rarely easy and the sad reality is that a large number of new businesses will fail. The main reasons for failure are due to a lack of in-depth planning, poor execution and not enough financial resources.
If you are thinking of striking out into the wonderful world of business ownership, here are a few pointers to help ensure your success.
How are you going to reach your ultimate destination without a roadmap? A business plan is the roadmap that you need for your business and I believe every successful business owner should have one.
Build your plan to make sure your business idea has a good chance to become a reality. A great deal of thought must go into a proper business plan and it should not be done haphazardly.
Writing a business plan forces you to document every consideration and projection, and will help you to “chart the course” for the new businesses. It will also confirm if you are on the right track, and to consider scenarios to avoid serious omissions or mistakes.
Eight-two percent (82%) of new businesses fail due to cash flow problems. A properly written business plan will help determine what financial resources will be required over the first few years of a new business.
Successful business owners determine how they’re going to finance their business from day one. Financing can come from personal savings, bank loans, speaking to angel Investors, or a combination of sources. Successful start-ups result from planning ahead and ensuring that you do not run out of money in the middle of implementing the business plan.
“Squirrel”…Dogs are instantly and completely distracted by the sight or sound of a squirrel. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing, once a dog gets sight of a squirrel, everything momentarily stops and they can’t regain their focus.
Some entrepreneurs can be distracted very easily as well, which can really mess up momentum, energy and drive. They may become discouraged or distracted by chasing a new project or idea, when they really should be focusing on their main business growth or business plan.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t consider new ideas, but often it may be better to “put it on the shelf” (so to speak) and stick to your existing plans.
Successful business owners will often live, eat, sleep and dream about their business 24/7. They are primarily focused on their one main business. They have clear goals that they are aiming to reach and they won’t let themselves lose focus at the sound or sight of a squirrel moment.
A successful business owner has to be true to him/herself at all times. They understand what they’re own strengths and weaknesses are, and they realize that they must compose their team with people who can complement their strengths, and provide skills due to their weaknesses.
Whether it’s partners, employees, board members, advisory council members or colleagues that specialize in other important business fields, such as accounting and legal services, successful business owners know how to build a diversified team. They always find a way to engage people and get help when required.
Business owners who strive for consistent growth should never avoid an opportunity to learn. One way to take advantage of learning from others is to join local networks and associations that can provide added value to their businesses.
It’s surprising how much alike successful businesses are to one another, regardless of the type of business they are in. Building relationships (whether inside or outside of your own field) provides successful business owners with unique access to specialized people, skills and opinions. Networking helps others understand your business and your business needs, and can provide you with additional and unexpected growth opportunities.
No one has all the answers. Successful business owners will periodically seek out mentors that have had success in various business areas. Do not hesitate to meet with others to explain any challenges, disclose concerns, and ask for input, suggestions and opinions.
Mentors do not have to be skilled in the same field of business to provide great value and inspiration. Seek out business people that are successful, who you admire and most importantly, who you respect. Their guidance can be of great value.
Life for a business owner can be lonely and discouraging at times. All of the pressure and responsibility to continually succeed is on your shoulders, and that can be tough. Especially when you’ve been working really hard and marketing your company as much as possible, and the business isn’t coming in the way you had planned.
Successful business owners strive to remain optimistic at all times, and they maintain a tenacious approach to their business planning. They realize when there might be an occasion to make tweaks to their business plan, but giving up or losing hope is something that a successful business owner will rarely do. They have planned ahead for good times and for bad, and they’ll work on their business plan and do what needs to be done to turn things around.
I wish you good luck with your business planning, as well as a successful and prosperous result.
Vince Valenti is a successful entrepreneur and business owner. Over the past twenty-five years Vince has created businesses in the financial services and technology fields. He has advised and mentored numerous business colleagues. Most recently, Vince launched his newest corporate venture, WorkAway Offices, which is a co-working office, shared office and executive office all combined, centrally located in Ottawa, Ontario. For more information, please visit www.workawayoffices.com.