By nature, a Start-Up business is seeking to solve a problem. It will need to innovate and push the boundaries to be successful. Assessing the feasibility of a new business idea and then developing a value proposition around a service or product is a great step forward. Carrying out market research and speaking to potential customers can further validate a Start-Up proposition. And, of course, writing a business plan will help you to anticipate the challenges ahead, secure investment, & guide your business growth.
Your business plan will detail how you will execute on your opportunity. However, even when your business plan is in place, and you think all your ducks are in a row, the start-up environment will provide you with one of constant change that throws up new hurdles and challenges to overcome. It is how you deal with these hurdles on a professional and personal level that will set you apart from your competitors and see your business succeed or fail. Here are some thoughts from Our Team who have all been immersed in the Start-Up environment.
1) Front Up. Don’t let your passion for what you do make you blind to reality. In the heat of the moment it is easy to play down (or ignore) issues that could affect your core business. It is natural to want to defend your proposition. But rather than push them to one side, get them out on the table early on. The more you face the issues, the more you will have the opportunity to de-risk your business. It may even be necessary to adjust your business model or strategy but better to do that early on. Be honest with yourself and others early – it will save pain (and potential failure) in the long-term.
2) Seek advice. No-one has all the skill-sets to drive a Start-Up. Recognise your limitations and build a team around you with relevant expertise to compensate for this. Build a network of support (unpaid, professional, informal, non-executive) and draw on this to address problems as they arise. You don’t have to know everything, you just have to know where to find the answers so you can make the best decisions.
3) Be Professional… & Ruthless. When you come across a challenge, deal with it professionally and without exception. The way you manage challenges sends a message to your employees, investors, and partners. A number of relatively small floating problems can drain a business and pull it down, and may become a threat to your success. Executing a business plan relies on the ability to deliver success in a changing environment where others are trying to out-compete you. Its tough! If you deal with issues openly, professionally and ruthlessly and in a timely manner you will gain the respect of those around you.
The Business Plan Team
Jon has 25+ years of commercial experience in Start-ups, SMEs & large Corporations that include Clear Channel UK and Shandwick plc. He has been involved in business plan consultancy across multiple sectors and brings first-hand experience of creating commercial propositions from a business idea through to a market ready proposition, building management teams and structures, financial forecasting, investment proposals, product development and fund-raising. The Business Plan Team specialises in helping entrepreneurs, start-ups and growing businesses translate their vision into a coherent and executable business plan that can help secure funding and drive business growth. It is based in just outside Oxford, UK.