Posts Tagged ‘business plan’

Your Business Pitch

March 13th, 2018

Pitch it!  Passion is you Business’ Power to Grow, even in hard times

“Don’t ever Give up!”

 

Toss your ideas to the wind and see what happens!

Recently I met up with an entrepreneur friend who has had her ups and downs since starting her business in Switzerland a few years ago; but she continues to follow her dream.

“Don’t ever give up, just keep pushing towards your goal.  There will be a break through; you will see the signs and then you just head towards those little lights.”  She is right about following her dream, and her passion is the energy that gives her the perseverance needed to reach her goals.

When I think of startups and all the people who have managed to bring their ideas to fruition, I think of people who are passionate about the felt need that made way for their product, passionate about their clients and customers who will enjoy that product, and about their passion regarding their stakeholders who will also benefit from the product.

These entrepreneurs are really on fire about what they are doing; they really have a dream.  Here are some of my ideas about passion and how to use it for your advantage when making a pitch.

What and how to pitch?

What’s in a short pitch?

The problem, your solution to it, and why you’re the one to do this.

For a longer pitch add

The facts (what you know about the market, the problem, the potential customers- eg a business plan in the making)

A short-term plan with milestones and a long-term vision

A Tip

Be humble (after all, you’re just starting up)- you want people to like your idea, but it’s you they will buy

When the hard times come your passion will recharge you

Even with your passionate “elevator pitch”, there will often be days where the “no”s come.  The passion that you have about your product and how (and why) it is fantastic is your energy supply when you have hard days.  You must take it for granted that there will be hard days, but what keeps you, the start-up entrepreneur, going will be the energy found in the passion for your business idea, for your product.  You should use that energy for the hard days so that you can reach the day when the ball gets rolling and the profits start coming in.  Then there will be reserve energy and you can use that extra energy for another new idea to move you upward and onward without too much waste as you will be already moving instead of starting from zero.  There will be less resistance to movement, then.

Your passion will be what separates you from the “crowd”

In some cases, there may be others doing the same thing as you do.  But your passion about your product might be the key to setting you apart from all the others.  If you shine when it comes to passion and, of course, produce a great quality product, you will stand out, even if there are a hundred – or a thousand – doing just the same thing as you.  You will find that people notice how you talk about what you do, and they will be happy to try your product.

Your business idea doesn’t have to be original to be passionate about it.  I have a niece living in Oregon who owns her own bookkeeping company.  She works hard and is very passionate about what she does, and she is proud of her quality services to her clients.  Because of this passion, and because she is very competent, she is excelling and business is booming.  Passion is vital for a start-up and that pitch you are working on.

So, what wakes you up in the morning and gets you out of bed?  Use that energy to talk about your idea.

Have a great rest of the week!

Patricia Jehle

ps: For those of you interested in what I do, I am a business coach focusing on managers, CEOs, leadership, SMEs and Startups, but also on expat coaching.  I have added OQM® (Organic Quality Management) Consulting to my pallet and would love to talk to you about how OQM® or me coaching you can help you move onward and upward with your career, team, division and company.

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

www.jehle-coaching.com

blog: www.jehle-coachingexpat.com

How is your plan going?

February 27th, 2018

Plan for Success to plan your business

One of the situations that must be well planned for is, perhaps surprisingly, success and what the next steps will be when that Big Deal comes through.  Scenarios must be worked through and plans made ready to put into action.  If the Offer of a Lifetime comes and you can’t promise to fulfill it because you aren’t ready, all your time and money may be for naught.

 

Plan A B or C – multiple options will be necessary for success

  1. Be prepared for big success

The lesson here is: be prepared to become a big success and make sure you know what you are able to do if the BIG CHANCE comes your way. Make sure you are prepared with a “what if” plan. But don’t have just one; make a few of those kinds of plans, because there will be surprises. Try and be prepared with – and for- various success scenarios.  Do you need access to more production space?  Do you need more people?  Do you need quick response to basic material orders?

