I had the most amazing conversation yesterday with a serial entrepreneur in Little 5 Points as we discussed business success and failures. I will call him, Donald to protect his privacy. Donald has owned numerous businesses in Atlanta and has recently launched an online website for property management companies across the nation. We discussed a social media strategy and SEO for his budding business. He and I agree on many things and fear that many businesses that began last year will lose their popularity in 2012 due to a lack of proper planning.
Unfortunately many establishments primarily, restaurants, lounges, fashion boutiques and similar in Atlanta have an extremely high turnover rate and low success rate. They have a clear vision of how the establishment will look ascetically and how they plan to promote the business. Yet they often lack investing in a strong operations team with outstanding customer service which decreases the amount of repeat business.
I belong to an amazing business group called the SF35 School of Entrepreneurship. We believe in the Lean Startup framework for African American entrepreneurs. Many within the group of over 100 also believe that a business plan is unnecessary and I have to agree. Traditionally, a business plan was used to obtain a business loan from a bank or investor. It’s time consuming and usually a huge document filled with incorrect information. I think that after 2-3yrs of business you may want to create a business plan that will be more precise about your projected financial and business growth for the next 5 years.
I would strongly suggest starting your year off with the following:
1.) A solid marketing plan for your business, complete with a SEO and social media scope.
2.) An operational plan if you are a new start up and/or a brick and mortar operation. Explain the daily operation of the business, its location, equipment, people, processes, and surrounding environment.
3.) A personal financial statement if applicable. This would include personal financial statements for each owner and major stockholder, showing assets and liabilities held outside the business and personal net worth.
On my business Facebook page today, I posted an article originally shared from a member of the SF35 group. Within the article it list very simple statements from the author that rang loudly within me.
I have like 3 unfinished business plans that I’ve created for different business concepts. In 2012. I plan to START those businesses instead of wasting my time creating a document ON the business. Is this something that you have done as well? Have you put more time in the idea over the execution? Stop procrastinating! Tomorrow surely isn’t promised. Why put off what you can do now for next week? Be encouraged and stop getting in your own way of success!
Cheers to starting anew!