Posts in Entrepreneur

Read This Before Joining a Mastermind Group

February 16th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Mastermind Group, Owner, Peer Group 2 thoughts on “Read This Before Joining a Mastermind Group”

If you’ve ever thought of joining a mastermind group, please read this.

I’m Jon Umstead, author of Business is ART and founder of Plan Canvas. In this week’s post, I’d like to speak with you directly from my heart – then invite you to join me.

Several years ago, I became a believer in the power of mastermind groups. If you are unfamiliar with the term, a mastermind is effectively peer-to-peer mentoring in a facilitated group setting. Everyone comes together to help one another solve their problems.

The concept itself was coined nearly 100 years ago by author Napoleon Hill (The Law of Success and Think and Grow Rich).

There are all kinds of mastermind group options, methodologies, and platforms. I was trained in mastermind group facilitation by one of the most prestigious CEO coaching companies around. But while I became a fast and firm believer in the concept, some of the core practices promoted by this particular company were not in harmony with my own beliefs.

How can it be done differently?

So I sat things out for a year, thinking about. If I were to create and run my own version of a mastermind group, what would it look like, how would it function, and what would be some of the core characteristics of candidates to join the group?

I then began the task of recruiting candidates – something I will admit is not fun to me. It can be a hard sell. How do you show someone that it is worth their money and time away from work to sit in a room with a bunch of people from other industries, helping them solve their problems, when you’ve got enough of your own?

“My business is unique. I don’t need to talk to people from other industries. I need to talk to people with businesses just like mine.”

Heard that all the time as well.

But ultimately we assembled a group that ran for 2 years. It represented some of the greatest professional experiences I have ever had.

We met monthly at alternating locations and as I’d pack up food, beverages, laptop, projector, tripod and flip charts, and drive off to our meeting, I’d think to myself, “Is this going to be worth it today? What if no one gets any value out of it?”

After the meeting would adjourn, I’d pack up and start driving home, feeling completely good about the day.

There is no more rewarding professional feeling than knowing you were part of helping someone else get through a really tough issue. Occasionally, it would literally bring a tear to the eye.

The group had a lot of successes – here are a few

One of our group members had to figure out how to make massive personal life changes due to the failing health of a loved one. One wrestled with a decision to run for public office – something she had wanted to do for a long time – but how could she juggle the responsibilities of owning and operating a small business with several employees and clients to consider AND be a public servant?

In both cases, the group was challenged with helping these members determine solutions and a plan forward. In both cases, things worked out.

The following is a direct quote from another one of the former mastermind group members, who has given me permission to share it:

“Since joining Jon’s mastermind group, my revenue has increased 31.25% in 10 months. Employee morale and productivity has increased 50% by implementing new processes and incentive programs recommended through the group. As a direct result, our competitors do not even compare to the service we provide.”

Christina Walters, Founder/Owner Night Dispatch

If I could guarantee results like that for everyone, I’d be an occasional guest Shark on Shark Tank and have a private island next to Tony Robbins’

But I can guarantee this.

If you join a well-run mastermind group and show up – I mean REALLY show up – you will find it well worth your time and money. Most members find they actually save time by investing in a mastermind.

For the last 14 months, I’ve missed our group. We shut it down due to the retirement of members – one member actually ran for and won the election to the office she had considered. It was also time for me to focus on the development of Plan Canvas. In short, it had run its course.

And now, I am very pleased to say, it is time to start a new group

This time, I will be leading one electronically. We will meet online, monthly, in the evenings, beginning this month.

This revised format will make it possible to expand the group well beyond geographical boundaries, in multiple time zones, and at a time that does not encroach on normal business hours.

Start for free and let the experience speak for itself

The best way to experience it and start gaining benefit from it is to just jump in.

And I get it. You’re skeptical. You have enough demands on your hard earned cash. But if you have ever considered joining a mastermind group, give this one a shot.

I am offering a free introduction to it, so there is nothing to lose and so much to gain.

Contact me directly at jon@plancanvas.net to discuss it and get you started. There can only be 10 members to a group and some seats are already taken, so, there is no guarantee to fit you in.

