Category Archives: From Dreams to Business Opportunities

This is the first part of setting up a new business. It starts with a dream or challenge and ends with the detailed description of a business opportunity. It helps the entrepreneur in the planning process and minimises the chance of early business failure

Finding Your Path

Todays topic could be, equally well, entitled “The Way Forward” but, in many cases, that can only be planned once the start point has been defined and identified and, sometimes, this is the most difficult point of all. We need to consolidate before we move forward.

The process of Finding Your Path goes through the following steps:

  1. Determining where you are right now (CONSOLIDATION);
  2. Finding what you WANT to do in the next phase. In other words, defining the next life step you would choose (REVIEWING);
  3. Identifying what it is that you are most likely to succeed in doing (ASSESSING);
  4. Bridging the gap between 1 and 2 above (DECIDING); and
  5. Choosing which option defined in 3 above most suits you at this stage in your life (PLANNING).

It is important to understand that life will not allow any of us a smooth and trouble-free path. It may seem that some people are blessed with such a life but, in reality, they simply are better at hiding their concerns than the rest of us. Everybody who did not start out in the Garden of Eden will experience trials and tribulations, highs and lows, triumphs and disasters and it this simple fact that makes life so very interesting.

Let us start on our journey by finding out what you want to do:

CONSOLIDATION

This step involves consolidating by appreciating what has been achieved and what has not been completed and remains outstanding. This can be achieved through completing the following steps:

  1. Compiling a “bucket list” is the first task you need to complete on this journey. If this process means nothing to you source a copy of the film by the same name and enjoy some escape time during which you will learn and enjoy;
  2. Once you have your bucket list you need to do some self-assessment with the aim of understanding how your past efforts  and the lessons you have learned have equipped you to take the next step. If this process is done correctly, then  your next phase in life will become clear and well defined. Once this has been realised, you can then set about preparing yourself to move on;
  3. This preparation will show you what you need to learn, what tools you will need and what skills will be necessary so that you can successfully complete the next phase you have chosen.
  4. The first three steps will allow you  to identify what you wish to achieve and what you will need to achieve it.
  5. The final step is planning how you will realise this next goal.

When you have finished to consolidation process you should:

  1. Know where you have come from and where you are at present; and
  2. Know what you need to sort out, learn or obtain before you can commence on the next phase of your journey through life;

You will notice there is no time limit to this process, because making a timetable limits the enjoyment to be derived from undergoing the process.

REVIEWING

In this step  you should undertake a programme which leads you to define what you are capable of completing successfully and what you are not yet capable, or confident,  of completing.

As we go through life our abilities and experience grow and change,  and this leads to changing priorities, desires, goals and needs. It is important that we re-examine these aspects of our personality whenever we reach the end of a life phase. If we do then our journey has a greater chance of progressing successfully – if we dont the opposite happens.

To achieve this level of understanding it is important that you match your likes, abilities, strengths and needs with your planned goals and objectives. Evaluating who/what you are and what makes you happy, excited, passionate and determined will lead you to the revelation of your way forward and to identify and define your next step. ths speed at which you manage this process depends on you and how much you look forward to your further development. There will  come a time in your life when you feel you want, or need, to slwo down. My hope for you is that this stage only hasppens when you have realised most of your younger dreams and aspirations.

DECIDING

Once you have consolidated and reviewed, you should then feel confident in deciding which route you now wish to follow and what goal you now wish to achieve.

In reality this situation involves the assessment of a number of competing options and your task is to choose the option that matches most closely your amibtions, abilities and desires.  If you have done the consolidation and review processes properly, the step is not difficult. It will, however, display any weakness in your preceing processes. This is not a problem because the end is seldom realised  without revision and re-evaluation. To really satisfy youself, this review and amendment process will lead to the most appropriate result.

PLANNING

Once you have completed the first three steps you will know:

  • Where you have come from;
  • Where you are in your life journey;
  •  Where you want to go on the next phase; and
  • What you wish to achieve during this journey.

The objective of this step is to work out HOW you will realise your already defined goals during this phase of your life journey.

We have developed a programme which will guide you through this process. Every time you reach the end of a life phase, the process needs to be completed and our programme will be there to guide and assist you throiugh the process.If you are intereste, just contact us and we will help you out. It should be great fun and most exciting.

In the last 10 years, in South Africa,  Nissan produced an advertising jingle which is, in this instance, most appropriate : “Life’s a Journey – enjoy the ride”. We hope you follow this advice.

 

Researching your Business Opportunity

After actioning parts 1 and 2 of “What to Look for in Choosing a Business Planning Consultant” you will, by now, have found your planning consultant. It is important that this person explains to us how business operates, both generally, and specifically in our own marketplace.  Once that has been completed, we need to explain our idea and its application in the real World. To do this we must understand everything about our idea and its application. This means that we need to understand how to go about researching our new business opportunity. I have written a book (page type not e-type!!!) which covers the process in detail but, in short, we need to take the following route when identifying whether our idea is simply an impossible dream or a potential business opportunity.

Step 1.   Evaluate our idea

When evaluating our own idea, it is essential that we are as objective as possible. The more subjective we become the greater the risk  will be that we over value our own input and potential. Conservatism MUST be our watchword at all times. To evaluate our idea we need answers to the following:

  • Consider the market in which the business will operate – are they ready for it?
  • Is now the right time to start such a business?
  • Is the necessary infrastructure available and in place?
  • What support services are neeeded and are they available right now?
  • How long will the idea remain relevant? Can we make sufficient from it to make the effort worthwhile?
  • How does the idea blend with our own vision of where we want to be in 5/10/15/20 years time?
  • Do we really want to undertake this as a way to spend our life over the next period? Can we REALLY commit to the project?
  • How will we manage the process of transforming our idea into reality, and what help wil we need?
  • How does our idea help or improve the life of those for whom it will be attractive?
  • How does our idea improve the life of our society at large?
  • What other pre-conditions are necessary for our idea to be a success?
  • What factors would seriously harm of impede the success of our idea once transformed into a live business?

All these questions must be considered and, eventually, answered. The information examined out there is in plain sight and waiting for us to find and collect it. Once collected we can then interpret it and make it part of our plan. However, it first must be found.

Step 2:  Choose our Management Team. As people we all have both expertise and limitations.  It is very likely that we are going to need help from other people as co-workers, partners, advisors, customers, suppliers and/or financiers. To make our business grow, we will probably need to work with other people. This means that we must address the following questions:

  • Our initial job description will change and we will need to manage these people as well as doing the actual job. Do we want this?
  • Where are our strengths and what are our weaknesses? How will we manage our weaknesses to ensure our success?
  • Are there other people we know who we would trust to assist, guide and check us so that we produce our best and stay on the right track?
  • Where will we find the expert knowledge we need to make our opportunity a truly potential business?
  • How will we manage our management team to ensure that we all remain on the same page ?
  • What will we do if one of our management team decides they want out?
  • Will we employ or offer equity to members of our management team?
  • If equity, how much and how will it be valued?

With these answers we can then explain  to others our idea, its place in life and who and how we plan to bring it to reality.

The above will set us on to the best road to the transformation of our ida into a business venture. In the next post, I will address the challenge of financial projection.