  1. But you won’t be able to foresee everything, good or bad.

What is key is that no matter what, something you haven’t thought of will probably happen. Be prepared to change your strategy or your production or whatever in the middle of everything, because you will have to change, and maybe you will have to change fairly often. If you don’t change, you will not survive. Period.

Bob the cat

Here is a funny example:  right now, it’s unseasonably cold outside and our cat, Bob, has been bringing his prey to play with (and eventually eat).  After all, it’s cold outside, so he heads to his owner’s bedroom to do his dirty work.  Luckily, I am not considered his owner.  But my son, is at this very moment trying to find a way to get the trapped mouse out of his bedroom and into nature before everything becomes bloody.  This is a new, and hopefully temporary phenomenon, but until the weather warms up, it is most likely going to happen on a daily basis.  After all, we live in the countryside.  So, we need a plan for tomorrow.  Suggestions are welcome.

  1. Know that there will be losses: Loss happens, so plan for that, too

Even with all the precautions and learning, loss still happens.  I also have discovered that the rabbits can die an untimely death, even if all the health and safety suggestions are followed. Loss happens.

Although you might be very flexible and can tolerate making numerous changes in the midst of the business action, there will still be losses. There are the expected losses but then there are the unexpected ones, too.  In any business losses must expected and be paid for, somehow.

This goes especially for startups.  You need to plan your startup business so that the losses, especially in the first few years, are covered financially, if at all possible. Many people say that if you quit your job to start up a business, you should be able to cover six to twelve months of working before making any income.  The potential losses will also have to be included in this calculation.

In fact, with some ventures, it may take years to break even. Losses are part of start-ups, just as much as any other business. That’s why so many of us start up our business while still working at another job; or we have spouses (or other family) who can be our “angels”; or we have saved and our substantial personal savings is then invested in the business.

But in the end though, there will be no profits if you don’t market your product.  Sales are what saves the business.  Getting sales is the key to success.

  1. Marketing will forever remain “the issue” -, even if it‘s not “in your DNA”

In my own coaching business I have learned to sell the outcomes of my services.  This is necessary for my business.  Also, I am not afraid of asking people if they need some coaching.  The fear of getting a “no” and the fear of new things is something I have  had to overcome.

So, what do you need to overcome to reach success?  Where do you need to grow?  What do you need to prepare?  What plan do you need to make?

Have a great week! I wish you much success!

 

Patricia Jehle     patricia@jehle-coaching.com     www.jehle-coaching.com

 

You need a “why” that keeps you going

May 15th, 2017

 

You need a passionate “why”

Passion is Perseverance’s Power

A while ago I met up with an entrepreneur friend who has had her ups and downs since starting her business in Switzerland two years ago; but she continues to follow her dream. “Don’t ever give up, just keep pushing towards your goal. There will be a break through; you will see the signs and just head towards those little lights.” My friend is right about following her dream, but it is her passion is the energy that gives her the perseverance needed to reach her goals.

When I think of start-ups and the people who have managed to bring their ideas to fruition, I think of people who are passionate about their product, passionate about their clients and customers who will enjoy that product, and about their passion regarding their stakeholders who will also benefit from the product. These entrepreneurs are really excited about what they are doing; they really have a dream. Here are some of my ideas about passion and how to use it for your advantage when starting a business.

Be passionate about your product and know how it helps potential customers and clients, as well as stakeholders.

When writing your business plan, ask yourself if your product really speaks to you as someone who might be an investor or stakeholder. How excited are you about it, because if you are not energized, how are you going to get potential investors and stakeholders excited? How is this product special and why are you the one that is the best person to do it? Finally, an you tell someone about your product in a way that is clear and really gets that person excited, too? Can you create a buzz about it? This is your famous “why” that will keep you going in the right direction with the energy to continue.

 

When the hard times come your passion will be your battery

Even with a passionate “elevator pitch”, there will be days where the “no” comes, maybe multiple times. The passion that you have about your product and how (and why) it is fantastic is your needed battery supply when you have those hard days. And you can take it for granted that there will be hard days. But what keeps the start-up entrepreneur going will be the energy found in the passion for the business idea, for the product. Use that energy for the hard days so that you have a surplus of energy when the ball gets rolling and the profits come in. Then that extra energy can be used for a new idea to move you upward and onward without too much extra energy wasted. You will be already moving instead of starting from zero.