This genuinely could be one of the best decisions you have ever made. I am THAT confident in it.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Great Ideas for 2018 – A Resolution Revolution

December 19th, 2017 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Business Plan, Entrepreneur, Goal, Inspiration, Strategic Planning 0 thoughts on “Great Ideas for 2018 – A Resolution Revolution”

Let’s make 2018 the year of the resolution revolution. No more empty promises that fizzle out within the first 2 to 6 weeks. Let’s get serious this time.

An article at The Balance entitled Top New Year’s Resolutions for Business Success has some easy, actionable ideas that we really like a lot, particularly:

  • Make business planning a weekly event
  • Set realistic goals
  • Join a new business organization or networking group
  • Give something back to your community

Of course we like them because they are essentially some of the basic premises on which Plan Canvas is built. Let’s take a look at them a little more closely.

Resolution 1 – Business planning as a weekly event

Honestly, as much as we love business planning, doing it weekly may be a bit of an over-reach. But there are some things relative to the business plan that really should be done weekly. Namely:

  • Review progress against both the strategic and the business plan on a weekly basis. Note, some objectives may only require monthly or quarterly progress checks.
  • Review progress against assigned action items, internal initiatives, and client projects.

Whatever you do, do not write a business plan that is never referred to, tracked against, or updated. Otherwise, you are missing out on the primary benefits of strategically managing a plan – greater results.

Resolution 2 – Set realistic goals

Again, if we are being completely honest, we are OK with setting goals that might seem a little “out there.” Goals should be big, lofty things. Add a dose of reality but think and dream big when setting goals.

Now objectives are another story. Objectives let you know how you are progressing toward goals. One objective may support many goals and one goal is likely to be supported by many objectives. By nature, objectives should be realistic.

In fact that is one of 5 characteristics of a well defined SMART objective:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Time-bound

Join Our Online Mastermind Group!

It's lonely at the top - join your peers for support and to support them

Resolution 3 – Join a new business organization or networking group

There are two primary types of groups we highly encourage you to join. One is a business networking group. The other is a peer mastermind group.

Networking groups are focused on growing your business through referrals. In these types of groups you get to know others on a more personal level, building relationships to the point that you mutually, genuinely refer each others’ business, products or services to others – key because it is also your reputation on the line when you refer others to people in your own network.

Peer mastermind groups, are not networking groups at all. They are work groups designed to help members resolve business and personal issues that affect the business. A well run mastermind group “rolls up the sleeves and gets to work.” It is not about socializing over cocktails and business referrals.

Resolution 4 – Give something back to your community

We saved the best for last. Giving back through your business is called “Corporate Social Responsibility” or CSR. Formally defining a CSR program for your business, no matter what size, actually increases your odds of success.

We call it setting value-based goals as opposed to profit-driven goals. When you focus CSR goals, then employee goals, then customer goals, your profit goals will naturally follow and you will feel much more fulfilled.

Resolution 5 – Be intentional in 2018

The year 2018. Here it comes. What will you do? Will you wait and see what happens, or will you intentionally lay out a plan and go after it?

Fail Forward – Lessons Learned from Experienced Entrepreneurs

June 21st, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Entrepreneur, Leadership 0 thoughts on “Fail Forward – Lessons Learned from Experienced Entrepreneurs”

learningIf you’re going to fail, fail forward.

Last week I attended various sessions at Dayton Startup Week, a weeklong event put on by the Dayton Tech Guide.

One of the sessions that caught my eye was entitled “Tales from the Crypt: lessons learned from a failed startup” with presenters Andy Cothrel, Founder/President of Blue Marble Medical and Russ Gottesman, Founder/CEO of CommuterAds.

Russ and Andy have both experienced startup success and failure. It’s important to learn from mistakes, apply that knowledge, and, as Russ said at the beginning of the session, fail forward.

Each of these gentlemen have been in very different industries from one another, but the lessons they learned were similar. In this post, we summarize a few of them.

Follow a checklist of things to avoid

The key here is “follow”. If you do a little research and listen to people like Russ and Andy who have been there and likely done that, putting together a checklist of things to avoid isn’t all that difficult.

Following it is another story. Many times, your own worst enemy is you. You KNOW you shouldn’t do it, but you get excited, get caught up in the moment and do it anyway.

