Business Startup Key to Success #1 Planning
The first of the three keys to business success is Planning This does not mean throwing together a basic business plan using ready-made templates, or crafting a paragraph that says all the right things filled with industry jargonThe first of the three keys to business success is Planning. This does not mean throwing together a basic business plan using ready-made templates, or crafting a paragraph that says all the right things filled with industry jargon. Actually planning your business entails delving into the details of every aspect, from legal compliance to marketing to operations. Planning is not just a requirement for start up, but should be an integral part of business management.
Obviously, start up planning is critical. A good plan will create a road map for starting and running your business. You will be knowledgeable about every aspect of your venture and comfortable making the best decisions at the right time. For every area of your business, you will be familiar with the options and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Whether you ultimately decide to outsource or delegate certain functions, such as bookkeeping, marketing, or other non-core competencies, you will have a solid understanding of the outcomes you expect.
In addition, good planning will alert you to potential opportunities and threats to your business idea and get you thinking about different ways to handle them. If a marketing effort isn?t working, you will have several backup options ready to go. If the market demand changes, whether increasing or decreasing the desire for your product, you will be ready to respond such that your business experiences limited growing pains or is able to change direction quickly. With this sort of in-depth picture of your business, your risk is greatly reduced and there will be few surprises as you build your business. You?ll be the entrepreneurial version of a boy scout -- always prepared.
The need for good planning doesn?t stop once your venture is up and running. Ongoing planning for growth and preparation for changes is essential, especially in today?s marketplace. It is best to establish the habit of continuous planning early in the life of your business. At least every 90 days, schedule time to review how the business is doing and develop objectives for improving profitability and the efficiency of your operations processes. Even businesses that are booming can make improvements by streamlining processes, improving inventory management, motivating employees and in many other areas.
Large, established corporations conduct strategic planning sessions as a matter of course, but are not always successful implementing their objectives through the layers of bureaucracy. As your business grows, include your key employees in your planning processes. Encourage your staff to contribute ideas for dealing with opportunities and threats. Keep an eye on your industry, and be prepared for the inevitable changes. Develop clear objectives that can be measured, and evaluate the progress frequently.
To make good planning an inherent part of your company?s culture over the long term, develop good habits now. Schedule time to set objectives for yourself and hold yourself accountable for meeting them. The way you do business now will be the foundation for the culture your company develops, so be attentive to the standards you set for yourself and plan now with the future of your business in mind.
The three keys to success -- planning, marketing, and financial management -- are true for any type of business. Begin your business development with these principles in mind and arm yourself with all the tools you need to effectively plan, market, and manage the finances of your start up. Before you know it, your venture will be up, running and making money!
K. MacKillop, a serial entrepreneur with a J.D. from Duke, is co-founder of LaunchX LLC and authors a small business startup blog. The LaunchX System, a five Unit series of step-by-step business startup procedures, key software and more, assists entrepreneurs in developing a business idea into a successful company. Visit LaunchX.com and get on the road to business startup today.