I decided to write this post only for one reason!
I often read posts on different Facebook groups, written by people that want to start a business. They have an interesting business idea and they express their willingness and determination to realize it.
However, it seems that they share a common concern. That is why they are asking (more or less) the same question.
How do I start my business?
What should I do first?
What is the best way to begin?
What do I need to consider in order not to fail?
Below the basic question of the post, it exists a huge list of comments from other members, offering various solutions.
– You should do this, or you should do that…
– Create a web page…
– Advertise on social media…
– Advertise on google…
– Create digital marketing campaigns… and many other partial solutions.
So, the potential entrepreneur that posted the initial question becomes even more confused.
He/she has received a hundred answers with recommended solutions that most of the time are:
Without a plan.
Without a strategy.
Without specific objectives and goals.
Without having an idea about the initial capital needed.
Without a marketing research.
Without knowing the USP’s.
Without situation analysis.
Without competition analysis.
Without SWOT, PEST, Porter’s five forces industry analysis.
Without an operational plan.
Without knowing the business team (management, HR), structure and processes.
Without a marketing plan.
Without a financial plan.
Without exit scenarios and solutions
I could continue for at least for 5 minutes like that, but you get the picture.
There is a “clever methodology” when you want to start a business.
If you follow it, you will have more chances to succeed.
When you want to start a business, firstly create a business plan.
It will guide you.
It will assist you to identify possible mistakes. Mistakes that will cost you, and there is not an easy way of fixing them…
It will support you in the organization.
It will help you have an overall perception of your business.
It will remind you that whatever you want to do in business, you need to have the money to do it, so you will plan accordingly and not based on intuition.
It will prepare you more for what to expect, what you need to be careful of, what you need to focus on, and when.
It will be essential to have if you want a business loan or funding.
Again, I could continue for another 5 minutes, but you have an idea of what I am saying.
Would you go to war without a plan (without a strategy and tactics of how you will win your enemy)?
Therefore, why to enter the market without a plan, without a strategy and tactics of how you will win over your competitors?
I am not suggesting that a business plan will save you.
I am not recommending to you not to be flexible.
I am not implying that out there, you will not find successful businesses that started without a business plan.
I am, though, indicating that a business plan is like a map.
You use it to find your direction, the quickest, safest and less costly way to arrive at your destination.
Think about this…
If you put an effort to create a good and realistic business plan, you may realize that your business should not start, and this will save you from a costly adventure that would end badly. Alternatively, you may realize that you need to rework some things from your initial thoughts, to be more realistic and effective, so at the end, to succeed.
Therefore, the advice is:
DO NOT START A BUSINESS WITHOUT A PLAN… A BUSINESS PLAN HELPS!
It is a written documentation/blueprint/monitor of your business management and control.
It makes all the difference!
* I forgot to tell you also another important aspect that a lot of non-business persons do not know.
Business plans include a marketing plan.
Marketing plans include also a social media plan, a content marketing plan, a digital marketing plan (website development, SEO, landing pages, sales funnels, email campaigns, blogging, affiliation programs, PPC, display ads, retargeting, etc.), an advertising plan, marketing mix, positioning, branding, corporate communication, what marketing automation to use and why, budgeting for marketing, KPI’s, implementation plan, control, etc.
Why am I saying all these?
Because some people believe that if they have a partial/segmented marketing plan or solution, then they know how to start a business, which is not correct!
Imagine this example:
An army chief commander (since I used the war example above), is going to win a war using only air force, without navy or ground forces being aligned, or sometimes even without using them at all.
What will happen?
Probably defeat will be the result.
Now, if the chief commander uses all the forces of the army, coordinated (from the beginning), under a complete and well-established plan, what do you think will happen?
Probably victory will be the outcome.
Which scenario would you prefer?
The answer is obvious.
They say repetition is the mother of learning, therefore:
DO NOT START A BUSINESS WITHOUT A PLAN… A BUSINESS PLAN HELPS!
Thanks for your time, and for reading this!
* I just realized, (regarding the creation of a business plan), that you may say the following:
– I don’t know how to produce a business plan.
– I don’t have the time to produce it.
– I don’t have the money to pay a professional to do it.
– I find it unnecessary… everything is changing so fast today, so I do not want to pay for it.
Well, then my response will be…
If you don’t know how to do this, or if you do not have the time, then hire a professional to help you.
Hire a professional who has an academic background in business and many years of working experience.
Hire a professional who has created and run businesses in the past (so he/she is not theoretical).
Hire a professional that has expertise in business development (marketing and sales) to know how to implement both.
Hire a professional who has created business plans in the past, who is trustful and pleasant to work with.
If you don’t have the money to hire someone, search for free business plan samples or templates on google, download them, and follow the same process according to your business requirements.
If you think that a business plan is unnecessary, let me explain why it is not.
Do you know how much a good business plan cost?
Let’s say… X amount…
Do you know how much it will cost you to correct the mistakes that will occur (that would have been avoided with the help of a good business plan)?
Let’s say… 10 * X amount or 100 * X amount…
… Or even worse…
I could analyze this subject for hours… (wrong branding – the need for rebranding – cost), wrong marketing costs, waste of time costs, wrong advertising costs, wrong positioning costs, wrong pricing costs, wrong distribution channels, cash flow issues, wrong payment policies, etc.).
Have you thought also the opportunity costs?
I think It is not necessary to analyze it further…
Do you want to start a business (the right way)? This is what you need: BUSINESS PLAN.
Enjoy the process!
Iordanis Boutsioulis, B.S., M.B.A.
Founder at ibbds, Business Developer, Marketing Strategist & Consultant
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