Writing a Business Plan: Open Door Phase
For weeks now, we’ve been outlining a business plan according to CLo; all the things I utilize when it comes to putting together a business plan.
Today, we’re looking at what it takes to get to the “open door phase.” When I say that, I mean what it takes to literally open the doors, be ready for business and start selling your products or services.
I have seen too many entrepreneurs create a decent business plan only to have no way or no one execute it. The question I always ask is, “What work needs to be done and who’s going to do it?”
Here’s a list of possible needs to get the business off of the ground:
- Sales – This is always going to be my number one focus. I don’t care if you have a warehouse full of product, until you have a sale, you don’t exist. Who is going to sell your product or service? Usually it’s you in the beginning, but figure this out. If it’s someone else, will they be paid a base salary, draw against commission, or straight commission while they fill a pipeline?
- Website – It’s imperative to have a website. It’s more important than business cards, or even a phone number in many situations. Are you going to tackle the website on your own, or hire someone to build the site? Either way, what are the costs involved? How much time will it take?
- SEO – While the term SEO is quickly fading away, the concept of search engine optimization is still very real. Once you have your site up, how will you make sure people find you? I’ve been using SmarterSearches.com for awhile now and consult with Courtney Herda monthly.
- Administration – No matter how you look at it, you will have admin needs. This is never my first hire as a start-up because it’s a fixed expense, but if it allows you to sell and bring in the cash-ola, then it might be the best move. Start with a virtual assistant for 5 hours a week and see how much extra time you have to sell or work on other areas of the business when the admin responsibilities are off your plate.
- Accounting – I’m a firm believer that YOU should start the accounting yourself. Entrepreneurs who don’t do (and understand) the accounting FAIL! Get a grasp on it, keep it up to date, and when it’s time, maybe farm the bookkeeping side of it out. But ALWAYS have an accountability process that checks the work of who ever is doing your books. That may be you going through the bank statement each month until you have someone else you can trust. Freshbooks is a great free resource to get started with.
Check out my 5 Free Resources post for additional tools to get organized and build your business. These are just a few things you need to be prepared to put into place before launching a business, or even a project.
- How much will it cost?
- How many hours will it take?
- Do I have part-time or full-time team members?
- Am I subcontracting instead of hiring? (Personal favorite in the beginning.)
- Am I wearing multiple hats and do I have time to?
- How many hats are my team members wearing in the beginning?
People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. Having this info early will give you a greater chance of succeeding. And who knows, it might even show you that you don’t have the available resources to pull it off, so you can’t.
5 thoughts on “Business Plan: Open Door Phase”
As with any plan you need to keep the end result in mind and focus on the steps/goals needed to get you there. Great post Chris!
Chris, I totally agree with the last point on accounting.
The two biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs make are not getting help at all (control freaks) and outsourcing/hiring others on day one.
An entrepreneur has to understand some level of accounting and SEO and marketing to be successful. When I started my last company, I was forced to learn some basic programming. Years later, who do you think led the team of programmers until we could find the right person? Yep. Me. And I was decent enough at it because I knew the basics.
Good tip on the admin, Chris. Whether your assistant is physically present or virtual, it’s important to free up your time.
As David Allen of “Getting Things Done” advises: “Only do what only you can do.”
Big topic, way to tackle it. What’s your personal favorite way to pay sales? Straight commission…? Salary + commission…?
Thanks for this, Chris. Great reminders.