I recently wrote about what I thought were three very important ingredients that you require in order to start a business, being Time, Money and Personality. Now, here’s the next step towards building a successful enterprise.
Firstly, I’d like to be able to confidently state that you need to have a well thought and planned business plan, broken down into chapters, and how you’re not going to last in business without a tome such as this, etc, but to tell you the truth, I never wrote a business plan down on paper, however I always had a clear idea about two things; what I wanted Bam Creative to become, and what was our point of difference.
I believe you need to have both of these ideas right from the start. You need a strong idea of what your â€˜dream business’ is. You know what clients you’d have, you’d know how many staff work for you, you’d probably even know what colour your furniture is, and where your office would be located.
Go on, write it all out – include all of your thoughts, no matter how seemingly irrelevant they are – have a vision of office beanbags and shiny, chrome coffee machines? List them, along with your perfect project or product, your dream client and the perfect employee.
Now look through this list you’ve created, and build a mental image of it – does it look good? Do you have thirty staff and millions of dollars of turnover, or are you consulting from your boat in the marina? Whatever it is, I believe that’s an important step towards both goal setting and corporate/business direction.
Now look at the steps you are going to need to achieve to get to that place. Write them down if you can, otherwise at least know the first few – these will become your immediate goals.
The second thing you need to know right now is your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP. OK, now that sounds very salesy and yuck to a lot of people, but let’s face it – out of all people who should understand why a customer should use your services or products, it should be YOU.
You need to be able to explain in a couple of sentences (an elevator pitch, if you like) why someone should buy your product, or engage your services, over your competitors. If you’re planning to work in website design and development, then you literally already have hundreds of competitors, so what makes you different?
Write that down too. In fact write it in capitals, then read and review it regularly.
Keep these two items near you always, and refer to them – they’ll change over time, that’s natural, but between them both, you now have your rudder for that journey towards success.
Image: Melbourne Laneway Graffiti.