Every business has a purpose for being in business. That purpose is your vision and if you want your customers to know what your vision is, you have to tell them. So we are looking at a simple three-step process where we first define our purpose, articulate that into a reasonable vision and communicate that with our audience. Sounds easy enough.
Understanding your business well enough starts with knowing why you are in business in the first place. What is it you want to do for people? Do you want to manufacturer products or distribute them, or resell them to the ultimate consumer? Or do you want to provide a service for people that has value to them? All of these questions are explored in the two business start-up processes called Personal Assessment and Feasibility Study. Once you know what you want to do and what the business is going to do, it's time to start the "Business Planning" process (Step 3).
There are some great business tools designed to define and detail what it is your business is going to do. Palo Alto's Business Plan Pro is one of the best. The whole purpose of a Business Plan is to think through the details before committing any of your time, money and manpower to a project. Thinking through the details gives you an opportunity to include all of the variables in a start-up and see how they interrelate to each other. It is the ultimate test to see if you can succeed on paper before you attempt to succeed in real-life.
The strength of an Entrepreneur is that they will strive to achieve against all odds. The downfall of an Entrepreneur is that they strive to achieve an unworkable plan against all odds. Smart Entrepreneurs seek wise consul. During the planning phase of your start-up, it is a good idea to seek a competent Board of Advisors that have expertise in areas you might not have. Get into the habit of bouncing your ideas off your advisors, your consultants and your spouse.
Building a vision is a lot easier than you think. Your vision comes from your Business Purpose and your purpose comes from the heart. Create your vision first-draft from your heart then go back and give it another look from a detached perspective. Is it achievable? Can it be successful in a reasonable period of time? What do other people think about it? Now it’s time to put in realistic goals and objectives. That is where the strength of Business Planning comes in. Having a vision gives you an idea of what you would like to do give the correct circumstances. Building a Business Plan outlines the goals, strategies and tactics you’ll have to use to make your vision come to life.
Communicating Your Vision: After you finish your business plan and have secured proper financing you can put your action plan into play and start building your dream. Excuse me, your vision! Communicating your vision is a separate task from building your vision. At what point you start communicating your vision is totally up to you and your need to involve other people in your vision. Normal Businesses start to communicate their vision with their customers just prior to their Grand Opening. Companies that involve their vendors, investors and advisors in their vision, start to communicate their ideas at the very beginning of the project. It’s your choice.
There are a number of excellent ways to communicate your vision with others. Businesses have used web sites, electronic documents, live meetings and summits, both physically and electronically. We are working on a “Model Watersports Complex” and are looking into a new technology from Palo Alto Software. It’s called “Live Plan” which is Business Planning Software ”in the cloud.” It allows people to work on business planning in teams. LivePlan is the easiest way to get your business plan done today. The program includes expert advice, built-in help, access anywhere, and more than 500 complete sample business plans. LivePlan makes it easy for you to create a professional plan that will wow any audience.
Starting and running a business is truly a team effort. It also requires expertise you may not have. LivePlan addresses these issues by making the financials easy to use. They have over 500 sample plans that you can access for real-life examples. Having expert guidance along the way is invaluable to the business planning process and any plan that allows you to collaborate with your co-workers and/or investors and lenders is worth having. This business planning software is designed for small businesses just like yours. It’s safe to use and your information is secure. As your vision grows, LivePlan tracks your progress to take you to the next level of success.
For more information go to www.liveplan.com
Exhibits at Surf Expo: Surf Expo will open its doors on January 26th for three days of watersports equipment and fashion apparel. Over 4,000 brands will be represented.