by Wendy Rodriguez, guest blogger
In my work as a financial advisor I often meet people that want to start a new business but seemingly become paralyzed by the lack of a plan. They may have spent countless hours thinking up an idea and day dreaming about where they would love for it to be located, who they will serve, and all the accolades they will receive for a job well done, but it all comes crashing down when they seriously ask themselves “so where do I start?”
The first step to starting your own business is certainly coming up with a viable idea, but the next very important step is writing it down. Completing a business plan will help you focus your vision and force you to begin doing the research necessary to turn your dream into a reality. I once took a business plan writing course at the East Harlem Business Capital Corporation here in New York, and I was amazed at how detailed you have to get to create a good business plan. One of the most helpful tips I received during this course was: Research, research, research. I know, it seems so obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t take action in this area never making any progress towards starting their business.
The more you know about your industry the better prepared you will be when it’s time to put together your own business plan. Peruse business plans for businesses similar to yours to get an idea of what topics they cover. Locate other small businesses in your region that are similar to yours and try to set up informational interviews with their owners to learn more about this type of business first hand from someone with experience. I say try, because not all will be willing or have the time to, but some certainly will. According to the US Small Business Administration “A business plan is an essential roadmap for business success. This living, breathing document generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to reach, maintain and grow revenues”. If you have never written a business plan before, this is a good website to learn how to create one.
You can also learn about creating a business plan and other topics related to starting a business by taking courses. If you are like me and prefer a structured classroom setting, you can locate your local U.S. small business administration office and sign up to take a free course. If you are in New York City, another great resource for free classes are the NYC Business Solutions centers. If you like the structure of a course but do not have time to attend one in person, you should consider an online course . Whatever route you choose, taking action on research and planning will help you get the ball rolling.
The process of preparing yourself to start your business may seem tedious and arduous, but it’s all so necessary for your success. Starting with a strong foundation by having a detailed plan for your business will ensure that that you start with the right foot forward and are prepared for the road ahead.
Wendy Rodriguez is a Finacial Advisor that’s secretly obsessed with interior design and fashion…go figure. See her new blog Coralsinspirations on styling and fashion buys that don’t break the bank.