Don’t believe all you read
There is a better way to start up success than the business planning process.
A lot of the same ‘must dos’, processes, are quoted by entrepreneurship academics, management gurus, glampreneurs and politicians as being needed for you to start and run your own business successfully. Training and supporting prospective entrepreneurs to do this entrepreneurial stuff is a $multi-billion worldwide industry. Governments, for political gain, waste $billions of taxpayers’ money funding this business learning and support industry.
Unfortunately, most learning and support concentrates on speed learning of what being in your own business is all about. Warning: successfully starting and running your own business is not about ‘business studies’.
The usual process involves the prospective business owner being supported in some programme, by a mentor, coach, adviser or trainer to come up with a viable business idea, produce a business plan and use the plan to get a loan or outside investor for the new business. Comment:Why on earth new business owners that have started their own business in order to control their own destiny want to be encumbered by outside investors and lenders is beyond me – but granted some do. I prefer bootstrapping
Walking with the Entrepreneurs
I’ve been fortunate in the 25 years of starting and running my own businesses to work with hundreds of successful entrepreneurs, some famous, and this isn’t what most of them did to start their business and this planning process isn’t the reason any of them succeeded. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen just as many that have followed this process and produced fine looking business plans that have struggled to survive.
The great news is that I firmly believe that anyone, from any background, with little money but with really hard work and, yes, really fast learning, can succeed in their own business. However, the secret of your new business success will be about what you learn from people that can give you the ‘your own biz know-how’ and ‘your own biz know-who’ that you can trust in.
No, I’m not going to recommend that you get allocated a mentor by any of the bank, large company and government schemes around. There aren’t many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs that would ever have taken the risk of being ‘allocated’ a mentor in order to get a loan. I’m not going to recommend that your starting point is locking yourself in a room with anyone to start business planning. What I am going to recommend is a tip that is equally as useful for start ups as for existing business owners looking to start a new enterprise or develop a new product or service or income stream.
So what is my tip – the first step?
What I want you to do is make a list of all the people, you might not have even met them all yet, that could give you the ‘know-how’ and ‘know-who’ to test out your business idea and how to sell, produce and deliver your products and services in the volume you need at the best possible margin with a strong positive cash flow to allow you to keep growing and earn your living.
It’s likely that it’ll be a short people list at the beginning but will grow as you find out from each of these people who else you could contact. Testing ideas, products, services, opportunities and learning from them is more important than planning. Always test before investing or borrowing.
You should test with people – people who are doing something similar, people who might buy from you/prospective customers, people who might supply you; people who might recommend you; people who understand the technology/mechanics/expertise in your product and service; people who are small and micro business owners that have succeeded – using know-how that you’ll need too; people that are professionals in areas you’re not – an accountant is the most obvious choice, people that can make the most of your available time – particularly to maximise your marketing and selling time – virtual assistants and cloud software services, like WinWeb, are great here.
These people are all over the world and contactable online and offline-enterprise has no boundaries. Don’t believe that enterprise is all about innovation-copy what works.
The bonus ball is … rocking
Of course you need a business plan, a business model and a cash-flow forecast but all the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve met have learned so quickly from people, then trial and error, that they carry around all the detail they need of how to succeed in their heads.
If something’s not working they then move on, test out their ideas and start again. They work very, very hard at getting things as right as they can. They know where they’re going, how they’re going to get there and their products and services inside out. They are, usually, the very best person to market, sell and do the deals that build their business.
If you do your people list and start making contact I’ll bet you (one of my Hull City football programmes) that you find yourself the mentors that will help you through the rest of your successful own business career.
One of the reasons we’ve set up the free to join, global community of micro enterprise owners that is the Enterprise Rockers is that we know we can help each other to survive and thrive. Join our band and put together your people list. Start getting some people power behind your business.