Goals

Business Start-Up Checklist!

Starting your business is a busy time in any entrepreneur’s life. Critical steps can be easily overlooked until you are well into the process; to help budding entrepreneurs in getting their businesses set up efficiently, legally, and soundly, this is a checklist of primary steps that most businesses needs to include. Please keep in mind that everyone’s business is different, so not every single aspect may be used for each business.

This checklist assumes that you already have an idea for a business and are ready to make it real; given everything else is in place, here is a quick checklist of some of the basic areas you may need to cover before opening your business. 

Check it out, you never know what you need to start your business until you get to that project, and by time it may be too late, this is just to prepare you. All of my clients go this process, some more involved than others…it just depends on the nature of your business…

Business Start-Up Checklist

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Top Tips For Writing A Business Plan!

As we may all know, one of the most daunting aspects of starting your business is writing the infamous business plan. Althuogh it is a very important aspect for financing for your business, it doesn’t always have to be such a bad experience. Here are a few tips to help you get started, and on the right track!

1. Create a vision. It’s tempting to roll up your sleeves and plunge right into the details of your business: evaluating products, studying market segments, and sizing up your competition. Yet it’s possible to get so caught up in the process of planning a business that you lose sight of what you’re planning for.

Before you get lost in the details, take a step back. Outline a clear vision and a coherent set of values for your company. Develop a mission statement and use it to define short-term goals and priorities. Once you have a clear road map for your business, you can plan your journey with more confidence.

2. A budget isn’t the same thing as a plan. You can’t create a solid business plan without a budget and a financial forecast. But a budget should be the product of all the other elements in your plan. If you don’t have a clear picture of your industry, customers, competitors, and market conditions before you develop a budget, your numbers aren’t likely to reflect reality.

3. Don’t ignore your customers. This may sound obvious, but too many entrepreneurs assume they know exactly what their customers need without bothering to ask. Take the time to learn about your customers, and build your business plan around their needs and desires.

4. Don’t shortchange the competition. If you assume your firm will be the only game in town or if you fail to take existing competitors seriously, you’re asking for trouble. Your competitors can be a great source of information about what works and what doesn’t.

5. Be prepared to take risks. Creating a business plan isn’t about avoiding risk; it’s about understanding and managing risk. That’s why a good business plan anticipates possible challenges and includes a variety of scenarios for meeting those challenges. There’s a difference between a calculated risk and recklessness, and your plan can help you make that distinction.

6. Get a second (or third) opinion. The most experienced entrepreneur can still benefit from a different point of view. Even if you’re the only person involved in your business, find someone who can study your plan objectively and point out possible weaknesses you might have missed.

7. Expect the unexpected. Every business plan needs some wiggle room to allow for unexpected changes. Part of this involves creating budgets and marketing plans with some built-in flexibility; but adapting to change also requires you to accept that you might have to modify or even abandon business practices that worked well in the past.

8. Don’t forget what makes you unique. A cookie-cutter business plan might help you get started, but it won’t help you succeed. And while it helps to look at your competitors, don’t model your business after them. After all, you’re in business to beat the competition. Learn from your competitors’ strengths, but also learn how to spot their weaknesses and use them to improve your own business plan.

9. What’s the point? Building a business involves hard work and struggle. But it should also include a clear set of rewards, both for you and your employees. When you set goals in your business plan, include some concrete motivation that goes beyond the satisfaction of a job well done.

10. Don’t skip the plan! Of course, the biggest mistake of all is failing to create a business plan in the first place. Planning is hard work, and there’s no guarantee it will make your business succeed. But a good plan is still the best way to turn your vision into a realistic, coherent business.


Meet Your Mentor!

When you decide to go into business for yourself, chances are you may not have experienced certain situations as opposed to someone who has “been there…done that…” Nonetheless, it makes your journey to starting your own business that much easier. When I first started out, my focus was real estate. I had a great mentor who was literally there with me through EVERY step of the way. He advised me to great lawyers, books, different strategies, as well as marketing. I literally don’t know where I’d be without him. I really couldn’t imagine not having a mentor, or someone who knows the ropes.
Regardless of what you want to do, a mentor is KEY; it’s very crucial, because it saves you time and energy so you don;t make a lot of the same mistakes as your mentor did.
When chosing a mentor, be sure it’s someone you can trust!
LOOK FAR AND WIDE
When looking for a mentor, first go to someone you know and trust, such as a professor, local entrepreneur, industry expert or former employer. Then expand your network. Mine for contacts on LinkedIn, through alumni associations, at trade association meetings and small-business development centers and through the Entrepreneur Mentor Society. These are all great ways to connect to potential mentors.
LISTEN UP
An hour with a good mentor can be more valuable–and much less expensive–than an entire business course. Mentors have real-world experience, understand your needs and want to help you avoid the pitfalls they’ve already encountered. They also have access to people and resources you don’t have.
MAXIMIZE THE RELATIONSHIP
To make the most of the mentor experience, clearly outline your expectations and schedule regular meetings with your mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And be open-minded, because a good mentor will be critical.
PROTECT YOUR INTERESTS
If you don’t feel comfortable with your mentor, find a new one. Otherwise, you’ll be hesitant to share information. Regardless of your comfort level, make sure to protect any trade secrets before discussing plans with your mentor.
GIVE BACK
When you feel you’ve achieved a level of experience that will allow you to mentor someone else, connect with trade groups, small-business development centers and universities. These groups may not have mentorship programs, but they will know entrepreneurs looking for mentors. The experience will help you, too.