A way to ensure you FOLLOW a checklist of things to avoid is to…

Establish an advisory board early on

An advisory board will help you hold yourself accountable. Preferably, the members have also been there and done that and know a thing or two about your industry. They are motivated by seeing you succeed. They are going to remind you…DON’T DO THAT.

But as importantly, they are a sounding board to just let you try out your ideas verbally before committing them to reality. And they are there to make suggestions for what to do instead of the thing you need to avoid doing. You know. Those things on your “things to avoid” checklist.

But keep in mind that an advisory board has a shelf life. If it is a startup advisory board, that shelf life should be about 18 months.

Act ethically and with ethical people

You should always act ethically and when someone has provided you with funding for your startup, there is an even greater need to act ethically – because there can be very real legal and financial consequences to being an unethical steward of other peoples’ money.

Likewise, know who you are getting in to business with if you are taking on partners or investors. “I know a guy that knows a guy” does not a referral make.

Take the time to get to know “the guy.” Spend the money to run a background check. Seek out professional and trade references. The effort and expense will be well worth it in the end.

It probably wasn’t a bad idea

Russ and Andy concluded by saying, in their experience, a startup doesn’t generally fail because it’s a bad idea. More often, it’s the people, the process, the governance and the ethics that bring a startup down.

So do your homework. And then go get it!

In the Pursuit of Harmony

June 14th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Entrepreneur, Inspiration, Relationships 0 thoughts on “In the Pursuit of Harmony”

tom rubensA recent guest on the Business is ART podcast at the TrueChat Network was coach and best selling author Tom Rubens. We focused on Tom’s book Lifeness: Harmonize an Entrepreneurial Life, but there are several points made during the show that are summarized here.

One of the things Tom likes to tell people is that he has managed to have a professional career without holding a job. In other words, he is a lifelong, successful entrepreneur. He understands what many early stage entrepreneurs discover very quickly – that the entrepreneurial life can become all-consuming.

Stop saying and looking for “work/life balance”

Neither Tom nor I like the term “work/life balance” but for different reasons. While I prefer to talk in terms of “work/life alignment”, Tom introduces the notion of harmony. When your entrepreneurial life becomes all-consuming, there is no harmony. In all likelihood, there is discord between your entrepreneurial life, your personal life, your relationships (including professional, personal and casual), etc.

Just as you might physically cringe when you hear dissonance or music that is out of tune, when your life is in a state of discord, your business, you and everyone around you suffer.

How do you achieve harmony?

Tom sums it up by saying that it is all about achieving a life in which business and personal goals merge harmoniously. His advice is pretty simple. Following through is the challenge – which is why he provides a personal workbook along with Lifeness to help you on your journey.

He says that the key to seeking harmony is to first empathize with others. Listen to them. Look for similarities and appreciate the differences because they can be complementary, not conflicting, which, in turn, creates opportunity.

Tom also strongly advises to always assume people are doing their best. If you can do that, you can take the negative emotion out of things and learn to better appreciate the efforts of others.

Listen to the show in its entirety

The episode featuring Tom Rubens is simply entitled “Lifeness” (May 23, 2017). You can listen to it on iTunes, through the TrueChat app, or through the TrueChat website.

Check out all of the Business is ART podcast episodes on the Business is ART page of the TrueChat website

Should I Sell My Successful Business?

June 7th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Entrepreneur, Goal, Strategy 0 thoughts on “Should I Sell My Successful Business?”
Rush

If you choose not to decide…

Sell the business?

When an entrepreneur starts off, they’re often so concerned about whether or not their business will succeed that they don’t know what to do when it actually does succeed. So many authors and motivational business speakers focus solely on starting out and facing challenges and achieving success.

But what happens when you actually achieve that success?

You’re suddenly faced with brand new challenges and options.

How do you keep your business growing? Do you actually want it to grow more? Where do you go from here? Should you sell the company?

To some, that last question might seem crazy. You went through all of this work, you achieved your goals, all just to sell it? For others, that might be why you started the business in the first place.

Whether or not that was part of your original plan, the ability to sell your company for a nice profit is a new option for you to consider. To decide the right choice for you, there are a few things to consider.

Is There an Offer on the Table?

