Over the years, we have noticed a disturbing flaw among new entrepreneurs and start-ups: You have an aversion to planning or critically thinking about your idea in general. That leaves us, your partners, and sometimes even your customers in the awkward position of figuring out how your business works for you. Asking yourself tough questions will prepare your business for success.
Write a business plan. It's an important thought exercise to put your ideas on paper and help you think through things you might not have otherwise. It is not a set of shackles that will prevent you from ever changing your business ever. You can deviate it from the plan, it's okay. The Small Business Administration has an online walkthrough for writing a basic business plan.
Determine and be willing to discuss your budget. Entrepreneurs seem not only tight-lipped about their budgets, but downright ashamed to even talk about money. Stop it. Cash is the lifeblood of every business. While it's rude to ask strangers their salary, it is vital to your business to estimate start-up costs, operating expenses, and projected cash flow.
Determine how people will hear about you. We can tell you how it won't happen. It will not go viral on social media, bloggers will not give you free publicity, and no one will just find it on Google through the magic of SEO. You like these things because they sound sexy and you think they're free. Partnering with other businesses, give-aways, networking, and Pay Per Click advertising are realistic marketing channels that everyone can use. Your budget and your target market should determine what marketing channels are best for you.
It's your business, if you want to succeed, put in the sweat equity that other successful businesses have. Don't start by sketching a logo on a bar napkin, start by asking yourself the tough questions. You will run in to problems, planning ahead will help prepare your business to get ahead.