Here is a list of essencial things you must lay out before you go any further with your business idea. I personally like getting a fresh notebook, a fresh new pen, and let your brain go crazy! Honestly, this is one of my most favorite parts of the start up. Before you know it, it will be 3 a.m. and you'll wonder where the time went.
1. Mission Statement - Who is your company/ What do you want to do/ How are you going to do it?. Are you going to give back? Donate a portion of profits to a charity? A goal without a plan is just a wish.
2. Vision Statement - Where do you want your company to go/ How do you want your company perceived by the outside. Without a vision the people parish.
3. Product/Service - What is your product or service that you are going to be selling? Be the change you want to see in the world.
4. Target Market - Are you targeting Males 17-36 years old?, Females 40-55 years old?. Pick a target market and learn everything about them. Your product/service is not for everyone, your product is for a very targeted market. Niche down, and then niche down again till it hurts.
5. Marketing Strategy - How are you going to reach your target market? How are people going to find you? Website, Networking group, Social Media, meet ups?. Also, if there are others in this same field how are you going to be different than them? Hope is not a strategy.
6. Goals/Business Plan - How are you going to achieve the things you have just laid out? Do not just say "I want to create this new product before summer" instead say "I'm going to create this product by June 1". Set a game plan, have goals and aim hard for them. When do you want to launch? When you aim at nothing you hit it every time.
7. Budget - Refer back to this post about why business's fail. I suggest laying out ALL your cost to get started, everything from business cards, to your website, to your product. You need to know exactly how much this is going to cost you. A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.
8. Funding - Now that you know about how much this is all going to cost, you need to figure out how your going to fund your dream! Savings? Crowd funding? Mom and Dad? I would strongly suggest against taking out any loans to start your business. With a little creativity and slower growth you can run a business debt free.
At the end of the day the most important thing to remember is to have a blast doing this. This is YOUR business, not your mommas, dadda's, or your great uncle who started a business in 1970 that failed 3 months later. Have fun with it, be creative, innovative, and most importantly do work that matters!
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