Shopping a business around isn’t easy. Even if it is successful. It takes work. According to studies, 60% of business owners who try to sell their business can’t make the deal happen (you have better odds by employing the services of a merger’s & acquisitions banker/expert).

It’s generally easier if you receive an offer from a party that sought you out. With an actual offer on the table, the question of selling your business becomes much more real (and perhaps more urgent).

Have You Lost Your Passion or Are You Simply Struggling with Motivation?

To get your business going, it’s likely you needed some serious passion and motivation. As the craziness of the startup life dissipates and your business becomes more of a regular job, it’s easy to begin to lose the passion, the motivation, or both.

If you’re just lacking the motivation, that’s an issue that goes beyond your current business. Motivation is needed to succeed in any aspect of life. If you’re missing passion, it might be time to sell your business.

Without passion, your heart isn’t in the business, which can seriously stunt its growth. Letting go of your current business may allow you to find something new that you’re passionate about.

Do You Know What Your Next Step Will Be?

As you might imagine, leaving your business behind is a huge transition. This is the thing you’ve lived and breathed every day for quite some time. With that gone, you can become directionless very quickly.

If you have no idea what you would do without your business, you may want to hold off on selling it.

Unless, of course, you make enough money from the sale that you can retire. Even then, making some plans and goals is a great idea.

Can Your Business Survive without You?

As mentioned in a recent post about Polaroid, many businesses struggle when their founder and key visionary leaves. The founder is often the spark that keeps the business burning. It’s not necessarily healthy to create a business that’s overly reliant on you, but it happens.

Before you consider leaving the business, you need to evaluate how it will go without you there.

Liquidate or Recapitalize?

Once you’ve decided to actually sell the business, you’ll still have some options to figure out. Of course, the buyer will have say in this as well. The most common forms of business sales are liquidation and recapitalization.

If you want to be completely gone from the company, you will liquidate any ownership in it. You may, however, want to stay on in some capacity or keep some shares to profit off future success. In this case, recapitalization is a common path.

Whatever you do….

Don’t Make a Sudden Decision

Selling a business is a very permanent choice. If there’s a hot offer on the table, take as much time as you’re need before you make a choice – even if the potential buyer is pressuring you. And remember these words to the classic Rush song “Freewill” – If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

Working Full-Time While Starting a Business

May 23rd, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Entrepreneur 0 thoughts on “Working Full-Time While Starting a Business”

can't quitYou’re ready to turn that idea you’ve been kicking around into a full-fledged business. You have the plan, the vision, and metrics for success all place. There’s just one problem:

You already have a full-time job.

Ideally, you would just quit your full-time job immediately and exclusively pursue your startup. Unfortunately, that’s not a realistic plan for many of us. Whether you’re supporting a family or you have loans to pay back, you may have no choice but to keep your current job while you build a business.

It’s going to make things a bit more difficult, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Many businesses begin as side-jobs. Even huge successes like Craigslist and Trello. But in order to succeed, you’re going to have to work that much harder. You’ll need to be that much more focused.

That means you’ll need to start by…

Trimming the Fat

Anything in your life that’s consuming unnecessary amounts of time and money needs to go. It could be a little hobby or watching your favorite shows. Maybe you don’t get to go out for drinks after work. Maybe you have to pack lunch and make dinner at home.

Think of yourself on a boat that’s sinking. You need to throw everything off the boat that’s not essential so that you can stay afloat as long as possible.

That said….

Maintain Rest and Relationships

One of the worst things you can do to your body is deprive it of sleep. That extra hour of work you were able to put in at 1am is not worth the 3 hours of productivity you’ll likely lose from being tired the next day.

Whatever you do, make sure you stay well rested.

Additionally, don’t isolate yourself too much from those around you. Yes, your friends and family will see you less as you strive towards your goal. And if they truly care about you and believe in you, they’ll support that decision.

But you still need to maintain those relationships. Letting them slip away will bring down your mood, your motivation, and your ability to interact with people. Keep your important friendships healthy. Invest in them.

Just know when to draw the line.

Create a Timeline

If you’re serious about your business, then you’re planning on a day when you won’t need your full-time job anymore. Setup a timeline for this path towards your dream job. This will not only motivate you, but it will also prepare you for what’s a head.

