Business Professionals Surveyed: What are the 3 most important things to you when starting a business?

NW Exec (we are a consulting and advisory firm that specializes in business development) went directly to the top executives and business professionals within our network and asked them what was most important when starting a business. A compilation the top 30 of these expert tips are organized below for our clients and subscribers to use as tools for their own business goals.

  1. Find a good accountant. They can help you in many ways, and they are risk adverse and an entrepreneur needs this as a balance.
  2. Find a good banker. If you have a good accountant they will likely help find you a good banker. “pick a banker not a bank” is a quote from someone I cannot remember, but it is true. If they are good you just got a FREE business consultant, and oddly enough they will be worth more than most you pay for.
  3. Find an attorney and HR consultant. The attorney in my field is essential and a good one is rare. I am lucky. The HR consultant is also key. Good talent, rules for them to follow, and metrics for growth will come from a good one. I went with Pamela Moore from Compass Human Resources and I will tell you she is worth every penny I paid her.
  4. Target Customers. My Target Customers and why should someone buy my product (or service). Something that works for me is -> try to put myself in their shoes and try to understand why would someone buy my product? The market differentiator that would make my product unique.
  5. Access the Demand and Benefits. Is there a demand for your product or service? What is the benefit? You need a product or service that provides a solution to a problem or a physical or emotional benefit.
  6. Business Identity. It is very important to create your own unique identity in whatever business you are in. It is also important to remember that your success relies on your ability to serve your customer, not the other way around.
  7. Get a Mentor. It is also extremely important if you are starting out; to find a mentor who is established in the business arena you want to go into. Their experience and insight can literally save you years of trial and error, and if you can create a business that is mutually beneficial, the sky is the limit to your success. What a number of people forget is the isolation and depression that most people who run companies go through. It would be advantageous to get a mentor, or even seek to job swap with some one else in a similar position (non competitive business). Here you are both able to learn and have positive impacts on each others business. It is sometimes a case of woods and trees. Getting too close to your business can blind you to faults and opportunities. The most successful people in business have all made it a point to surround themselves with many people and at least one close mentor who can be a positive influence and show them the ropes. You can learn from their failures and triumphs and have a huge advantage in your own personal journey towards business ownership!
  8. First Clients. The one and only thing that matters most when you start your business is who your first 5 clients will be, and how you would provide your product/service so that it helps them better their business.
  9. Finances Evaluation. Specifically does the business have a clear picture of their financial needs and cash flow.
  10. Business Plan. Create a simple, professional business name with a professional logo and marketing plan that integrates everything together. Your business plan (yes, you must have one) should be flexible and reviewed often. Does the business have one and how detailed is it, in terms of exploring what the business does, how it does it, and how it will tell the community. You must use a plan, then plan and revisit it on a regular basis. Use your accountant as a sounding board. From here set goals and do not become distracted, unless you identify an opportunity that is within your abilities, then go back to the plan. Planning will enable you to be single minded about your business.
  11. Marketing Plan. Related to Business Plan, but different enough that it should have its own plan which explores how new and traditional marketing will be used to establish and sustain relationships with clients and prospects. How I am going to market my business to my niche audience?
  12. Research. It has to be saleable so do your market research before you spend a dime. Research the market to establish that the product/service fulfils a need and that you can see a competitive edge to it. Test this proposition with as many stakeholder types as possible and look for the show stopper difficult questions. You have to first study about the product you want to introduce. Also the latest position about marketing that product.
  13. Referrals. Get those first customers and treat them like royalty – referral and recommendations from happy customers don’t come with a PR or marketing budget cost. Remember the practice of referrals and refer business to anyone you can. Become a resource to others, and they will be a resource to you.
  14. Focus on Goals. Don’t lose sight of the goal once the business develops its day to day momentum. If you are still in the initial stages of determining what things I should know about starting a business, then you will need to be sure to write out your financial and business goals. Make a timeline as well for when you hope to achieve them. Why do you want to start a business and what do you hope to accomplish? Do you want something hands-on that will require your presence in order to run smoothly or are you hoping for something more automated to allow a more flexible schedule for travelling and family time?
  15. Maintain Flexibility. Plan and be Flexible to take new directions if they present themselves to be sound business ventures.
  16. Business Model. The business model is how you create and capture value. Way to often people uses all their imagination on the product, thus leaving no creativity to the actual business. Business model innovation can be just as much a source of advantage or revenue as product innovation.
  17. Competitive Advantage. Any business should have something that makes it difficult for others to copy. For the startups that get loads of buzz it’s usually some IP protection (patent, copyright, design, trademark), but it can also be control over a resource that’s hard to come by (the “own the oil field” strategy), or having large switching costs (Facebook).
  18. Do What You Love. You should love what you do because you’ll be doing it all the time. For me, starting a business means pouring one’s heart and soul into that business. So, I would want to make sure that the business that I start is one that I want to make my life.
  19. Study Sales. Know how to sell because you WILL have to be a salesperson. Read everything that you can starting with Tom Hopkins’ books on selling (you are always selling, even if it is only yourself).
  20. Identity. First and foremost, before you have an idea, a plan or money, look at yourself and be honest: are you an entrepreneur? Too often, too many people start a company based on a romanticized idea of personal freedom that comes along with starting your own business. Quite the opposite is true and if you are not willing to give it all you got or if you simply to not have the skills or knowledge; don’t do it. 50% of all start-ups won’t make it through the first year and only 10% will survive over all.
  21. Cost Analysis. Possible revenues and expenses to run the business.
  22. Delegation. Will you hire employees or doing your self. Try to divide work among a partner.
  23. Location. Selecting the “right” location; some professionals will argue the top 3 things are location, location and location.
  24. Financing. You must know where your funds to operate are going to come from.  Know what your break even is each month and what it will take to become profitable.
  25. Fundamentals. You should plan on being professional, passionate about your business, and personable. If you are all those, then you would also be ethical and honest and believe in customer service.
  26. Networking. Be intelligent about providing services or products that people actually will pay for, not ones that you think they should want. Then market, network, market, and network. Remember karma, the art of giving to others what you want to receive back.
  27. Study Online Marketing. Possibly the most important of the things I should know about starting a business, is that in this day in age, almost everything is done online. Most of the world tends to shop, socialize, communicate and do business online. So whether you intend on owning a bricks and mortar business or something using the power of the internet, you will need to understand how to market your business online. Unfortunately some people think that having a website will be enough when it comes to building an online presence. But when you consider the sheer enormity of the world wide web, you need to understand that just having a website without putting any real time into properly marketing and advertising your business online to drive people to your websites, you’ll likely just float around the internet and never be found. So it is crucial that you enroll in an online marketing and mentoring school with the ability to train you in the important skills of online branding and internet marketing.
  28. The long term vision. Know that this is going to be a daunting task and a journey of many steps, focus on the prize and how you are going to get there and don’t let short term discouragement slow you down!
  29. Timing. Being ahead of, or better planned than the competition.
  30. Create your own. Email us (info@nwexec.com) or leave a comment with yours!

At NW Exec we thrive on sharing ideas and networking.  Please feel free to check us out http://nwexec.com and reach out to us.  Also invite us to your networking events!

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About Envestor First

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This entry was posted in business identity, business success, Find Accountant, Find attorney, get a mentor, marketing plan, Online Research, research, target customer, Virtual Offices, Web Design and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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