What your lender wants to know about YOU Applying for a small business loan can be stressful. Some lenders might even make you feel like you’re in the Spanish Inquisition as they dig into things like your personal credit score, your business credit profile, and other data points in your business and personal life. You’re [...]Continue Reading
Posts Tagged “business plan”
It is common practice to set New Year’s resolutions in our personal lives, but how often do we do it for our business? As you look forward to running your small business in 2012, think about what resolutions you can make specific to your marketing plan that will give you the most buzz for your buck. [...]Continue Reading
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. [...]Continue Reading
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 [...]Continue Reading
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.
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.
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, [...]Continue Reading
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 [...]Continue Reading
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 [...]Continue Reading
For most people, their eBay business dominates their lives… Day in and day out, business owners are working IN their business, looking for new products to sell, listing items for sale, answering customer service emails, organizing their inventory, packaging up orders…. Does this sound like you? It used to sound like me, but it doesn’t [...]Continue Reading
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 [...]Continue Reading
This has been an interesting week – not so much business-wise, but due to a friend’s personal problem that is affecting us. My husband’s boss (and good friend) just found out that his wife of 20-years has been cheating on him… with his best friend. This has caused him to go off the deep end. [...]Continue Reading
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 [...]Continue Reading
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 [...]Continue Reading
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 [...]Continue Reading
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 [...]Continue Reading
You know the weekend is over when your spouse heads out the door to the office and hands you a plunger while giving you a kiss goodbye. I don’t know about you, but something in the universe made time run double fast for me in the past few days. I did many things, but can’t [...]Continue Reading
Do you recycle all of your bottles and cans? You know you should. Do you cheat on your taxes–inflate those entertainment expenses just a tad? You know you shouldn’t. Do you know someone who you think may be breaking some law, but you’re not sure, and you really don’t want to find out? These are [...]Continue Reading
Life is full of give & take choices. Finding that balance that works for your own life plan is one of the essential keys to success. For entrepreneurs in the early startup phase, it’s often the simplest of things that get compromised in order to build toward the independent dream life that owning your own [...]Continue Reading
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 [...]Continue Reading
We get lots of questions here at StartupNation. People are hungry for information about how to start and grow their dream business. One of the most popular questions is about how to write a business plan. We devote Step 3 in our 10 Steps to Open For Business series to creating a business plan. We [...]Continue Reading
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 [...]Continue Reading