The First Steps

first-StepsIn our previous post we looked at the three factors for success when starting a new business. If you have the skills, resources and most of all, the passion, you are ready to start your business—or are you?

In this post we will discuss the critical “next steps” that so many entrepreneurs ignore to their peril.

What are the first steps?
Quite simple – it is putting together a business plan! Many people find putting a business plan daunting, but it need not be as we will show below.

If you are passionate about your proposed business, then putting the plan together will actually be fun.

The Advantages

  • Putting the plan together forces you to look realistically at all the factors that will affect your business
  • It will give you a timeline for what needs to be done when.
  • It will identify the important “break-even point” when you will start showing a profit.
  • It will improve your chances of getting funding. In fact many banks will not give you a loan unless you have a business plan.

The How To
So many people have put business plans together so there are many excellent guidelines available online. You basically have to follow the checklist step by step.

In most regions there are organizations that provide assistance to small businesses. It is a good idea to touch base with them as they will have knowledge of requirements that may apply to your region.

For example, my business is in British Columbia and we have Small Business BC.  Your local chamber of commerce is a good place to start. Now Small Business BC has an excellent guide on their website How To Write A Business Plan.

Summary
A business plan might seem like a lot of unnecessary work but it is really essential. The very process of compiling the plan will help you understand your business better, and be more aware of the risk factors that you may face.

While passion is key, it alone is not enough. You need to know where you are going and that is what the business plan gives you.