It can be easy to come up with a business idea, but putting it into action is where people often stumble. Creating a formalized plan, also known as “the dreaded business plan,” can often intimidate even the most successful business owners.
Do you feel like you’re great at coming up with ideas but struggle with taking action? “I hate doing the work involved in getting the business off the ground!” “Just hand me the keys, and I can drive, but getting it up and running is so… much… work!”
Maybe you have an idea and even started putting it into production, but once you were ready to launch, you paused. Why does this happen?
Consider this scenario: Our team worked with a client for over a year and helped them develop a business plan, an investor pitch and a consumer pitch plan. We created strategies to roll their product into the marketplace, connected them with potential alliances and even connected them with investors. BUT each time we offered suggestions on how to start bringing in revenue, they paused.
It’s a common story. Pulling together a business is one thing. Running a business often equates to 14-plus-hour days and potential work over the weekend. This can seem daunting to anyone.
What is the trick to launching instead of pausing?
1. Put things into bite-sized pieces.
So often, people get overwhelmed by the amount of work involved. Instead of trying to attack everything at once, come up with a dedicated plan of action. This can be as simple as creating a list of goals you wish to hit by a specific date. Once this is completed, write down the tasks necessary to reach each goal. Now put these into a spreadsheet or project planning software like Evernote, Asana or Basecamp to schedule your tasks into a concise project plan.
2. Create a roadmap.
Building on the advice above, it is important to have a plan in place for any business venture. We run into clients who have goals in place but no real direction on how they plan to achieve them. Furthermore, once they achieve their goals, they struggle with what to do next. We regularly share simple advice that starts with an online search on what other similar companies have done to get their business off the ground. Why waste time on figuring things out when many of the answers are readily available? Once you have some valuable information in hand, start putting yourself out there and let everyone know about your business.
3. Ask for help.
Yes, sometimes it is easier to ask for help than to waste time on tasks that you are not proficient in. Do you ever hire someone to clean your office, fix your printer, or handle your marketing? Why spend time on something that you can easily outsource? Worried about spending too much before you have a steady stream of revenue? Consider how much time it will take you to work on projects that you do not have the necessary skills to accomplish effectively. Investing in your business is often part of the process. There are multiple ways to get support from others without spending too much. Consider bartering, looking for an intern, or investigating a site like Fiverr.com for inexpensive support.
4. Bring in your circle.
Ever heard of the “circle of trust?” If you have ever watched the movie, Meet the Parents starring Robert De Niro, then you may be smiling right now. Pitching your business to the people you trust can be a vital indicator of success or failure. Have a questionnaire ready so that you can ask for specific feedback. And most importantly, be open to their suggestions. Sometimes the greatest advice is the one thing you don’t want to hear!
Next Steps: Check out our Small Biz Ahead podcast on failure to launch to learn more on this topic.