10 Power Steps to Small Business Success
The entrepreneurial blueprint for ensuring success of a small business venture
by Isabel Isidro
Starting a business, given its
share of rewards and risks, is a serious endeavor and requires
considerable preparation. If you are going to accept the challenge, then
you must do everything you can to improve your chances for success. This
process involves the mastery of ten steps.
Each step by itself is merely
a tool, but collectively they provide an entrepreneurial blueprint for
starting a successful new venture. No matter what your business,
conquering these ten steps will increase your odds for success. However,
these steps are not easy nor simple. Each level involves a tremendous
amount of effort and a lot of street smarts to work effectively. Similar
to playing a video game, you should master each level before moving on
to the next one.
Here are the ten steps:
your personal and company goals.
New business success requires a combination of knowing what you are
doing and capitalizing on a good opportunity. Develop and clearly state
your goals in a written plan, which will then serve as your road map.
They give you a sense of direction and help you get to your destination,
a successful business of your own, with a minimum of time, effort, and
viable market segment for your product or service.
The next step in starting a new venture begins with listening to the
marketplace. Define an unmet consumer need first, before you develop a
product to satisfy that need. Regardless of how astute you may be in
business, if the market isn't there to support you, then you cannot
expect to go very far. However, the majority of entrepreneurs first come
up with a product they think is "hot" before determining the
existence of sufficient demand for the product. You may have the most
exciting product in the world, and people might think that it's the most
interesting thing they've seen in a decade, but if you can sell only a
handful (to your immediate family and in-laws), you are probably doomed
to failure. In order to verify that there is a need for your product,
you must test the market by conducting a variety of market
Develop your marketing plan.
The purpose of the marketing plan is to describe how you will attempt to
create and maintain customers for a profit. It needs to state whom you
are going to sell to, how you are going to penetrate the market, why you
will be successful with your sales campaigns, and finally, how much you
will sell annually over the next five years. The marketing plan will
ultimately become an integral part of your overall business plan, but it
must be completed first.
initial version of the business plan.
Your business plan must reflect the unique environment you will be
operating in as well as what you plan to be your competitive advantage.
It is an outline of the direction in which you plan to take your
company, an analysis of your business strengths and weaknesses, and a
skeleton from which your formal business plan will later be developed.
It will assist you in securing the key people you need, and it will also
help you to begin developing your financial projections.
your financing needs.
Once you have developed a rough business plan, you can begin to
determine your financing needs, which will be incorporated into your
formal business plan. Your marketing analysis leads to sales forecasts,
which determine your staffing level, which defines your operating
budget, from which you can generate pro formas (financial projections)
and determine your projected cash flow.
key teams: founders, management, and directors.
Before developing your formal business plan, you must make sure you have
put together a solid management team. If there are any holes in your
team at this point, they should be filled. The rough business plan you
developed in Level IV should help you to attract top talent to your
company. In addition, it will help you to build a strong board of
directors or board of advisors.
your financing needs and create your formal business plan.
Starting with the rough business plan, put together a full-fledged
formal business plan. A business plan should convincingly demonstrate
that your business can sell enough of its product or service to make a
satisfactory profit and be attractive to potential backers. This is the
document you will use to secure the financing you need to get your
business off the ground. It will also serve as an operating manual for
your business once it has been funded.
marketing strategy to obtain financing for your company.
I am not talking here about the marketing strategy to sell your product
or service, but a strategy to sell yourself and your company to
financiers in order to raise the capital that your business needs.
plan successfully, attracting capital on your terms.
Once you have developed a strategy for approaching financing sources, you
must make use of the negotiating tools that will give you an inside edge
on the competition and enable you to attract capital on your terms
rather than just on your investors'.
product/service and manage your business to achieve your goals.
The last step in the process involves the ongoing management and
marketing of your business. Getting a company started is only half the
battle. Once you're in business, you will need strong management tools
and marketing skills in order to make sure you stay in business.
Each step, executed in order,
builds a solid foundation for the steps that follow. By progressing in
this manner, rather than using the typical haphazard approach, you begin
to gain the needed experience.
to 'Get Lucky' in Business
Too many times, people start a home business hoping to
"get lucky." They go into their business with the
same attitude they would enter the lottery...throw a little
money at it, sit back, and wait for the cash to roll in. The
truth is, there is NO such thing as luck in business. Building
a profitable business requires an investment of both money and
Three Values for Success
In this age when competition is tougher and tougher, squeezing out a profit can be
difficult. We often make ends meet by cutting back, working faster, sometimes not putting
as much into our product as we used to.
This may be fine for short-term profits, but it can kill a business in the long run. You
can also wind up working hard on a business that you don't feel good about in your heart
Surviving the First 1,000 Days of Your New Business
From money problems to management problems, plenty of pitfalls can sink home-based
businesses before they can reach their potential. Here are some of the common stumbling
blocks to watch out for and how to avoid them.
How To Survive Your First Year in Business
What's the best way to create a profitable business? A business you really love that makes the kind of money you really
want? Planning, planning, and more planning.
Isabel Isidro for Power Homebiz Guides. For a
step-by-step guide to starting a business, order the CD-Rom "Power
Home Business Ideas" from PowerHomeBiz.com at http://www.powerhomebiz.com/Index/powercd.htm