 

Your passion might just be what separates you from all the others

Finally, in some cases, there may be others doing the same thing as you do, even many others. But your passion about your product might be the key to setting you apart from all the others. If you shine when it comes to passion and produce a great quality product, you will stand out, even if there are a hundred – or a thousand – doing just the same thing as you. You will find that people notice how you talk about what you do, and they will be happy to try your product. Your business idea doesn’t have to be very original to be passionate about it. I have a niece who owns her own bookkeeping company. She works hard and is very passionate, and proud, of her quality services to her clients. Because of this passion, and because she is very competent, she is excelling and business is booming. Passion is vital for a start-up and for any business owner/entrepreneur.

You “why” is key to success

Have a passionate week! Know your why!

Patricia Jehle

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

www.jehle-coaching.com

Check your idea

November 14th, 2016

 

Scaling Lean

amleancanvas

 

A week ago I had the opportunity to go hear Ash Mauyra (AM) speak on scaling businesses and trying out new business ideas. I have had a week to digest his talk and have read some of his new book, Scaling Lean, so I have some questions for you if you are working on new – or old – business ideas, especially with respect to marketing and getting those customers. Much of this blog is based on his talk and on the book. The quotes are from his book.

 

Who are your key customers and which of their problems do you plan to solve? Are those problems painful enough for them to want them solved? What are they already spending on that pain?

 

That pain is your gold mine, but you have to remember that for your potential customer to spend on your solution they have to give up something else, and the question is not whether your solution is better than that of the competitive solutions, but that the customer thinks it’s a better solution. Thus, you have to love (and live) that pain more than your solution. With that your solution can get tested on customer validation.

 

What is your MVP?

By that I don’t mean most valuable player, but the minimum viable product, in other words, what is your lowest amount of sales your company can live with in a period of time.

 

How are you creating your marketing experiments?

How can you shorten your feedback loop to find out where your customers are buying and most importantly, why? Are you looking at the correct numbers to keep those customers coming? Do not fixate on a fictitious/unrealistic business plan – remember that according to AM, “traditional measures of progress are unhelpful” because in start-ups:

 

  1. “Because revenue is near zero during the early stages, we settle for building velocity as a measure of progress. But measuring progress as execution of untested plan is no better.

 

  1. Investing heavily in quantitative metrics doesn’t automatically give you solutions. Metrics can only tell you what’s going wrong, not why. The more you invest in quantitative metrics, the more you end up drowning in a seat of non-actionable data.

 

  1. Even when you are generating revenue, unless you can connect cause and effect, you can’t leverage the elements that are bring you success, and you can easily be led down the wrong path.”

 

The AM Solution: GOLEAN: Goal, Observe and Orient, Learn-Leverage-Lift, Experiment, Analyze and , Next Actions

 

Think and act like a scientist- they do not run experiments, but create models (and check them with experiments). The key idea is that there needs to be one single measure of progress for all people involved, for the entrepreneurs and business leaders and the stakeholders, and that is GOLEAN.

 

The model has three parts: Defining progress (set your Goal), prioritizing waste (Observe and Orient) , and achieving breakthrough (Learn-Leverage-Lift, Experiment, Analyze, and Next steps) .

 

 

But remember, “No methodology can guarantee success. But a good methodology can provide a feedback loop for continual improvement and learning.”

 

Part of the solution is lies in trying to avoid our “innovator’s bias”, the bias that knows our idea is the best. Your potential customer and your investors may not believe that, and more importantly, they don’t necessarily care about your solution. They have a different perspective, which is usually for the customer found in their problem(s).

 

What your potential investors want to know is what the market opportunity is (how big is the market). They want to know how you will generate revenue and what your margins are. Finally, they will want to know how you will keep your competitive edge. Are you a blue ocean kind of idea? Do you have patent(s) pending? Is there a secret sauce that can’t be easily discovered?

