Startup Coaching - New Business Start-Up Step 1 of 8 12% Opportunities People know what it is that I am selling; it is familiar. I don't need to spend hours educating them. I have at least 6-12 months of expenses (both personal and business) in the bank before starting. Even if this one fails, it will train me well and put me in touch with more opportunities. I have at least 1 year of strong and successful experience in this field or industry. 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. People WANT this product or service. (They may also need it.) I don't NEED this business, either personally or financially. Instead, I WANT it very much. I have used this product or service, know its value first-hand, and totally believe in it. This opportunity has very low overhead, so I'll have flexibility and be able to afford the learning curve. Business Skills 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. Respect: I honor people. I respect their unique contributions, and I include them in decisions. My staff are my customers. Dedication: I am totally dedicated to being the best, to making lots of money, and to building an extraordinary company. 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. Leadership: I direct people and efforts easily and well. Influence: I am not afraid of people (especially staff, vendors, prospects, and customers). I have no problem telling them what they should do. 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. 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. 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. 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 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 used well-sourced sales projections to establish inventory, personnel, and cash needs. I have engaged a success team that includes an attorney, a business consultant, CPA, and other professionals 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. 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 have a detailed budget for the next 3 months, including equipment, capital expenditures, organizational expenses, and other costs. I track my action plan weekly to see if I am on course. I have outlined each person's job and how (and how often) they report to me. I know how much I'm going to do and how much I'm going to delegate. I have completed a pro forma sales and expense forecast for the next 3, 6, 12, and 36 months of this business. Sales Tools & Effort The organization has a daily sales quota and I manage it. Only those who can really sell are selling, even if that means just me. I don't train weak salespeople. I have built a relationship-based sales system that adjusts to fit a prospect's needs and wants. My organization is attractive rather than seductive. We attract prospects like a magnet without resorting to stunts or constant promotions. I have set up a great system to prompt word of mouth and referrals. I don't rely solely on my marketing. I have the right content (website, social media, brochures) to attract my ideal customers. I have written, polished, and memorized my key selling points and my unique value proposition. I know how to ask for the sale, so I get paid. Every part of the company is designed to support the sales effort, from concept, to quality control, to delivery. As a percentage of revenue, my marketing costs are relatively low 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. I have a daily or weekly checklist of what must be done and by whom. My team members know how to confirm a policy/procedure without having to ask me. I have designed company systems to minimize paper storage and compliance procedures. 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.) The company has a policies and procedures manual. Accounting/bookkeeping gets done easily, accurately, and timely. I get frequent financial status reports, and I'm not surprised by the trends. I have a monthly and quarterly checklist of what must be done and by whom. I delegate decisions, even if that raises the risk that someone might make a mistake. With guidance from an attorney, I have selected the best legal form of business. Profits and Revenue I can afford the mistakes that my team and I WILL make. My business setup doesn't require massive risk. 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 have plans for future additional products and revenue streams. My target market is well defined, can afford to buy, and I can access it easily with the network and tools I have. I create and sell products that my clients tell me they need/want. I'm good at hearing my customers' unspoken requests. 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 have patience for the market to decide and buy, so I'm not making decisions based on being over-leveraged. 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 company's mission statement is authentic and reflects my feelings and thoughts perfectly. I continually upgrade all aspects of my operational systems for the highest possible productivity. I updated my policies and procedures manual at least annually I don't just keep up with my competitors. I eclipse them by setting my targets higher, deeper, and uniquely mine. I have implemented rigorous (but lucrative) incentive plans for all key employees. I continually add value to my product or service. I am building a strong, positive reputation in my niche. I know how to do this, and how to measure my success. My customers can easily articulate the benefits of my services and products. I have assembled a 5-member board of advisors with whom I meet monthly and respond to their counsel. My team understands and backs our company's mission statement. Specific Outcomes I know what my net profit needs to be. I know my referral rate as a percentage of sales. I know how quickly I collect my receivables. I have a dashboard or reporting system that communicates key performance indicators automatically. I know my sales costs percentage. I know my current and aged receivables. I know what my inventory re-order points are. I know my daily/weekly sales goals and results. I know my cash flow needs. I know what my gross profit margins are. 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. I don't "do" stress. Nothing's worth that. My family loves and enjoys my company. I have a "right hand person" or executive assistant who handles key details so that I have space. I take excellent care of my health. I am adrenaline and addiction free. I have a strong personal foundation I am proud of myself as I am. I have something "better to do" than work at the end of each work day. I am a model for other entrepreneurs/CEOs. 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...* follow the agendas of others. prioritize my tasks. I am...* a penny pincher. frugal. I...* value risks and calculated experiments. go for broke with every business decision. I think of my business as...* a fun and challenging game. my ultimate passion. I...* support my team. control my team's actions. I value...* myself. my ego. 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?