With these facts in mind, step 1 should be to:
1. Create a life plan. Rate your life honestly on a scale of 1 through 100, with 100 being the best possible life (make sure to consider work, recreation, relationships, finances and anything else that's important to you).
Other factors to consider in this step are the realities of your life including responsibilities, funds available to start a business, consider all expenses. Make sure that you note the things that make you happy and the things that make you unhappy.
I tend to use a bulleted list for this purpose - it is easier to navigate through as we go along, if you are following along with this list.
Another part of this life plan is to make sure that you list your skills and capabilities - what you do well (in your personal life as well as your business life) - our strengths are sometimes all needed for just one tiny little problem that refuses to be resolved without concentration. Also, make sure to list what you have experience doing, whether it is in your personal or business life.
Truthfully, this may sound silly; but you must understand what your work style priorities are so you can define the best kind of business for you; therefore, these must be listed. For example, what level of risk do you want to take?
Also, list your personal mission, the values you uphold and what drives you forward. I usually base this part on a great number of things, this step as well as up to and including step 6 - basically this is just a clarification of your principles and priorities.
List some strategic action items you must develop in order to transform your life plan from a self-assessment into an action plan. Remember we are discussing your ideal life here.
Make sure that you keep a written copy of your life plan in plain view, so you can check periodically to see if you are on the right track, make changes if necessary - after all, we are all human, and to err is only human in our world right?
The most important note that I can make about your life plan is that it will position you do what you love and that always brings out the best in any business entrepreneur.
2. Now, the next step is to choose a business model. In this step, in this day and age, you have a great variety of choices, but before I get into the choices, you must answer one question that is vitally important to your business model of the future - how much time do you want to devote to your business?
If you want to have a full-time business, you walk, talk, eat, sleep and dream about your business. Your time is totally devoted to your business with little or no room for anything else at all (including family etc). You will begin to feel that you only work - that work is your main purpose in life!
If you want to begin a part-time business, you may continue with your day job, parenting responsibilities or anything else that may prevent you from making your start-up your primary and only focus in life.
3. Create a Business Plan by asking yourself the following questions and recording the answers on paper.
· What's your business idea?
· How does your idea address a need?
· What model suits you best?
· What's so different about what you offer?
· How big is the market and how big will you grow?
· What's your role going to be?
· Who's on your team?
· How will customers buy from you, and how much will they pay?
· How much money do you need, and how much will you make?
· Where's the start-up money coming from?
· How will you measure success?
· What are your key milestones?
These points, when answered, will make up the actual business plan if they are summarized and even elaborated on.
4. Select a Business Structure, by which I am referring to the business ownership you desire. Do you want investors as shareholders in your company? Do you want to maintain control of the company if you have investors involved? Do you anticipate losses in the early stages that can be taken as tax benefits by shareholders? Do you want to avoid double taxation? Is there a great risk of liability associated with your specific business?
5. Create Key Business Assets. As most people are aware, your company assets are only as good as your ability to protect them and this is especially true when intellectual property is concerned. It is imperative to take steps to secure your ownership rights no matter what your company assets are.
6. Find the Funding. As we are all aware this is a very critical step. You've got to find funding for your business but ensure that it's the right kind of funding so as not to create any new problems for your business endeavours down the road.
7. Organize Logistics. We all talk about it, but doing it is another matter - having your books in order, your contracts buttoned up, your money safely managed and your downside covered are each critical to your personal and business future. Accountants, lawyers, bankers, and insurance agents are some of the people who can help you get organized and put you on a path to starting to make money the smart way.
Make sure you work with a budget when you are working with these people. Also, please note that these people should be well-versed in assisting entrepreneurs and most importantly, they should understand the nature of your industry.
8. Find Great People.
1. Understand the power of people
2. Find the stars to bring onto your team
3. Keep your stars
4. Have a mentor
9. Establish a Brand. Brands show who you are (your company), how you're different from your competition, and show reasons why a buyer should do business with you. For these reasons, your brand must be distinctive and unique and the importance of a brand cannot be stressed enough.
When you establish a brand, you are creating an image in your customer's minds when they think of your products and/or services from your company. For example, when you think of Cola brand of soft drink, what do you see in your mind?
10. Market and Sell. Make sure you know your target audience to develop a marketing message that will remain with them - something catchy is preferred; you must tell people why they want what you have to offer them and stick to it!
All these points may be scary once you get to reading - they may seem to be too lengthy, too detailed for the impatient entrepreneur; however, trust me when I say that these points are essential to starting any business endeavour whether it be online or storefront.
When you became a business entrepreneur, did you have steps to follow? If you had steps, did you follow each and every step to the letter?
When you consider all the aspects of being an online business entrepreneur or even a store-front entrepreneur, the pile of material seems insurmountable! However, if you look a that same mountain of material from the right angle, it is not so high and can be a challenge that can be overcome by most dedicated people!