 

So, what is your metric for indicating reliable (and not fake or vanity) measurement? How do you create, deliver and capture value? What is your unique value proposition (value creation)? What is your cost structure (value delivery)? And, what are your revenue streams (where you capture your value for the company)?

 

And the (AM) value creation formula looks like this:

 

Created Value > Captured Value > = Cost (Value Delivery)

 

In the end, the issue is generating revenues and as Ash Maurya says, “There is no business in your business model without revenue.” The idea is to maximize the difference between the value captured and the cost of delivering the value (your margins). But even not-for-profits have a need for revenue, although their model aims to keep the difference between those two (cost and value) as close to zero as possible.

 

Final questions

 

What is your product value? What does it cost you to deliver this value? How much do you receive for that delivery and does it reach your MVP goals?

 

Maybe I will blog next about traction and how you get customers, but for today, this is enough.

 

Have a very successful week!

 

8 start-up suggestions

October 17th, 2016

Starting a company: 8 suggestions and some Questions

  1. Begin only if you are passionate about your idea

You have to be more passionate about your idea than about earning money with it, otherwise you will not last the first few years of little or no growth. A client of mine is waiting for his website to go on-line so he can start and it’s already been six months of waiting for him. But he is passionate about his idea(s) and he will go the distance if he continues in the way he ha begun.

2. Check your idea for viability, for feasibility, for financial growth and tweak accordingly

Is there a market for this idea/product? Will it generate enough income at a price that is reasonable for the target niche? Is the niche big enough to support your product idea in the long term, or is this a fad, which you will have to tweak or even give up in a year or two. Remember it may take up to two years to generate “real” money.

ALSO:  Do you plan to do this full-time? If so, how will you live until you start earning money. In other words, what is your budget and financial plan?

  1. Let others help you, and take advice; but leave naysayers out of the picture, at least until you have earned your first million-

You will have lots of people trying to tell you what to do and eventually some will give you wise advice. Ask for advice, but from those who are doing something like this- either on a small, or on a big scale. Ask for mentors from people who, as Brené Brown says, are “in that arena” too.

  1. Get a coach

For most cases, you will need an independent, non-involved party that will ask you good questions (and that is what coaches do, ask questions so you can reflect on your choices and decisions).  You will need this kind of help; trust me.

  1. Build in time for recreation every day and every week and every quarter, because burnout is easy to catch-

Burnout may even be the reason for you starting your own enterprise. The temptation is to focus so much on your idea that you don’t think about yourself, your key relationships and then you start to suffer. Build in time for self-care, for a healthy physical and relational life and your start-up will last past the beginning stages.

  1. Don’t give up; in fact, have a plan for if you feel like giving up-

Ask yourself, when things get tough, what am I going to do. Ask, when I am running out of money to grow, what will I do. Ask when I am tired and don’t feel like I can go on, what am I going to do.

Remember:

And then remember those first days and the passion. Remember the joy of starting and of that first sale. Remember the advice you have received from good mentors. Then take a (short) break, tweak, and carry one! Don’t give up!

 

  1. When it is time, on-board a team, first an outsourced on, and when ready, a salaried team

It could be that your idea is a solo-preneur idea, but you are going to need people to call on for support and help, people you can also recommend to others when they need help: a web-person, an accountant (or at least software), possibly a lawyer, people who do things that help your business and are not in direct competition with you. For example, a client who is an interior designer, may want someone specializing in furniture building or interior sewing to be on the team.

Eventually, if your company is meant to have employees, you need to pick them well. Depending on if you have a partner or not, depends on the company structure. For example, one partner is the CEO and the other the CFO. I have seen this particular situation relatively often. If you are alone, one of the first people to on-board should be a CFO-type person. Money is not everything, but in a company, it is very important to watch all the numbers. Then there are the marketing and sales types, the technology types (both for running and for growth-development, depending on the kind of idea you have), logistics/operations, and strategy. In the beginning, people may wear quite a few hats, but as your company grows, the person will, hopefully have fewer and be able to focus on their strengths.

