Business Planning Essentials: What you need to know before you start

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Before you knuckle down to write your business plan, you should consider the variables that work together to make a successful entrepreneur.

Expert adviser, Jenny Ungless, reveals the key points to consider:

  1. Have courage and self-belief: It takes guts to step out and do your own thing. Especially when there will always be people who think you're crazy and have no hesitation in telling you so! To be a successful entrepreneur you need to have the courage of your convictions and unshakeable belief in yourself and your business. And that belief comes much easier if you know where you're going and how you're going to get there. Let's face it, if you don't believe in yourself, why should anyone else?
  2. Focus and prioritise: Successful people spend time on the parts of their business that matter, that fulfill their targets and goals. The devil is in the detail, and they know what detail to focus on. As you embark on your journey as an entrepreneur you'll learn how to separate the important tasks from the less important and prioritise effectively. The tasks that will make a difference to your goals will become clear so the less important tasks can be delegated or rescheduled. Organising your time will be one of your biggest challenges, so you need to be able to focus.
  3. Persevere: Calvin Coolidge said “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence,” and that's certainly true in the world of business. The successful entrepreneur is the person who is prepared to try and try again, without getting downhearted and giving up. It's all about your mindset and attitude: successful people are those people who've failed in the past and used their failure as a chance to learn. Of course you'll make mistakes along the way - we all do. But that's how we learn. Everyone thinks that JK Rowling, the millionaire authoress of the Harry Potter series made her fortune overnight. Not so: it took her five years to write the first book, and she was rejected by dozens of publishers before someone finally saw the potential of Harry Potter. Think how different things would have been if she'd given up at the first, second or even third hurdle! Remember, failure is only the chance to begin again, only this time more wisely.
  4. Draw up a business plan with clear goals: "Failing to plan is planning to fail", is a phrase no truer than in the world of business. You need to know exactly what you're going to sell and how, and - more importantly - who's going to buy it. If you haven't got the motivation to write a plan, or you haven't got the answers to the questions that the plan poses, then running your business will be very much like heading to a destination with no map, no guidance, no signposts. You'd be far more likely to fail completely or waste a whole lot of time along the way.
  5. Put a support network in place: Successful people know that they can't do it all. In business, as soon as you think you know it all and can do it all, you're doomed. Continuous learning and realizing that other people's strengths can fill the gaps in your skillset or knowledge base, is key to business success. Asking for help, guidance and encouragement isn't a sign of weakness. It's part of taking responsibility. And besides, people like to give advice and will be delighted to help you if you ask - but it is your responsibility to ask! Beware of those however who give you negative responses, always. Perhaps they will tell you your idea will never work, or you're not cut out for business. More likely they're jealous that you're taking charge of your life and pursuing your dream. I call these people “dream stealers” - don't let them steal yours. Surround yourself with positive, enthusiastic and encouraging people.
  6. Take responsibility: Successful people take responsibility for their own success and avoid the victim mentality. Succeeding in business isn't about “luck” or “being in the right place at the right time”. It's about accepting that it's down to you to make it work, and then making sure that you give your very best. Thomas Jefferson said “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have”. And “luck is where preparedness meets opportunity.” Whether you succeed or fail in your business venture is entirely up to you, so take responsibility and be prepared.

And that's where good planning comes in...

For more help with planning your business ......use a Striding Out Business Coach to help you move forward -  Business Motivation Programme


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