Strategic Business Planning – Common Business Start-Up Mistakes to Avoid

It is very common to come across statements mentioning the failure of 9 out of 10 business start-ups within in the first 2 years of their launch. Undoubtedly, the startup phase comes with varying challenges. When challenges present themselves, entrepreneurs end up making some common mistakes. However, with a little better strategic business planning, such errors can be rectified or avoided altogether. Here are 3 very common mistakes that should be avoided:

1. Starting Without a Business Plan

Before venturing into your own business, it is essential that you ask yourself whether you are serious about achieving success or not. If the answer is yes, then you should begin with a properly written plan that is simple and easy to understand. When you write down your plan, you will be able to focus on ways of ensuring that your business does well. Answer important questions regarding the ‘type of customers your business will attract’, ‘spreading the word about your business’ and of course ‘why would people buy from you and how much are you going to charge for your services or products’. Try to keep realistic figures and if everything is done in a planned way, then your business will definitely see growth.

2. Not Doing Enough Marketing

Marketing is a never ending process, whether you are promoting your products/services or yourself. You will often notice small-businesses spending more time in marketing the owner rather than the product. Building relationships help make a positive impact in the market and among potential customers. It leads to winning their trust and they will remember you.

3. Not Having A Unique Selling Point

The most important question is: Why should potential customers reach out to you for your service or product? Why should they choose you and not some other person? What is so special about your product or service?

You need to have good and sufficient answers to these and many more related questions before you venture any further into your business. When you start your business without asking yourself these questions, then you begin to make mistakes. If you dream of owning a successful business, then you must have answers to these questions. For more information on strategic business planning, please contact us.

5 Steps to Get Everything You Want this Year.

Success begins with a goal. The goal drives your strategies and tactics in your business and your life. It drives your decisions. It drives the choice of your teammates and coaches.

I believe in living a balanced life. As an entrepreneur trying to achieve balance, your business goals need to support your life goals. I'm going to share with you a goal setting exercise that you can do. It will set you up to achieve your goals this year.

I'm sharing with you the five steps I'm taking right now to achieve even the smallest of my goals.

1. Write down these categories

Write each category on its own piece of paper so you have plenty of room for the next steps.

  • Physical Environment
  • Fun & Recreation
  • Personal Growth
  • Romance
  • Career
  • Money
  • Health
  • Friends and Family

2. Make a list

Now under each of these areas I want you to make a laundry list of all the things you can think of that you'd like to see happen. I don't want you to worry about whether it’s a long-term or short-term goal. We don't care if it’s a strategy or a tactic or a vision. Just write down anything you can think of that you'd like to see in your life and put it in the category for which it belongs.

Here's just a subset of my goals. The full list is 5 pages long and I haven't finished yet.

Physical Environment

(Warning: we have a LOT of unfinished house projects)

  • landscaping and plants
  • fix hot tub
  • swap dishwashers
  • build outdoor kitchen
  • repair cars
  • kids effortlessly helping with chores
  • Hang up pictures
  • Master suite addition to the house
  • fix gutters

Fun and Recreation

  • ski passes
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • beach trip
  • Cabin trip
  • exercise 2x per week
  • learn snowboarding at Erika's Burton board camp

Some of these are visions like the kids effortlessly helping with chores. Some are long term, like a second story master suite addition to the house. Some are specific like attending the Burton Board Camp. No matter.

You will also notice that many of these things I can budget for. Others I can book a timeslot in my calendar for. Some are easily achieved by budgeting and scheduling. Some will take some iterative and interactive work and perhaps some training (like having the kids effortlessly help with chores).

3. Prioritize and sort.

For each category of items, I want you to identify which items are most important to you. Which ones do you want to accomplish this year and which ones can wait? Which items have to be completed before you can do something else?

For example, beach trip is a priority for us. And, at least for us this year, we need to budget time and money for it to happen. My husband needs to take time off of work and I need to plan my client contact around that time so I can truly take off and unwind. To do this we are blocking out time now, 6 months in advance, to make sure that trip happens. We are also looking now at ways to make that trip affordable to us and to set aside money each month to make that trip happen.