Allow your team to help you grow your company

Leadership is key and so is delegation and respect. You need to create a culture of positive growth and listening to you main team’s ideas and suggestions. Remember, if you want to grow you will need help. Let your team do that for you!

 

  1. Dream big. Think about the future of your company and your life-

Once you are on your way, you should continue to dream. What are your three, five, ten-year plans? What is next? And after that? This might be where a coach comes in, again, to help you broaden your horizons. Finally, here are a few more questions for you to chew on:

Is your idea reproducible? Franchise-able? What does the long term look like?

Do you plan to sell your company? If so, when?

–I wish you much success!

This is the preface to my upcoming book: “Swiss start-up: What do you need to know and do.” Look for it soon!

 — and should you want to visit my site: www.jehle-coaching.com –Or join my group on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7041402

Patricia Jehle

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

Unknown

 

 

 

 

Having a Pre-mortem

February 16th, 2016

Previewing a funeral

 

I learned something new this week: it’s called a pre-mortem or prospective hindsight. The idea is to see something in the future, a project, a business idea, a relationship, … and then think about think about two things. In two years’ time what might have caused the demise of the, let’s say business idea, to fail and what might have cause it to succeed. Put a team on each question and let them brainstorm. You can then report back to the whole group and hopefully find even more reasons for demise and/or success of the idea.

 

What the experts say: According to the Harvard Business Review, “Although many project teams engage in prelaunch risk analysis, the pre-mortem’s prospective hindsight approach offers benefits that other methods don’t. Indeed, the pre-mortem doesn’t just help teams to identify potential problems early on. It also reduces the kind of damn-the-torpedoes attitude often assumed by people who are overinvested in a project.” https://hbr.org/2007/09/performing-a-project-premortem

 

So how can you apply this in your life? Think of something new- a hobby, a project, a new job, whatever. Then sit down with a coach or a trusted friend and think about all the things that might cause this thing to fail. Write it down. Then talk about all the things that might cause the thing to succeed and write that down, too. Then pick a few things on each list to work on that seem like deal breakers.

 

So, you want to start a business. You have all the finances in place, the idea and business plan down and you want to “go public”. I suggest you do a pre-mortem first, and this time with a coach, not your spouse or best friend. You may find that it is too early to start, or you may find a serious flaw in your plan. Or you may find two or three things to focus on that will prevent your start-up from failing.

images

But you don’t want to start a business? You can still use this model for about anything new. Why not try it our now? I think I will tonight with a friend at work regarding a class we both teach.

 

Tell me if you tried it and tell me if it worked for you.

 

Patricia Jehle www.jehle-coaching.com

Decisions got you down?

November 3rd, 2015

Unknown

Just Decide

One of the hardest things for some people close to me is making that decision. It can be very wearing on a person and can even bring you down when you feel overloaded with decisions at work and at home. But making decisions can help you out, especially when It is foggy outside like it is here in Switzerland at the moment.

 

Decision-making can make you happy. It really can!

 

Time set aside for decisions

One of the biggest stresses in our lives is to not decide on something, to put it off. So, set aside dedicated time to decide, think and then just decide. Make that time, and you will be relieved, and satisfied.

 

Emotions set aside

Put that emotional side of yourself, including your ego, on the back burner when you decide so that your frontal lobe is working at its best.

 

“Imagine your business isn’t generating enough revenue to hit your target. What is the specific cause of this?

  • Do you have a positioning issue?
  • Is your pricing right?
  • Do your potential customers know your brand?
  • What can help you solve these problems?

You will make better decisions by focusing on the facts instead of personal deficiencies. If you need help with anything in your business, from marketing through to customer service, you have options.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexmcclafferty/2015/02/05/decision-making/

 

Get help

When you don’t have that expertise needed to make the decision, find someone who does and ask them. Also, a neutral party will keep your decision objective.

 

Check information and data

 

Remember that one person’s opinion is just that. It is not statistically sound to base a decision on a few people’s opinions. Make sure you have the right data, and it is really data.

 

What if?

