Startup Coaching - New Business Start-Up Step 1 of 8 12% Opportunities People WANT this product or service. (They may also need it.) I have at least 6-12 months of expenses (both personal and business) in the bank before starting. People know what it is that I am selling; it is familiar. I don't need to spend hours educating them. I have used this product or service, know its value first-hand, and totally believe in it. My family, banker, attorney, CPA, and coach are all supportive of this venture. I have experimented FIRST for at least 90-180 days with the field or the business so I have evidence that it works, not just a plan or a gut sense. I have at least 1 year of strong and successful experience in this field or industry. Even if this one fails, it will train me well and put me in touch with more opportunities. I don't NEED this business, either personally or financially. Instead, I WANT it very much. This opportunity has very low overhead, so I'll have flexibility and be able to afford the learning curve. Business Skills Problem Solver & Preventer: I easily reduce a complex problem to bite-sized pieces and then take extra steps so that this type of problem NEVER occurs again. Leadership: I direct people and efforts easily and well. Respect: I honor people. I respect their unique contributions, and I include them in decisions. My staff are my customers. Emotionally healthy adult: I don't get my needs met by staff or customers. I don't get angry or react. I don't take things personally. This business is a game. Eagerness to risk: I am willing to constantly try new things, innovate, make it easier and better, go for it, and risk a portion of the money I have. Dedication: I am totally dedicated to being the best, to making lots of money, and to building an extraordinary company. Consistency: I have enough personal discipline to stick to this and carry it out. I self-manage and initiate. I don't need lots of support. Manager: I manage the operation, and am aware of the specific outcomes, factors, and early warning indicators that will make or break me. Adequate Reserve: I always have more than I need: time, cash, space, skills, staff, sales, opportunities. Influence: I am not afraid of people (especially staff, vendors, prospects, and customers). I have no problem telling them what they should do. Notes & CommitmentsOf the items you left unchecked, what do you want to work on next? Why? What commitment can you make to check that box over the next 30 days? The Plan I have outlined each person's job and how (and how often) they report to me. My top three goals are clear. I've written them down and I have a dashboard system to show me how I'm performing against them. I have completed a pro forma sales and expense forecast for the next 3, 6, 12, and 36 months of this business. I have used well-sourced sales projections to establish inventory, personnel, and cash needs. I'm willing to rewrite or even scrap my plan if the market dictates a change in what I sell or how I sell it. I track my action plan weekly to see if I am on course. I have engaged a success team that includes an attorney, a business consultant, CPA, and other professionals I know how much I'm going to do and how much I'm going to delegate. I have a detailed budget for the next 3 months, including equipment, capital expenditures, organizational expenses, and other costs. I have written out a step-by-step action plan for key operations, and I have scheduled time to review/update that list every quarter. Sales Tools & Effort I have written, polished, and memorized my key selling points and my unique value proposition. The organization has a daily sales quota and I manage it. As a percentage of revenue, my marketing costs are relatively low I have set up a great system to prompt word of mouth and referrals. I don't rely solely on my marketing. I have built a relationship-based sales system that adjusts to fit a prospect's needs and wants. Only those who can really sell are selling, even if that means just me. I don't train weak salespeople. Every part of the company is designed to support the sales effort, from concept, to quality control, to delivery. I have the right content (website, social media, brochures) to attract my ideal customers. I know how to ask for the sale, so I get paid. My organization is attractive rather than seductive. We attract prospects like a magnet without resorting to stunts or constant promotions. Notes & CommitmentsOf the items you left unchecked, what do you want to work on next? Why? What commitment can you make to check that box over the next 30 days? Policies and Procedures Staff meetings are creative, reportive, and focused on professional development vs. being chatty or confrontive. My team members know how to confirm a policy/procedure without having to ask me. With guidance from an attorney, I have selected the best legal form of business. I have a daily or weekly checklist of what must be done and by whom. Accounting/bookkeeping gets done easily, accurately, and timely. I get frequent financial status reports, and I'm not surprised by the trends. The company has a policies and procedures manual. I delegate decisions, even if that raises the risk that someone might make a mistake. My business is so well planned and controlled that if our main office were leveled this afternoon, we'd be back in business by tomorrow morning. (Or have the insurance money to help.) I have designed company systems to minimize paper storage and compliance procedures. I have a monthly and quarterly checklist of what must be done and by whom. Profits and Revenue My target market is well defined, can afford to buy, and I can access it easily with the network and tools I have. I have patience for the market to decide and buy, so I'm not making decisions based on being over-leveraged. I've set up the company to value high profits over fast growth. I'm not selling buggy whips: there is a strong, profitable future in my field. I create and sell products that my clients tell me they need/want. I can afford the mistakes that my team and I WILL make. My business setup doesn't require massive risk. I have plans for future additional products and revenue streams. I am naturally frugal, although I'm willing to invest cash in my business to make even more money. I pay cash for capital expenditures I'm good at hearing my customers' unspoken requests. Notes & CommitmentsOf the items you left unchecked, what do you want to work on next? Why? What commitment can you make to check that box over the next 30 days? Long Term Success My team understands and backs our company's mission statement. I updated my policies and procedures manual at least annually I continually upgrade all aspects of my operational systems for the highest possible productivity. I have implemented rigorous (but lucrative) incentive plans for all key employees. My company's mission statement is authentic and reflects my feelings and thoughts perfectly. I have assembled a 5-member board of advisors with whom I meet monthly and respond to their counsel. I am building a strong, positive reputation in my niche. I know how to do this, and how to measure my success. I continually add value to my product or service. My customers can easily articulate the benefits of my services and products. I don't just keep up with my competitors. I eclipse them by setting my targets higher, deeper, and uniquely mine. Specific Outcomes I know my sales costs percentage. I know what my net profit needs to be. I know what my gross profit margins are. I know my current and aged receivables. I know how quickly I collect my receivables. I know my referral rate as a percentage of sales. I know what my inventory re-order points are. I know my cash flow needs. I know my daily/weekly sales goals and results. I have a dashboard or reporting system that communicates key performance indicators automatically. Notes & CommitmentsOf the items you left unchecked, what do you want to work on next? Why? What commitment can you make to check that box over the next 30 days? Personal Life I have plenty of personal funds. My family loves and enjoys my company. I am a model for other entrepreneurs/CEOs. I don't "do" stress. Nothing's worth that. I take excellent care of my health. I have a strong personal foundation I am proud of myself as I am. I have a "right hand person" or executive assistant who handles key details so that I have space. I have something "better to do" than work at the end of each work day. I am adrenaline and addiction free. Notes & CommitmentsOf the items you left unchecked, what do you want to work on next? Why? What commitment can you make to check that box over the next 30 days? I am...*in a position to react.responsible.I am...*focused on growth.profitable now.I am...*pouring as many hours as possible into my business.minimizing how much I work.I am...*leading people.managing tasks.I...*prioritize my tasks.follow the agendas of others. I am...*a penny pincher.frugal.I...*go for broke with every business decision.value risks and calculated experiments.I think of my business as...*my ultimate passion.a fun and challenging game.I...*control my team's actions.support my team.I value...*my ego.myself. Final Thoughts*Before the system assesses your score, what do you want to remember about this exercise? How are you feeling right now? Are there areas of your business or of your life that you want to focus on improving over the next few months?