4. Book a time slot.

Many of the things on my list are small tasks that can be completed with no additional resources. They just take time. Simply block out some time in your calendar.

We are blocking out 2 hour chunks of time on selected weekends so we can knock of projects on our list. Now we may not decide in advance which projects are to be completed, but by having the time set aside, we assure that some will get done. And, we have set up a weekly meeting where we sit down and review our plans for the week to prioritize and ensure that the important things do get done.

5. Identify a budget.

Know how much you are and aren’t willing to spend to achieve these goals. This will help you identify what financial goals are required to get the other goals on your list. And remember, its OK, that some carry over to the next year. Just make sure you identify which ones you are willing to let go to the future and which ones you aren’t.

Having just completed this exercise, I can't tell you how on top of it I feel. Like I am back in control of my destiny and I'm leaving nothing to chance.

That simple step just raised our energy level a few notches, at a time when it was very much needed.

These same techniques can be applied in your business too. It's just one way to take your business up a notch. Elite athletes know their schedule 6 months in advance. They know which competitions they are attending and how much it will cost. They know how many training sessions they have to prepare. They know the skills they need to win at each level. Nothing is left to chance and winging it.

Let's face it. Sometimes you get lucky. But most of the time success comes to those who aren't afraid to choose to create the planned out calculated road to success.

Can you use these skills to create your own elite program that puts you on your path to success?

What other techniques have you used?

If you would like help implementing these techniques with ongoing support and accountability, take a look at my Expert Emerald Marketing Mastermind Club.

My daughter is going to the Olympics!

My daughter is going to the Olympics. Not today, and not because she is gifted. She's not going because she has a pure love of her sport. While she does have some talent, and most of the time she enjoys it, the one and only reason I can make that statement is because she'd rather stay on the Olympic training track than CHANGE!

Seriously. That's how powerful a motivator FEAR can be.

It's a testament to how we humans are by nature resistant to change. You see, my daughter is only 6.

And fearful of change she is. If she wanted to switch OFF the Olympic training track, she'd have to change teachers. And, the kids in her class would change. Or even worse, she'd have to change gyms!

Nope, she'll have none of that. Change? NO WAY!

So here she is. Training 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. Climbing the ropes hand over hand with her legs in a pike (and not touching the rope). Doing handstands on the balance beam with perfectly pointed toes and so on. All because she's afraid to change. While she really doesn't want to train that much, she hates change more. So there she goes, day in and day out, up and down the rope, picking up the skills and logging the hours to perfect her craft without knowing why or what or where she is going.

Thank god this fear is working in her favor, this time. But I ask you "How is it working for you?"

Unfortunately, as entrepreneurs most of us don't start out on the elite path to success. We don't have an experienced coach and team that lays out the strategy and the plan for us and just tells us what to do.

As entrepreneurs there is no structure, no one-size fits all program you can follow on the road to success. We can't just blindly start a business and have it take us where we want to go just because we show up each day.

Many of us don't start with a plan or a road map. We just start. And that's OK. It's better than never starting at all. But I'm asking you again, "How's it working for you?"

Are you ready to up the ante? Up-level your game? Are you ready to get on the Olympic track?

For my daughter, the goal has been set for her just by nature of the team she is choosing to be on. This team has one goal, to churn out champions. Period.

I have two questions for you:

  1. Have you chosen your championship team?
  2. Do you have a coach and team to support you in achieving your goals?

If you answered NO to either of these questions, I may be able to help. I have a mastermind team forming now. I'd love to be  a part of your championship team and help you put the plan and structures in place to achieve your vision. If this sounds intriguing, you can learn more here.

How have you seen this resistance to change play out in your life and the lives of those around you? Can you see it?

I'd love to hear your thoughts about how fear of change keeps you in a pattern that may or may not support you in achieving your goals.

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