The Foundation. There is no future without it.
Would you build or buy a house without first determining that the foundation was well planned to ensure it remained a solid structure for years to come? Of course not! You want your home to offer the maximum return to you and your family over the years, solid, dependable.
It then lends credence to needing that same solid foundation in any business venture you undertake as well.
You want to establish the base from which to grow. One capable of offering not only the stability needed today but able to adapt to change over time. Making the effort to do this correctly, in the beginning, will save you hours and considerable headaches in the future.
I’m ready! What’s next?
So you think you are ready to take the plunge into ownership? Congratulations, that is the first step on the journey ahead! Now, which path will you take?
This will be based entirely upon what you want to accomplish, how quickly, level of dedication, and your own abilities to make it happen. Making the choice to begin may have seemed like a major decision, and it was, what you do from this point forward will shape how well you travel down the path to the future. The work starts now!
Be prepared to do -what is required- to build the foundation. Taking shortcuts now will only lead to other issues in the future.
Find your strengths, admit your weaknesses.
EVERY business I have ever started (or thought about, for that matter) usually begins with “I can do this!”. . . then reality rears its head.
Contrary to popular belief (by me), I don’t have ALL the answers. Yes, it’s true! Not being able to admit that simple fact has been the downfall of many a budding entrepreneur. So, come on, say it with me now – “I need to determine what I can do, and what I can not”. See? Basically painless – but incredibly important!
Now you may ask (go ahead, I’ll wait) “Ok, so HOW do we do this”?
Well, since you asked, allow me to elaborate!
Getting ziggy with SWOT(T) Analysis!
Yes, I am headed down the -business of doing business- path. One where we look at proven business/marketing tactics and how they may apply to what you want to do.
What is SWOT(T)? I’m not going to get into some Business 101 discussion here. Just a brief outline of how it may help you evaluate which direction you need to go. If you want an in-depth approach, there are many good publications available that can assist you. A basic example and references can be found on Wikipedia here.
Before you buy that domain, register a company name (or tell the significant other in my case), you need to determine if the idea is, indeed, one you can accomplish. Basically, you are placing the second brick (the first was deciding to do it!) in the foundation upon which you can build.
So, here we go . . .
- Strengths: characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others [including personal strengths that add viability to the project]
- Weaknesses: characteristics that place the business or project at a disadvantage relative to others [including areas where you may need to improve personal skills/knowledge]
- Opportunities: elements that the business or project could exploit to its advantage [advantages your business model/idea can bring to the market]
- Threats: elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project [discern how market conditions and competition can affect your endeavor(s)]
- (T)iming: how current market usage will impact the project [is the market segment moving forward, plateaued, declining? how will you identify and take advantage of current market trends (social media, video, etc.) to establish a presence and maximize return]
- *NOTE: (T)iming has been recently added to the exploratory aspects of startups in today’s environment and may not be addressed in all discussions. Comments in brackets above were added by me for emphasis and clarity of the discussion only.
The amount of time spent to determine the answers to these points will, of course, vary depending on the business idea/model, and to what point you may plan to take it. It can be as simple as a five-minute overview, or many weeks. [For example, the current venture I am undertaking required almost six years of research to overcome the Weakness aspect of this analysis.]
The most important aspect, though, is that you approach this with an open mind and honest evaluation. Through introspection, we can begin to better understand our own abilities, and make informed decisions. Ones that will help us choose the right path on the journey, and be prepared to see it through.
Forming the Foundation.
You have now started to build the foundation to move into the future on a solid footing. This is but the beginning of the process, and it will vary as you progress. Many resources are available to assist you in this. Always remember that what worked for one business application may not for another. Do the research to ensure you are placing yourself in a favorable position as you determine which path you will follow to fruition.
As always, please add any comments, questions, or suggestions below. We all learn more when we work together!
Let’s do this!
With Sincere Thanks
“The only limits we have are those you impose upon yourself. Remove the limits!”
Follow my current adventures on Twitter