Make sure you know what happens if: What happens if I do do this and what if I don’t do it? Also, what won’t happen if I do do this and what won’t happen if I don’t do this? What are all the underlying risks? Make sure you know what the worst case scenarios would be.

 

So, when you are finding yourself stressed, first think: do I have several decisions in front of me? If yes, set aside time, set aside emotions, get help if you need to, make sure your information is complete and correct, and walk through your worst-case scenarios. Finally, just make those decisions. Remember the adage: no decision is also a decision.

 

Then you will feel better about yourself, relieved from the pressure of those decisions weighing on your shoulders, and ready for a good hike up in the mountains, high above all this fog.

 

Tell me how your decision-making is going!

 

So thank you for reading this. Should you be interested, you can look at my website: www.jehle-coaching.com

the idea for the blog today came from:

http://www.businessinsider.com/a-neuroscience-researcher-reveals-4-rituals-that-will-make-you-a-happier-person-2015-9?IR=T

 

Good Choices and the Guts to Fulfill the Dream

June 24th, 2015

IMG_0592Last week I wrote about the honor I had of experiencing what it I like to leave a dangerous home and have the opportunity to start anew in a free country. This week I had the honor of sitting next to a new marine recruit on his way to boot camp. The similarities in choice, bravery and coping skills with the African man I met last week were uncanny.

 

Good Choices

 

The newcomer to the US was very clear about his reasons for coming to the States: it was life threatening in his country and anything that gave even a hint of opportunity for him, his wife and boys was better than being killed. Even though he was under no illusions regarding how tough the next years might be, he was ready to risk it for the sake of his family.

 

The new recruit has just finished high school and is aware of his abilities and needs. He wants to start a possible career with the marines, specifically with the military police. He hopes that after a 20-year career, he can then start a second career as a police officer, perhaps in Northern Minnesota. Because his high school time was successful but not stellar, the young man thought that this would be the best choice for him

 

Both these men’s choices were clearly thought out. They had a plan and they were following through with that plan. Neither of them were dreamers. They saw the situation, make a plan and then took the necessary action. Thus, they were on their way! But it took a lot of guts to move in that direction.

 

 

Bravery

 

Both men showed an amazing amount of bravery in their choices and in the actions to follow through with their plans.

 

The asylum seeker and his family left their home country, went first to Nairobi and then to Dar es Salaam looking for asylum and hoping to make it to a safe environment, a place where the children might have a chance to grow up and have a successful life. The adults knew it would be very hard, full of unknowns and major changes, but the thought of staying was too dangerous for them. So, they gathered all their courage and moved on.

 

This young recruit has never really been away from his family and the leave-taking has been hard for him. He knows that boot camp will be very tough, and that his future is uncertain. But he also sees the opportunities afforded him by entering the military. The USA is full of such honorable and earnest young people and I was truly amazed at the depth of his certitude that, despite the very scary possibilities, he is ready to take the chance and try something completely different from what he has experienced thus far. This man is also sure that there will be no easy route to a successful military career and he is ready and willing to put in all the hard work expected of him.

 

 

Coping Skills

 

Whether the young African father and the recruit will be able to cope with their future environments, only time will tell. But both showed a willingness to change and learn. Those kinds of skills are key to success in a new environment: willingness to change, and willingness to learn. We human beings have all needed these two abilities, topped with bravery and the ability to make wise choices to continue towards better futures. May it be so for us all, refugees, recruits, and the rest of us, today!

Passion is Perseverance’s Power

May 18th, 2015

PurposeRecently I met up with an entrepreneur friend who has had her ups and downs since starting her business in Switzerland two years ago; but she continues to follow her dream. “Don’t ever give up, just keep pushing towards your goal. There will be a break through; you will see the signs and just head towards those little lights.” She is right about following her dream, but her passion is the energy that gives her the perseverance needed to reach her goals.

 

When I think of start-ups and the people who have managed to bring their ideas to fruition, I think of people who are passionate about their product, passionate about their clients and customers who will enjoy that product, and about their passion regarding their stakeholders who will also benefit from the product. These entrepreneurs are really excited about what they are doing; they really have a dream. Here are some of my ideas about passion and how to use it for your advantage when starting a business.

