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An Entrepreneurs Challenge
Living in the twilight zone has its advantages. In the early days of starting my business, I found the limitations of living in a rural area to be restrictive. However, later I realized that those limitations were not an obstacle that could stop me; they were only a challenge that would strengthen me. Since my business would be smaller, I would have the advantage of fewer employees and less strife in the processes of doing business.
Growth, while difficult in a single entity, could easily be accomplished through multiplication. By repeating the business in several locations, it could become the kind of business I wanted to run.
The challenge was no longer in the viability of the business, but in the potential of business development. So, simply put, where do I go from here?
How big was my dream and did I have the courage to pursue it to fruition?
It was BIG and I did. The processes of developing my multi-business center company, connected by computers, people, and a dream was not particularly difficult, nor were there any major obstacles to overcome. The biggest challenge was in the mind.
The process of realizing a dream is pretty much the same from any vantage point. My vantage point was a small town in the mid-west (right between the vastness of the Great Plains and the vertical beauty of the Rocky Mountains). Some of you call this the WEST - but I've been to both coasts - it is MID WAY between them, trust me.
The challenge was literally in formatting the dream and scheduling the conceptual steps and the processes by which the dream would be realized.
Creating the dream.
A good business fills a need. You must realize a need. Through a need of your own, you may realize that other people have the same need, and the cure for your needs could also be a cure for the needs of others with similar needs.
Quite essentially, while speaking to a friend one day, I said those magic words that spoke directly to my heart, "I wish somehow there was a way to?" Being the kind and generous person that she is, she fed into my dream by asking me what options could possibly provide solutions to that problem. So, for much of that afternoon we 'brainstormed' for solutions to my problem. That evening, when I got home, I wrote down a list of our solutions, and put them on a shelf in my home office, where I promptly forgot about them until several months later when another friend was in the same boat.
Realizing the Viability.
A good business can fill the need at a profit. Take your dream one step further; determine if the product/service that could be a solution to your problem is worth paying for.
My friend mentioned that she would actually pay someone to deal with her situation. I frowned at the thought, realizing that it was a signal to me, to put the 'brainstormed' solutions into actual practice. My dream became a viable option. I could feel the reality of what I was dreaming, and I could 'touch' what it would become.
A good business must have a substantially saleable product. Specifically describe the product/service and how you could build/design/create it. Determine if the value of the product/service is worth the cost of producing it.
When I got home again, I took out that first brainstorming list of solutions and put it on the table along with a pad of paper and a pen. I got a cup of coffee and sat down to work. I needed a product/service that could be sold. From that brainstorming list, I developed a list of products/services that could be sold at a profit, and I began to put together a profile of the company that would sell them. The 'business outline' that resulted from these hours of work, was substantial enough to start working on a business plan.
A good business must be marketable at a profit. Developing a market feasibility plan was the next step. By determining the marketability of the product/service and orchestrating the process within the sphere of location, pricing/value, accessibility, and dispensation, it is possible to realize the maximum profit from the product/service within a specific market during the initial phase of distribution. By establishing a marketing plan based on the feasibility of marketing your product/service during this phase of the business development process, your business can become profitable from the earliest stage possible.
A good business must operate regularly IN THE BLACK. Often, developing a profitable business is an accidental event that can't be explained. More often, businesses fail within the first five years because owners plan to FAIL by failing to PLAN. However, profitability in business can be explained, planned, and projected, if the business owner establishes a plan of business and manages his business according to that plan.
Determine the requirements of making a profit in your business and incorporate that process into your plan. That is what targeting profit is all about; making sure that your business plan has 'profit' directly in sight.
Make PEOPLE your priority.
A good business must serve its people. Occasionally a company will forget its purpose for being in business. The only REAL reason for being in business is to help other people. No matter what your product/service might be, your purpose is helping others. When THIS concept becomes genuine within the people who work in your business, they will acquire the ability to serve with objectivity the clients who purchase your products/services. Recognize your business priorities and keep them at the top of the list. Customer Service is not where you want to cut costs.
Plan your BUSINESS.
A good business follows a solid business plan. A solid business plan based on marketing strategies, prioritized business practices, and a sound proposal of profitability will project your company to triumph. A complete business plan will include concepts and procedures for day-to-day operations that will lead regularly to the level of success planned for and projected. If you are following your business plan in an organized manner, with periodic reevaluations for business development changes, your company will have its very own success story and history of success.
A good business is based on a solidly proven business history. EVEN if you are new to the business industry, there are proven examples of businesses for you to follow. Find a successful 'mentor' within your chosen industry and follow their guidance. Trying to reinvent the wheel doesn't work. It's been invented and it works, so why mess with perfection by trying to reinvent it. This means that there is a proven method of doing business, and it does work, so when you find a person who is successful in your chosen field, use their proven strategies and update for current technical abilities, but do not try to reinvent the processes.
Consistent Record keeping.
A good business uses a consistent record keeping method. Prepare an office for your business that is capable of tracking daily activities within your business, marketing practices, and financial records. Consistently record financial records in a clearly defined manner that will properly project your financial situation at any given time. Weekly, monthly, and annual reports are necessary for managing the profitability of your business. Be certain that these reports are available for weekly, monthly, and annual evaluation, and religiously do those evaluations based on your business plan. Be prepared to revamp and revitalize your business plan based on the evaluations you do.
NOTE: While 'weekly' reports are necessary for this evaluation - do not adjust your business based solely on the weekly reports.
Use the Three E's.
A good business promotes enthusiasm, effort, and ethics. Enthusiastically promote what you do. If you believe in what you are doing and put your best attitude toward accomplishing the job at hand, you will be promoting your business in the best possible way, with personal enthusiasm. Be sure that the majority of effort you put into your business every day is intended for profit. If you are working all day and accomplish nothing toward making a profit, your business will not be profitable in the long run. Personal ethics are a choice. If you value your business you will maintain a high standard of ethics. Honesty and Integrity cannot be regained once they are lost.
Don't allow anyone to take those from you for any reason, hold your personal values dearly and promote your business based on solid values.
Smell the roses.
A good business allows for the enjoyment of life along with the requirements of work. As with any job, burnout is a threat if you don't take time out to enjoy life while you work. It often amazes me, the number of people who indicate that they have no time for family, fun, and hobbies, as they are working to own their own business. What ARE they working for? If you don't take the time to enjoy life, you will burnout and be no good to anyone, and definitely not capable of succeeding in your business. Take time out for you, for family, for LIFE. Your job will still be there when you get back, and you will be more capable when you go back to it.
Without the specific details that make a business work successfully toward a profit, you don't actually have a business; you have a great idea. An idea won't actually get you very far in the land of profit margins, it actually will cost you more than it will make. An idea is something that is incomplete and surrealistic, until it has been scripted and formatted into the reality of a series of goals that work together to make a profitable business.
What is your NEMESIS? What is your dream? Is your dream going to make you a life? Is your dream worth the investment of your time, effort, and money?
Success is in the details. If you want to make your dream a business, it's important to develop the details and process your ideas into REAL goals. The difference between a dream and a successful business is in the presentation of the details.
Copyright (c) 2001 - Jan Verhoeff
Printed in the USA
Jan Verhoeff combines 27 years of service in the Free Enterprise domain and a lifetime of education in business development to bring expertise and understanding of basic business principles to new business owners. An expert in the field of business development, Jan presents conceptual information through publications, live presentations, and Power Launch, a weekly live conference chat for business developers. For more information see her site at: http://wahopportunity.blogspot.com
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