Have you been dreaming about starting a business in 2018? Are you over your paycheck job and ready to invest in your own idea? January is a perfect time to start moving towards becoming a business owner. If you think you are ready, I’ve developed the perfect system to plan your dream business.
I remember when I was just like you. I had a horrible boss that made it impossible for me to see my future working in Corporate America. I was getting headaches on the way to work in the morning. I got the idea to start my own business back in college, and I realized that the only way I was going to be happy was to finally pursue it. I used every spare moment to research and plan my new business.
That was over 20 years ago. Along the way I made many expensive mistakes, but I believe, I went through all of that to help you sidestep early challenges in business. According to the Small Business Administration, only half new businesses survive five years.
One of things you must do is create a plan for your new business. I’ve created a 12-month planning process to starting a successful business called the Emerson Planning System which can be found in my bestselling book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, 2nd Edition. Here’s a quick summary of my 6 steps.
Life Plan: Before investing time in a Business Plan, you must first figure out what you want out of life. By developing a life plan, it will enable you to build a business that aligns with your personal life goals. Too many people start businesses that are not good for them and their families. Your life plan should outline your personal, professional, and retirement goals. You also need a life plan before you even write a business plan.
Financial Plan: Can you afford to become your own boss? Can you go without a paycheck for a year or two? It takes 18-24 months for a business to break even, let alone replace your corporate salary. Your ability to save has everything to do with your ability to start a business. Develop a financial plan to assess your full financial picture. Start by calculating your net worth. Develop a budget. Over the next 12 months, start saving 20%-40% of every paycheck. You should also have a 750 or higher credit score. You also need to eliminate as much debt as possible.
Your Business Concept: You should look at what skills you have and what skills you need to run your particular business. Be honest when making your list of skills. If you are not sure, ask three people close you to what they think are your best skills. You may need to work part-time for a business like the one you want to start to gather industry experience.
Marketing Plan: The most important questions about your business idea are: who’s buying and why will they buy from you? Develop a marketing plan before the business plan to make sure there is a viable market for your product or service. Just remember, if everyone can use your business no one will. Focus on a specific customer and how your will reach that customer.
Business Plan: A well thought out business plan is your roadmap for success. Developing your business plan will help you think through how you are going to operate the business. it will also help you clarify your sales goals and how you will reach marketing channels. Don’t be one of those business owners who spends more time working on your logo than you spend working on your business plan. I suggest starting out using business plan software to get started. Then, enroll in a business plan class at a SBDC Small Business Development Center or SCORE office to finish the business plan. Typically, you need help to finish your financials.
Start as a Side Hustler: I don’t believe is quitting a job to start a business. Start your business while you are still working. Until you are making really money be a side hustler. Use your evenings and weekends to work on your business. Find more time in the day by working flex hours, stop watching TV, scale back on volunteer service, operate with less sleep. Here’s my blog series on The Do’s and Don’t of Side Hustling.
12 months might seem like a long time, but I’m here to tell you…. the longer you plan, learn your target customer, and save more money, and the more likely you are to succeed as your own boss. Grab a copy of my book Become Your Own Boss in12 Months, 2nd Edition today. It will give you a head start as you set out lunch your dream business.