5 Step Business Start®
The foundation of our system is its logical progression. Each step builds on the previous step. Starting a business is like putting together a jig-saw puzzle. Imagine how easier assembling that puzzle would be if the pieces were numbered.
The Core Modules of the System
Step 1: Define It
The universal assumption when starting a business is “write a business plan”. While creating a business plan is important, it is only one step in the process. What I have experienced working with new business owners is their first attempt to write the traditional business plan is more of an academic exercise instead of a description of what they actually plan to in their business.
In most instances prospective business owners are more concerned with following a defined structure; including volumes of content regardless of its relevance to their business idea; creating charts and graphs for esthetic purposes, and presenting a financial case to impress others. They do not connect the plan with what they actually plan to do.
As a result of this approach to planning, the majority of prospective business owners:
- Don’t understand what’s important to make their business work,
- Or… how to use information in their plan to make decisions,
- Or… understand what to do or in what order.
Being connected to what you plan to do, knowing how to make decisions and doing things in the right order are essential to a successful business startup.
Step #2: Research It
There are hundreds of good books on conducting industry and market research for business planning. I have read many of them as well as many current articles, watched videos and attended presentations on the topic. In many instances, these resources inform the reader of what information to include in the plan, but they do not explain how to use the information or how it relates to your business idea.
As a result, the task of conducting research by new business owners is merely a “required textbook exercise” that ends up not having any connection with what the business owner plans or needs to do. This is contrary to the role of industry and market research when starting your business. Industry and market research should:
- Guide your decision making
- Inform you of what to do
- Identify the opportunities that exist in the market
- Help you strategize to beat the competition
- Equip you with factual financial data that help you make realistic financial projections and decisions
Step #3: Plan It
The plan should provide you direction as to what activities, financial resources, expertise, and responsibilities are required to make the business work.
With this information, you will determine whether the business idea is feasible and whether you have the resources, time, and drive to put forth the effort to start the business.
In Step 3 you will develop the three elements of your business plan:
- Marketing Plan
- Operations Plan
- Financial Plan
Step # 4: Stage It
At this point, you have defined your idea in business terms, vetted the idea to determine “if it is what you think it is” by doing some research/fact-finding, and made adjustments to the idea that reflects what you have learned from the research. Furthermore, you have documented your plan in three categories: marketing, operations, and financial management. You also have analyzed and critiqued the plan’s strategy and received objective feedback from knowledgeable advisers. The next step in starting your business is “Stage It.”
In this step, you will begin to put in place the required elements to establish the business. These elements include items such as:
- Identify and secure finances
- Identify a location
- Create branding strategy
- Secure marketing resources (business cards, website, brochures, etc.)
- Establish legal structure
- State and local registration
- Trademarks and copyrights
- Bank accounts, insurance
The most important item is identifying and securing the finances, so let’s start here.
Step #5: Start It
- Define It
- Research It
- Plan It
- Stage It
- Now, Start It!
Once you’ve completed the “5 Steps“, your business idea will be focused and well defined.
Your research has made you more knowledgeable about the business niche you have chosen and it will provide you with the insight to make smart, informed decisions.
You have developed a plan that is guided by facts, comprised of strategies that leverage the advantages your business offers and constructed a financial picture that is based on realistic assumptions.
Finances, business location, licenses, equipment, etc. have been obtained. Now it’s time to do what a business does, serve its customers.
Everything on how to start a business from loans, finance, marketing, and growing a small business.
Business partners often start businesses together with little planning and few ground rules. Sooner or later, they discover the hard way that what’s left unsaid or …