You could also set various goals or checkpoints that aren’t necessarily bound to a specific length of time. For example, once your business is making x amount of dollars, you can step away from your job. Or maybe switch to a part-time job just to have some source of steady income.

Set a plan and execute.

Be Wise with Your Money

The good news is, you should be so busy between the two jobs that you don’t have time to spend money. The more money problems you have, the longer you’ll be working two jobs. Be especially conservative with your finances as you begin this journey. Start saving so that you can afford to quit your day job sooner rather than later.

All this budgeting isn’t just good for your personal life, but it should help you to budget better in your own business as well.

Never Forget Why You’re Doing It

When you first start the journey of launching a business, there’s a general excitement to it. Even if you have a fulltime job, you’ll find yourself going through the days with an added sense of purpose.

Sooner or later, however, that bold confidence will begin to wane. You’ll get tired and grow frustrated. Your fulltime job will feel more or more like a burden as you get glimpses of what your business could be.

You may be tempted to quit your day job too soon, leading to disastrous results in your personal life. Or you’ll give up on your dream of running your own business.

The problem is, if you have an urge to start a business, nothing will satisfy that impulse except actually starting a business. So keep moving forward, working the hours you need to, and giving proper attention to your startup, and eventually, you’ll see it through.

For more in-depth guidance on business strategy and metric development that goes beyond the cliché business tips for success, make sure to check out Business is ART, available now!

Can You Turn Your Hobby into a Business?

April 11th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Entrepreneur 2 thoughts on “Can You Turn Your Hobby into a Business?”

hobbyMany successful businesses trace their roots back to a hobby. You may have heard a motivational business speaker share their story about how they realized one day that they could make money simply doing something they enjoyed.

A hobby certainly isn’t a bad way to start a business.

After all, hobbies tend to be low cost and low commitment. And generally, they involve something you love. You probably already have a hobby or two. The question is…

Should You Turn Your Hobby into a Business?

The idea sounds great: make money while doing something you love.

And you can deduct purchases and expenses for it. That’s something you can’t do with a hobby.

However, you might end up disliking this activity you once loved. Turning a hobby into a job can make you suddenly lose the joy that comes from doing it. As an example, I love to cook. I love to experiment with new recipes and make stuff up as I go. But would I enjoy running a restaurant?

If you’re not worried about that, then here are some questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Will I be able to get enough business to make a living, earning what I want or need to earn?
  • Can I get others to understand the value of my hobby?
  • Can I grow the business at a sustainable rate?

If you’re answering yes to all of those, then you’re ready to start seriously considering making the leap from hobby to business.

But first….

Do Some Research

There’s usually no point in starting a business if there’s already someone succeeding at what you want to do on a level you can’t perform – or if you have no differentiator. What are the market and competition like? Is there a niche that’s being overlooked?

If the marketplace is already pretty full, try and think of a different way you can transform your hobby into a business – do something to make it unique and stand-out. Think about how to be a market disruptor.

Strategize and Create a Business Plan

Despite what some may say, you should develop a strategic and a business plan (there’s a difference). Start with a strategic plan and graduate to a business plan. This will help you create a foundation from which to build your business. It doesn’t have to be overly complex, and you’ll certainly change it along the way.

But start with a simple, concise strategic plan. Speaking of starting simple….

Start Small

You may have big dreams, and that’s great. But big dreams aren’t accomplished overnight. Instead, break the big goals down into smaller, actionable steps and objectives. Get a few sales under your belt. Figure out your flow. Make some mistakes.

And then, once you’ve settled into the idea of your hobby being a job, start building.

Treat it Like a Job

The only way people are going to take your business seriously is if you do. Once you’ve decided to turn your hobby into a business, it’s no longer just for fun or whenever you have a free time. Get up early. Work late. Be regular. Stay consistent.

Even if you’re doing something you love, it’s not always going to be enjoyable.

Get Another Hobby or Outlet

Now that your hobby is becoming your job, you need something else in your life to release tension and enjoy. Consider starting a new hobby that’s purely for pleasure. It’s important to maintain balance when starting a business.

For more guidance on starting a successful business, make sure to check out Business is ART, available now at Amazon and other booksellers.

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Business Planning is Over My Head – Or is It?

