Special thanks to Kimberly Reid, of the “Connect with Kimberly Reid” Radio Show (listen live). Kimberly’s radio show focuses Monday through Friday on Relationships, life balance, wellness, money/career, and spirit.
She very kindly had me on to talk about action items for entrepreneurs and business owners. (Listen to the show).
I very much enjoyed our interview and hope my suggestions were useful for entrepreneurs and business owners.
Here is the list of action items I went through, a few great book recommendations, and a few related hyperlinks for business owners, entrepreneurs and those who aspire to be.
1. Know your business – Draft a professional, full and complete Business Plan
What is your business? Specifically – can you describe it in a 30 second elevator speach?
What is your product, and why are you different from / better than what is already out there?
How will you stand out from what is already out there?
Who is your client?
How will you get to her?
How will she know about / get to you?
You can’t be vague. You can’t be “hopeful” – You must KNOW!
Identify: Expected (and realistic) costs, expected (and realistic) revenues, projected growth – from day 1 to 5 years out.
Will anything change within the : week, month, year?
How will you price your service/ product? Break it down into individual parts – costs? Profits?
Competitors? Can your competitors respond to your model – and hurt you?
Blockbuster versus Netflix !! When Netflix first launched, Blockbuster laughed at the business model. Now years later, Blockbuster is in bankruptcy and Netflix is thriving and beginning to move into original content. But had Blockbuster focused on Netflix early on, it could have crushed Netflix at their own business model. Still the competition, or potential competition must be considered in forming your business plan.
No competitors? Why Not? Either you’re a genius or there isn’t an OBVIOUS need or demand.
If you do everything according to your plan – WILL YOU MAKE A PROFIT ??
PROVE IT – on paper.
EXIT – What is your exit strategy – whether you’re fantastically successful or not – what’s your exit strategy? Sell? When? How will you get there – map it out. Retire there? When? What growth has happened until then – map it out.
2. Start Forming Your Team !
Analyze your weaknesses. You’ll need to supplement with the skill sets of others to compensate. But ignore your weaknesses at your peril.
What are your strengths? Play to those.
Your team may include:
Business Lawyer (like yours truly)
Shipping & Delivery relationships
- domestic versus overseas
Designer / engineers
Consumable suppliers – paper goods, etc.
There’s a ton of homework to be done on each of these areas, so start much earlier then you think you need to. The more you research, the more you will learn. You will find competitive advantages and learn of new obstacles. The earlier you find these the better!
3. Strategize the Name
Research for same / similar names –
Secretary of State
U.S. Trademark Office
Think 6 months into your business – will this name still be relevant? One year? Six years?
Think “evolution” of your business model – will this name and branding still work, or will you have to “reinvent” for the evolved business.
Reinvention – restarting requires resources, time, energy, distraction – try to get it right the first time.
4. Register the Name
- Domain Name
- Secretary of State’s Office
- U.S. Trademark Office
**Don’t use the name until you know it’s clear AND you’ve claimed it as your own!
Liability protection – an LLC or Corporate entity is absolutely necessary for a myriad of reasons.
Entity through which you do business.
Contracts will be in the name of the LLC or Corporate entity.
Hiring and Firing will be done by the LLC or Corporate entity, not you personally.
6. Scout your location
Consider the balance of expense v. location. Out of the way = cheaper >>> but also means less visible. How does that affect your customer/client flow.
7. Get necessary Insurance(s).
8. Market Yourself ! And your business.
Business Cards – Don’t Leave Home without them
Social Media – never before have you been able to do so much FOR FREE !!
Networking – IT’S NOT AN EVENT ACROSS TOWN. IT’S EVERY DAY, 24 -7.
Get a Contact Management System – it may be as simple as the free Google Contacts tool. But whatever you use should assist you in collecting important contacts, and aide you in following up with people you’ve met. Especially with people with whom you’ve had a connection.
8. Transition from “Founder” to “Owner” – “Manager”
Doing it all yourself may have gotten you where you are, but as your business grows you will have to delegate more to others. At a certain point doing it all yourself will hold your business back, rather than propel it forward.
Prepare for the transition from “Founder” to “Owner-Manager.”
- hire passionate people
- design the business’ culture so it focuses on the things that made you successful (See “Delivering Happiness,” noted below).
BEST OF LUCK WITH ALL YOUR ENDEAVORS!
Linchpin, by Seth Godin (ON BEING INDESPENSABLE)
Make a Name for Yourself: 8 Steps Every Woman Needs to Create a Personal Brand Strategy for Success, Robin Fisher Roffer
Drive, Daniel Pink (ON MOTIVATION – OF YOURSELF AND OTHERS)
Value-Based Fees, Alan Weiss
Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh (DEDICATION – PERSERVERANCE)
MISCELLANEOUS – The Four Hour Workweek, Timothy Ferris (take what is applicable and useful)
- Analysis of a Business Plan (thinkup.waldenu.edu)
- How Netflix Bankrupted And Destroyed Blockbuster [INFOGRAPHIC] (NFLX) (businessinsider.com)