If you are like most entrepreneurs, you are by nature an impatient person. You have your image for your big-picture idea and are itching to take your concept from napkin to execution. Before you rush out and start executing your plan, it is important to take the time to research the market, set goals and outline a working model to reach those goals.
Creating a working model for your business is the first step to executing your Big Idea. Although the strategies you use to accomplish your goals will evolve as you do business, the clearer you are from the start, the better a shot you have at building a winner. My advice: combine clear goals with a thought-out plan. Here are my ideas for three step-by-step approaches to turn your business dream into a reality.
1. Create Clear Goals
First, you need to start by establishing clear goals and asking yourself these key questions: What do I need to do to achieve it? What could get in the way? How am I going to overcome each challenge? Having clear goals increases an entrepreneur’s chance of success by 20 percent. Your goals must be specific, be measurable, and have deadlines. It’s not enough to say, ‘I want to make one million dollars.’ You need to say: ‘I want to earn one million dollars in net revenue by this specific date.’ Start by making a list of what you need to do. Then, break down what is required to accomplish your goal into small, manageable pieces.
2. Name the Obstacles
It is important to identify what could get in the way. To accomplish your goal of one million dollars in gross sales per quarter by a specific date with a specific profit margin, you may need to clear obstacles in your path. For example, you may need to tweak your product, refine your sales pitch, upgrade the people on your team, or find ways to reduce costs. Decide how you will overcome each roadblock. Make a list of everything you will need to do in order to break through each one.
3. Nail the Financial Model
We’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that the best way to launch our Big Idea is to sit behind our desks and write a long, detailed business plan. But, what investors really care about is your financial plan. So start with what is typically the last page of your business plan first: your financials. In my own experience I have found that once I have a basic understanding of what I’d like to build, I dig right into the numbers. Basically, I write a business plans backward. What I have learned is that once you nail a financial model where the numbers tell the story you want, the rest of the plan will write itself.
In the end, my advice is to create a strong one-page document that nails your financials and is laser-focused on your working business model.