Build a Sound Business Foundation

Sometimes people will start an internet business that has no business background at all. This is a big reason for the high failure rate of new internet entrepreneurships. If you do not have an education in business, then you would be very wise indeed to speak with those who are well versed in business.

An internet business of any kind is a BUSINESS. It must be run like a business and it must be build upon sound business practices. The only ‘dumb’ questions are those that are never asked. You need information and the best way there is to get the information that you need is to simply ask questions of those who have the answers.

There are courses available both out in the brick and mortar world as well as on the internet about how to set up and run a successful business. You can’t abide by the rules if you don’t know what the rules are. Do your homework before you launch your business.

You need to lay a rock solid foundation so that your new business doesn’t become one of the casualties that are caused by poor planning or even no planning. You need a business plan. You need a business model and it needs to be one that you can understand and follow. Jumping in and hoping for the best isn’t a plan. That will only insure that your new internet business will not still be in existence four months from now.

Take your time, choose the right business, and people to work with wisely!

I had to learn this the hard way but you don’t have to.


Five Steps to a Rock Solid Business Foundation for Solo Entrepreneurs

“An accurate plan poorly implemented is more successful and effective than a vague or generic plan implemented with brilliant precision.” – Author unknown.

Just about everyone in the business world agrees that planning is important and has some value. Before you can decide on an approach to planning, however, it’s important to think about who is asking you for your plan and what purpose it will serve.

For example:

If a loan officer at the bank asks to see your plan, he is primarily interested in reviewing your financial projections to make sure you can repay your debt.

If a venture capitalist asks to see your plan, she is primarily interested in discerning the return on her investment in your business idea.

If an employee asks you about your plan, he is seeking clear direction so he can successfully contribute on the job and earn his salary.

As a solo entrepreneur, you are looking to focus your efforts on ensuring the success of your business and optimizing the use of your time. We want to focus on doing the 20% that makes 80% of the difference.

A common mistake people make in business is that they take action without getting clear and accurate direction on a few key things before they start. To solve this problem, I suggest that people start with a written Situation Analysis.

The Situation Analysis is simple to do if you break it down into sequential steps. Writing clarifies the logic. If you try to do it all in your head, think about it all at once, or attack the steps in the wrong sequence, the clarity and accuracy you seek with the exercise is much more difficult to achieve.

5 Steps to a Clear and Accurate Business Foundation

Clarity is determining who your customers really are and if they really need your services.

Accuracy is not misleading yourself with opinions and interpretations, but rather dealing with the facts related to the opportunity.

There are multiple aspects of your situation to consider, but the five primary considerations are your customer, your offer, your business development strategy, pricing and industry trends.

1. Your Customer

Have you clearly identified your customer?

What are the customer’s needs, wants, and desires?

Are you clear about the problems you can help them solve?

How many people have these problems (i.e., what’s the size of the market)?

What things does the customer want to accomplish?

Who is the decision maker within the customer’s organization?

Who are the key decision influencers?

What is the decision-making process the customer will use to say “yes” or “no” to your offer?

Use data and facts throughout your analysis whenever possible, not speculation or hope-fors. The information you need can often be obtained with conversations with potential customers and market surveys. You will want to ask: “How often do you have this problem? How important is it to you to solve this problem? How would you personally benefit if the problem were solved?” Some of the core benefits to the customer may include achieving their goals, increasing revenue, increasing productivity, saving time, and increasing security.

2. Your Offer

After you have clarity about the customer, the next step is to be clear about the programs, services, and products you will offer. If you are clear about the customer’s problems, it will be easier to get clear about what you will need to offer to satisfy those problems. Put your offers in ranked order of opportunity and focus your efforts in the highest leverage areas.

3. Your Business Development Strategy

My experience is that solo entrepreneurs tend to waste a lot of time working on their marketing materials prematurely. An effective business development strategy is best developed after you’re clear about your customers and the problems you will solve. What are the materials and tactics needed to effectively communicate your offering to potential customers? Possibilities include an executive summary, sales sheet, business cards, face-to-face networking, public speaking, and perhaps an active blog and social media presence.

4. Pricing

What value are you bringing to solving the problem for your customer? What does the competition charge for a similar offering? An effective pricing strategy will take both of these factors into consideration.

5. Industry trends

My observation is that the trends in the industry, if not monitored correctly, can act like a brick through the front window. What are the trends in your industry and that of your customer? Are you able to step into a trend that is going to create an opportunity or are you stepping into a trend of a diminishing market? Examples of industry trends include innovation, government intervention, and the economic climate.

Learn more about performing your own Situation Analysis on my sister website, Stepping Through the Gate by downloading my 4 step planning process.

Now it’s your turn.

Are you being crystal clear about a specific customer you are targeting and the set of problems you are trying to solve or are you trying to be all things to all people?

Are you clear about the problems you solve or the conditions you eliminate with your services, programs, and products?

When you can answer “yes” to these 2 questions, your life will be easier and your efforts to develop your new business will be more productive.

Building a Business Foundation

Perhaps you are new, or you are just getting started with your internet or retail or other business. There is no difference. It can be very scary. I know that I was scared when I started 7 years ago. It was March 2003. I was close to $200,000 in debt. Even my ex husband choose to leave me for another woman. It was scary But I drew strength from my belief in beginning with a solid foundation. The term foundation means your mindset and contact list. These are the only assets that you have to build a firm, solid foundation which able to let you to develop a building where the sky is really the limit.

There is so much to say about mindset which take years to talk about it and understand all that we should.

There is two quotes of mindset. ” Great Spirits have always encountered violent opposition from medicine minds” by Albert Einstein. ” A wise man is a master of his mind and a fool is a slave to it” by unknown author.When this two quotes added up it becomes if you resolved to succeed, you will. You must be focused. You have to put the blinders on. You have to steer clear of all the garbage advice that you get from the naysayers and the dream stealers.

We all get “NO” and “Dollar store guidance” from our relatives or friends, but those who can stay focused are the ones who succeed. Think of Columbus, everyone told him to sail off a cliff, or Colonel sanders who got 1009 “No” before he got financing. Those guys certainly had mindset and focus. They never let the dream stealers get in their way.

Your mindset sets your course which establishes your attitude, habits, work ethic and drive. It is the thing that makes your press for the closing sales for your business. Is your mind set on you treating this work like a hobby ( you know, kind of doing it here and there, sticking your tow in the water and seeing it works) or is your mind set on you making this be the last business that you will ever have to be build( you are going to reach your goals no matter what obstacles you face)

The other part of foundation is contact list. This will be congruent with your mindset. If you are going to treat this like a hobby, you will come up with a few names to add to your contact list. If this is going to be the last business you will ever build you are going to write down everyone you have ever known.

Are you clairvoyant? Do you really know what is going on in their lives? So do not be a fortune teller. Do not presume what is in their mind before you contact them about your business opportunity. By the way, if you have a strong mindset and you are going to treat this like a business, you will be willing to contact everyone you know. Every time you leave someone off your list or miss someone that you know, you potentially leaving millions of dollars behind. You also must do follow up with those that have done business with you.