 

Be passionate about your product and know how it helps potential customers and clients, as well as stakeholders.

 

When writing your business plan, ask yourself if your product really speaks to you as someone who might be an investor or stakeholder. How excited are you about it, because if you are not energized, how are you going to get potential investors and stakeholders excited? How is this product special and why are you the one that is the best person to do it? Finally, an you tell someone about your product in a way that is clear and really gets that person excited, too? Can you create a buzz about it?

 

When the hard times come your passion will be your battery

 

Even with a passionate “elevator pitch”, there will be days where the “no” comes, maybe multiple times. The passion that you have about your product and how (and why) it is fantastic is your battery supply when you will have hard days. And take it for granted that there will be hard days. But what keeps the start-up entrepreneur going will be the energy found in the passion for the business idea, for the product. Use that energy for the hard days so that you have a surplus of energy when the ball gets rolling and the profits come in. Then that extra energy can be used for a new idea to move you upward and onward without too much extra energy wasted. You will be already moving instead of starting from zero.

 

Your passion might just be what separates you from all the others

 

Finally, in some cases, there may be others doing the same thing as you do. But your passion about your product might be the key to setting you apart from all the others. If you shine when it comes to passion and produce a great quality product, you will stand out, even if there are a hundred – or a thousand – doing just the same thing as you. You will find that people notice how you talk about what you do, and they will be happy to try your product. Your business idea doesn’t have to be very original to be passionate about it. I have a niece who owns her own bookkeeping company. She works hard and is very passionate, and proud, of her quality services to her clients. Because of this passion, and because she is very competent, she is excelling and business is booming. Passion is vital for a start-up.

To (write) a (business) plan or not to… that is the question

April 6th, 2015

For those entrepreneurs like me who are starting up without any financial support from institutions or angels, a traditional business plan may not be the first thing one makes. But perhaps a more bare-bones model of a business plan might still be helpful. Below are a few reasons for minimalist plan:

 

1) Communication

 

We need to be able to communicate our business goals with all the stake-holders in our start-up. For me, that means my family, perhaps some of my friends and neighbors, and my work colleagues. I need to make sure that everyone involved or affected has an overview of what I plan to do with my enterprise.

 

Part of communication is being able to verbalize to first to yourself, then your stake-holders, and finally your potential clients what your core business is going to be. What do you want to do, for whom and with what? When you are able do this, you are well on your way on the path of success.

 

2) Goal setting

 

It is true that we all need goals and a plan helps to set and reach (SMART) goals so that each step in the start-up leads smoothly to the next. At the same time, when one does not have financial backing, one can go slowly enough to completely realize each step so that the next goal on the horizon can be successfully reached, as well. In this sense, I am more at ease to reach my goals well and not skip or skim over some essential steps.

 

Part of goal setting is to make an evaluation of the current situation and then go from there, one step at a time, taking the time to reflect after each success (or failure).

A plan can also keep you from putting the cart before the horse, making sire you are ready for the next step.

 

3) Making alliances, i.e., networking

 

If you have a business outline, you are better able to present your new endeavor in networking situations. If your core business, your elevator pitch, has been written down it does two things for you: it gives you that time in writing to think through your venture and to put it into concise words. It also gives you the words to tell someone else.

 

4) Marketing and getting those clients/customers

 

In the end, most entrepreneurs are starting a new venture to make some money. If you work through a plan well enough to be able to tell colleagues and stake-holders, you will also be able to communicate the plan to potential clients.

 

5) In the end it is your decision

 

Writing a more formal business plan is an individual decision, but an important one. However, whatever you plan regarding your financial support, it is advisable to make at least a sketched-out plan for your own mental clarity, goal setting, and for the sake of making yourself answer to that question, “So, what are you doing these days, anyway?”. When deciding whether to make a formal business plan or not, it is key to think of your own personal and financial situation and go from there. Of course, a business coach would be of great help in this process.