“I’m ready to start my business, what’s next?” turned into a 10-step easy to read guide:
1. Know why you are doing this. Start with the end in mind. What do you want your life to look like down the road? Define your PoleStar! What are you trying to accomplish in terms of lifestyle, income and retirement? Go into business with the intention of exiting on your terms and having achieved the goals you were aiming to accomplish.
2. Construct a road map. Your business model and business plan are the road map to your PoleStar. It is how you will achieve your goals. It should be specific and measurable. How many customers do you need to get the revenue required to provide you with the income you desire? How long will it take to get those customers? How will you gain them?
3. Develop a capital structure/financing plan. Define how much money you will need to start your business and support the operations until it can cash flow on its own. If you can’t finance it on your own, you will either need to borrow money, raise money through investors or a combination of both. You should understand the ramifications of each type of financing. This is a complicated and crucial step in the process and PoleStar Entrepreneurial Group can guide you through it! Nobody will give you an umbrella when it’s raining – know how much money it will take to get your business cash flowing enough to support its operations before you go into business!
4. Design a strategic plan. These are the factors that execute your road map or business model. Define vision, mission, culture, and structure. From there you will need to put in place systems and processes that are the nuts and bolts of the business, including finance, people, technology, accounting and marketing. The more you develop systems that support your PoleStar and road map, the more likely you will stay on track.
5. Set financial and operational goals. Don’t forget why you went into business. Set goals that align with your PoleStar in terms of income, lifestyle and retirement. You should always be working on these. They don’t magically happen. Set short, mid and long-term goals. Most businesses aim at nothing and hit it with amazing accuracy. You will get closer to your PoleStar by setting goals!
6. Measure goals weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. The more goals you set and the more often you look at them, the closer you will get to achieving them. Commemorate them. Re-evaluate them. You don’t have to go overboard. Identifying a few but strong value driving goals that are monitored weekly and monthly will keep you focused. They should be easy to track and report. These short-term goals are vital as they will keep you aligned with your PoleStar and help you achieve the mid and long-term goals. PoleStar Entrepreneurial Group can help with benchmarking key performance indicators and ensure they keep you on the track to success.
7. Develop the technician, manager and entrepreneur within. Know who you are and actively develop the things you are not. Ignoring weaknesses will result in an unbalanced business. Read business books, find mentors, fill-in gaps you have by surrounding yourself with people that have strengths that are your weaknesses. Be purposeful when building skills within yourself and your team.
8. Develop or join a network. Whether its professional groups, industry associations or a casual group of business owners, collaboration is powerful. Leaning and learning from others can be helpful and motivational.
9. Be innovative. Stay on the cutting edge, develop a specialty or niche, do something actively to stand out among peers. Don’t get complacent. It’s too easy to put your head down and get caught up in the day to day operations. Decide how you want to be different and actively pursue that. You should always be working on your business as well as in your business.
10. Find ways to remember to have fun! Don’t lose the excitement you had when you first decided to go into business. Focus on improving your life through your business. Don’t let your business run you. Find ways to stay motivated. Achieving goals and moving toward your PoleStar should be exciting! If it’s not – something is wrong. The sooner you detect something is wrong, the sooner you can fix it and get back on track!
*PoleStar Entrepreneurial Group is all about helping business owners achieve their dreams. Let us help you reach your PoleStar!