We can all get a little overly excited when we know we are ready to become entrepreneurs. It’s easy to rush in and just start a business without, first, planning properly.
After I rebounded from my first few failed business ideas, I went back to square one and realized that it wasn’t necessarily the ideas that were bad. Instead the culprit was my lack of proper planning. I essentially failed before I had even begun.
Valuable Startup Lessons
Right after graduating from college with a B.A. in Communications, and a concentration in public relations, I decided to start a PR firm. I figured since I had just spent four years learning about PR, I was ready.
I launched a company website, purchased business cards and started marketing my services. Simple, right? Within three months I had landed two really great clients, but I was having a difficult time marketing my PR services. I also did not identify a niche within PR (i.e. entertainment, beauty, lifestyle, athletics, politics, B2B, etc.).
I didn’t do enough research prior to starting out. The result was this: I had to take a lot of time that should have been focused on growing my business and catering to clients, and instead spend that time defining my business model and working on my marketing plan to target the right clients.
I learned a lot of valuable startup lessons that truly helped me as I started by next venture, DOMinateBIZ, a business coaching firm. With proper planning right from the start, and the outline of a feasibility plan, I saw major growth immediately.
Don’t Wish, Plan Instead
So where do you start?
We all know that writing a business plan can be daunting. Gosh! Even a lean business plan is several pages worth of research, forecasts, hypotheses and data.
If you’re not at the point where you’re ready to sit down and crank out a full business plan, I suggest you start with a simple feasibility plan and then move to a business plan once you’ve established a product market fit; realizing you can really make money.
No one wants to put time and money into an idea only to realize it won’t bring home the bacon.
Why is a feasibility plan important?
A feasibility plan not only helps answer the question: “Is my business feasible, and will it work?”, but it will also determine whether your business idea is likely to succeed.
Ideally, this will allow you to flush through your business concept to determine its viability before spending a lot of time, resources and money on something that might not pan out. Essentially, it’s your big picture!
Key things to outline on your feasibility plan include, but is not limited to:
Define your business
Identify your target audience
Craft your marketing plan
Firm up a sales plan
Create profit & loss (P&L) projections
Determine your break-even point
Establish a legal entity and applicable licensing
After you’ve compiled your feasibility plan, and once you recognize your business concept is viable, elaborate on the above points above and you have a working and basic structure of your business plan.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Domonique Price is the founder and CEO of DOMinateBIZ, a Seattle based business coaching firm that provides new entrepreneurs with the tools they need to be successful in business. Connect with @MzDprice on Twitter.
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