“You can’t get where you want to go unless you know where you are starting!” Many times, when businesses are started – they just start selling, often missing mundane tasks, such as planning and preparing for growth. Of course, desperate times call for desperate actions; we work to make money, not to get stuck in, as my friend Ken says, “paralysis of analysis.” Nevertheless, I would bet that many of the businesses that don’t last very long are those that never fulfill their Existence Level needs. Those include:
- Clarity of what your business will do to serve it’s market. How will your business make its money? What product, service or feeling do you want people to associate with your business. This is also known as the mission statement or purpose statement
- Clarity of what you want people to remember about your business once it’s closed. While many people have an idea of what they want things to look like “when the business grows up,” that vision often takes some time, and begins to dim as the business grows
- Understanding of leadership strengths and weaknesses. You might be a great inventor, but if you aren’t a great business person, and don’t surround yourself with great people, you are no better than a great sales person with poor order fulfillment capability. It just won’t happen. Leadership must be balanced out.
- Understanding of the target market: who are they? what do they need? how do they buy it? what might they buy instead of what you are sell? how much will they pay for it?
- Understanding of what you are selling: is it a product or a service, or a combination? Your product or service is typically not all that is sold, but rather, the reputation of your company, the box it is sold in, the price point, service outcomes, etc. Is your product for immediate consumption, or does it have a lasting impact?
- Understanding of the types of things that could go wrong in your company, and what you can do about it
- Understanding of company strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
- Relationships with advisors that could advise you on key areas of your business, including legal, accounting, banking and insurances
- Proper compliances, including certifications, insurances, safety measures, HR and employee issues, etc.