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.