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Posts Tagged “business plan”

Time for Some Summer Inspiration

  As Memorial Day approaches, I thought it would be nice to post a little inspirational message.   After all, it’s almost time to celebrate grads, dads and the arrival of summer.   However, many of you may be dealing with tough times or financial difficulties with your business and unable to truly celebrate anything. [...]

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Business Planning—Market Research and Analysis

One of the biggest mistakes made by someone that wants to go into business is not taking the time to do the market research and analysis. Here’s the most common scenario: 1) a business idea, usually something the entrepreneur is crazy or passionate about occurs. 2) He or she develops a business plan, though the [...]

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How to Conquer Your Business Startup Fears with Mind Mapping

Let’s face it. The first step is always the hardest. Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, start graduate school, or learn how to play guitar. It’s that first step that leaves us feeling awkward, inadequate, and questioning our conviction. Taking that first step toward entrepreneurship is no different. We question our business skills, product performance, and financial competency. The dreaded, “what if I can’t do it?” question creeps into our daily thoughts. We start reasoning that it might be better to “just wait another year.”

These fears are extremely common and unfortunately well founded. Reports show that as much as 50% of all new start-ups fail within the first year. That is not exactly encouraging odds. However, we all have a choice when it comes to creating our destiny. We can use statistics like these to confirm our business’s certain death, or gain confidence from the fact that you could be part of the 50% that become a success. In the famous words of Zig Ziglar, you just have to eliminate your “Stinkin’ Thinkin’”.

One of the tools I use to overcome my fears is mind mapping. It’s a terrific tool that can help you isolate the source of your fears, bring much needed perspective, and help brainstorm solutions to your sticking points. There are several “mind mapping” tools out there and many are free to use. I prefer to use the tool by Wisemapping since it’s free, allows me to add notes and web links, and I can publish or share the completed map.

To demonstrate my fear mind mapping strategy, I’ve created an example below.

Startup Fear Mindmap

First, I outline my top fears associated with starting the business. I then brainstorm how I can overcome those fears. My final step will be answering those questions. My goal is to find a positive solution to each of the questions I’ve asked. For example, for the question, “Can I reduce my startup costs with outsourcing?” I would research potential manufacturing possibilities until I could answer the question with a “yes.” If I can’t find a way, I then brainstorm ways to overcome the obstacle. A “no” isn’t necessarily bad, it just means you need to tweak your business plan to compensate for this reality. Try to be as thorough and honest as possible with your mind map. The goal is to solve your sticking points on paper before you’ve invested your time and money. I use this tool regularly for many of my business decisions including product launches, partnership agreements, and even potential marketing opportunities.

It’s amazing what this simple exercise can do for your confidence level. You are no longer living in fear of the unknown. Instead, you are on a mission with a powerful road map to your business’s success.

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Let’s face it. The first step is always the hardest. Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, start graduate school, or learn how to play guitar. It’s that first step that leaves us feeling awkward, inadequate, and questioning our conviction. Taking that first step toward entrepreneurship is no different. We question our business skills, product performance, [...]

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Do you rely on press releases too much?

  It’s early in the morning, and I am answering another e-mail from a brand new entrepreneur. He “needs” a press release written ASAP.  I respond to discover more information. Basically, he’s another new business owner offering a significant discount for his new product. Now, this may have involved a lot of time and work [...]

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Don’t Expose Your Assets!

There you are. You just finished reading Rich and Jeff Sloan’s book and you are fired up! You have an idea that you are certain will make make the invention of those small yellow sticky notes look like small potatoes. Not only that, but you are so proud of yourself, because you have done exhaustive [...]

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To move forward, work backward

Have you ever heard someone say, “let’s do a work back”? I met with a techie recently who was talking about how he approaches creating a great website. He said, “My preferred strategy is to write out the wish list and then do a work back plan." He was referring to the same concept that [...]

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Why can’t I get anything done?

I have so much to do today, but the gods of entrepreneurism are not on my side. My car unexpectedly developed a crunchy noise, so I spent most of the morning waiting in a dealership wasting precious daycare time. The next thing I know, I am picking up the boys. My older one was supposed [...]

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Planning to Write Your Business Plan

My new company’s business plan went from beta to final release today. I’m very proud of the final product, and am excited to circle back to to prospective investors. In my opinion, Jeff and Rich have written the definitive "how-to" on business plan authorship. But how do you plan to write a business plan? I [...]

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Does your business plan include blue jeans?

It’s often quite fascinating to see how the mind of an entrepreneur jumps from one thought to another. Readers of this blog are familiar with how typical everyday events are the supporting content for what ends up written here. Today I was reading an article in the Washington Post about Yahoo search running on all [...]

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Does your business plan include an exit strategy?

I was reading an article on WashingtonPost.com about how social search startups have sprung up to fill in the gaps that the larger search engines like Google and Yahoo! have left open. It’s an interesting read and made me think of how important it is for any business, whether you’re internet based or home based [...]

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Your evolving business plan

I was going through old files recently, and came across some archived business plans from several past companies. Man, how things change… Business Plans are necessary inasmuch as they put your company’s strategy on paper. You’re forced to think about how you will accomplish your objectives, and if you’re raising capital, the business plan is [...]

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NFL Players: Life planning after football

It’s Super Bowl week here in Detroit and StartupNation is heading to a special NFL players sanctioned event this afternoon. The Sloan brothers are giving a presentation to current and former NFL players and other professional athletes on the value of networking to enhance their career after their playing days are over. Many players take [...]

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War of words: ‘Vetting’ a business idea

We often blog about interesting language creeping into the business vocabulary… words like "flesh out," which brought out all the linguaphiles. Well, this next one we think we resolved without your help. But maybe we’re wrong–that’s for you to comment on. In this case, the explanation was staring us in the face for many years. [...]

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Finding the ”where” of success

In Rich Karlgaard’s book, Life 2.0, he focuses on how people have transformed their lives by moving to a new city, town, tract of land. In reading the book, it reinforced our belief that it’s key to pursue the things that make you happy and then build a business around that. Basically, the book argues [...]

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