Principles for Startup Businesses: Think. Plan. Do.

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I am always interested in speaking with people who want to start new businesses.  The hope and passion they bring to the small business community is refreshing.  It’s like a child who has been promised a new toy, or a teenager purchasing a new car.

I encourage it.  It is like skydiving or cliff jumping or any of those wonderful experiences we were built for, but are afraid to try.  It allows the spirit to be released and fly and soar and reach new heights untouched by most.

To all of you who have decided that for 2009, you are going to take that leap, I will offer you the following:  Think.  Plan.  Do.



Dream big.  As Stephen Covey put it, begin with the end in mind.  As the Bible put it – where these is no vision, the people perish.
  • Don’t get hung up on naming your business.
  • Write it down.  It’s amazing what one can accomplish when one doesn’t know what one cannot do.
  • Keep in mind…there is a way.  Sears started out as a horse-drawn wagon, clip_image002Papa Johns started by a couple of college students trying to make some extra cash, and Kellogg’s cereal started by accident.
  • Learn.  Just like driving that car, parachuting or running a marathon, running a small business  takes preparation, knowledge and understanding.
  • Keep your eyes open.  See what is going on in the marketplace.  See what trends are developing.  Look out for events that could potentially disrupt your business.
  • Have courage.  Fear is natural  Courage is fear that said its prayers at breakfast.  Fear is immobilizing.  Courage is invigorating.
  • Be encouraged.  If someone else is doing it successfully, leveraging their gifts and abilities, think about how you might leverage your own to serve a population you identify with.  Consider the fast food industry.
  • Surround yourself with great people.  Remember – you are great at what you are great at.  Everyone has areas where they need more knowledge.  Find people to fill those gap areas.
  • Know your capabilities.  Know how you work, who you work best with, your personality, your strengths and your weaknesses.  Think about how you can play to your strengths.
  • Know the risks and be prepared to deal with them.
  • Prepare to bring all of what you’ve got.  Notice, this didn’t say quit your job, today and start your business.  It says prepare.  That means understand what it will take for you to transition into running your business.
  • Plan.
    1. Many people start planning as step one.  Think about it like creating a road map for a vacation without knowing where you are going and whatclip_image002[4] you intend to do there.  Gather information, first.
    2. Review.  One of the hardest things for people is being overly optimistic about their business.  “If you build it, they will come” is not the norm for business.
    3. Leverage your resources.  Have others in your circle review your plan with you.  Ask them to give you the hard critique.  Be aware of those who are normally nay-sayers – they may be overly pessimistic, but still add value to the conversation.  Be wary of your “yes” people.  “Yes” people will be overly optimistic and should not be taken at face value.
    4. Revise.  Don’t forget to take the valuable information you have and put it into action.


    Put your plan into action.   Take it step-by-step.
  • Know the difference between getting off track (distracted) and re-evaluating your plan.
  • Put first things first.  You do NOT need a tax ID and business name before you have completed your research.clip_image002[7]
  • Don’t lose site of the vision.
  • Use your support system.  Ask advice.  Seek out expertise.
  • Be part of communities – the communities you serve, the communities in your industry, communities on the web.
  • Remember – while things might not appear to be exactly as you’d planned, continue to evaluate how it can be done – how you can reach the vision.
  • Focus.  Running a business is hard work and is time consuming, but can be quite rewarding if you keep the end in mind, keep your eyes on the environment and guard your resources.  That doesn’t mean be cheap, but rather, ensure that your purchases are needs for the business – as in, will help the business get from here to there.
  • 2009 is upon us, my friends.  Be well.  Do well.  Find your passion and run with it.

    At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are a Small Business Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping you develop strategies for your organization, and are committed to your success. If you have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].

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