This is a blog post by David of CreditCompare.com.au
You’ve decided to go into business. Congratulations! To give yourself the greatest chance of success, the very first step – even before you’ve obtained your funding or a location or a business license – is to start writing a winning business plan. As boring as it may sound, the business plan is the foundation, framework and skeleton to enable you to successfully move from mere idea to decisive action. This article will focus on eight proven tips to ensure your best chances of prosperity and triumph. Business experts agree on how invaluable they are.
Tip #1: Your plan needs to begin with something – One of the most important sections is the Executive Summary. You must write an effective and compelling Executive Summary. It will ensure that you and whomever reads your plan can instantly grasp what your overall projected business picture will look like. Think of an overview. A synopsis. Put in the who, what, where, when, why and how in a broad, sweeping stroke. This section is the core of your plan. It must be strong and fabulous. The next step after you write this section is to then write both a marketing section and a management section. Do them equally well.
Tip #2: Right away realize you have to risk something when you go into business – You will be risking more than one thing. Your risks will include money, your time, your personal resources and your energy. The quicker you realize that starting a business is not all fun and games, the quicker you’ll be seeing a clear picture. You want to gain something. Whenever you want to gain something, there is a trade off. That trade off is some form of risk. But don’t let risk frighten you. Everybody experiences it and everybody has to deal with it.
Tip #3: Study your competitors – McDonald’s studies Burger King. Sears studies Macy’s and Wal-Mart. If you’re opening a gas station/garage you must know who your competitors are and how they operate. What are their prices? What special services do they offer that you may want to get in on? Do they have frequent sales? Discounts? Four tires for the price of three? Find out. Then learn how you can outdo them with your own unique niche.
Tip #4: Always keep your customers, clients or patients first in your mind – They are the life blood of your service-driven or product-driven business. You may be considering opening a new accounting practice or a dentist’s office if you’re a recent dental school graduate. Whatever it is make sure to learn as much as you can about your specific demographic base as possible.
Tip #5: Determine and forecast your costs and monetary compensation – This is something tangible. You should never open a business simply because you’ll then be able to say, “I own a business.” Any company must make a profit. You want to be able to afford your family a comfortable lifestyle. So before you even take the plunge, calculate your operating expenses, the cost of your inventory and labor force, taxes, insurance, and any advertising you may want to do. And decide on what is a reasonable amount of profit each month that you need to live on.
Tip #6: Set your mind to make sure you follow your plan – Just because you wrote a plan doesn’t mean you’ll always follow it. Sometimes it just happens that you lose track of your best intentions. You must keep on track. That’s what your business plan is for. To direct you. To steer you along the most effective and positive course.
Tip #7: Focus on your strengths that make you different – Are you a people person? If so, you’ll want to have as much customer interaction as possible. You probably wouldn’t do well as a chef or a night watchman. Do you like working with your hands? Are you good at it? If so, then it can be the right move to consider starting your own contracting business, for example. Or you can think about opening a repair shop. Whatever you’re best at. That’s the area you’ll prosper in.
Tip #8: Always remember to obtain an experienced person’s opinion just to be sure – When you’re sick and your primary care physician doesn’t satisfy you, what do you do? You get a second opinion. Remember that your overall business plan is really nothing more than your knowledge combined with your own opinion. Yes, you should believe in yourself. But you need to bounce off feedback first. A veteran in your chosen business can always see more clearly than you because you’re too close to the situation. Two heads, right?
About the Author
David is co-founder at one of Australia’s leading credit card comparison websites where he reviews a range of business credit cards with rewards.