March 31st, 2017 Posted by Business is ART, Business Plan, Entrepreneur 0 thoughts on “Business Planning is Over My Head – Or is It?”
This post was provided by guest blogger, Lindsey Evans, of 16th Floor Media. Find Lindsey on Facebook @16thFloor
Lindsey

Lindsey Evans – 16th Floor Media

When Jon told me that he was creating a business planning software, I have to admit I was skeptical. I’ve tried business planning before and it’s over my head.

I work in creative services and the mention of math in any form tends to turn me away. However, I agreed to try the Beta test version of Plan Canvas, the business planning tool based on Jon’s book, Business is ART. I am extremely glad that I did.

It all becomes clear with planning

I have been a solopreneur for a year and a half since I left my salary position. My goal for about 6 months was to hire an additional worker to take away my day-to-day workload and focus on the larger tasks. In the limited amount of time I’ve been able to dedicate to Plan Canvas in the last 2 months, it became apparent my hiring decision couldn’t wait.
Once I saw the numbers in black and white it jumped right out at me, ” What are you waiting for?”
I can proudly say I have added to my team! Not only is my workload lessened, but my client base has expanded!

Do it

I would recommend Plan Canvas to any business owner who thinks they “don’t need to formally plan anything.” Jon has thought two steps ahead with this software.
The beta test team is currently working with over 35 businesses and entrepreneurs across all types of industries! Start-ups and existing businesses, first-time business owners and seasoned pros – all part of the beta test!

Without hundreds of templates, it works for any type of business

Exactly what types of industries and professionals are currently using Plan Canvas?

Take a look!

  • eMail Marketing Consultant
  • Web Design
  • Architecture
  • Executive Coaching
  • Software / Consulting
  • Graphic Design Consultant
  • Graphic Design Consultant
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Property Management Consulting
  • Restoration
  • Startup Coach
  • Non-Profit Exec Director
  • Leadership Consulting
  • Web Design
  • Business Consultant
  • Craft Beer
  • Insurance Agent
  • Video Marketing
  • Painter (exterior/interior)
  • Chiropractor
  • Graphic Design
  • Entrepreneur – Restaurant Owner
  • CPA
  • Coffee Shop Owner
  • Retail Buyer
  • Baker
  • Blogger
  • College Professor
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Startup entrepreneur / former banker
  • Mergers & Acquisitions Advisor
  • Baked Goods & Specialty Candy
  • University Entrepreneur Club Leader
  • Computer Services

If it works for me, it will work for anyone. Go to the Plan Canvas Facebook page to keep up with how the beta is going and more.

 

3 Musts for a Good Exit Strategy

March 14th, 2017 Posted by Entrepreneur, Strategy 0 thoughts on “3 Musts for a Good Exit Strategy”

exit strategySooner or later, one way or another, all business owners are going to exit the business – so why not have an exit strategy?

Last week, my guest on the Business is ART podcast at the TrueChat Network was Kate Vriner from Sunbelt Business Advisors of Southwest Ohio, and the topic of discussion was in fact Exit Strategy Planning.

A financial valuation is step 1

Kate advises that the very first step in preparing an exit strategy is to conduct a valuation of the business. Initially there are 2 or 3 parties whose opinions really matter here:

  1. The owner’s
  2. The broker/advisor’s
  3. The independent 3rd party analyst (when needed)

These are critically important because at the end of it all, there are one, two or more parties whose opinions really matter: the buyer’s and potentially the bank’s and the investors’.

Put together a strong team

In this case, your team consists of many external parties including, but not necessarily limited to:

  • Legal Advisor
  • Business Broker
  • CPA/Financial Advisor
  • Business Consultant/Coach

Once the team is together, you have to trust the team and trust the process. Your business was likely not built overnight and likely won’t be sold overnight. To get the most out of it, you have to do the things that your advisors suggest, which may not always be intuitive, and may not always be easy, which leads to this…

Get out of the weeds

When you are planning your exit strategy, if you haven’t already, now is the time to pull yourself out of the weeds. As Kate puts it, focus ON the business, not IN the business.

You may love being on the shop floor producing whatever it is you produce. Or you may feel you can’t afford to hire someone to produce whatever it is you produce. But the fact of the matter is, you have to in order to maximize the value of the business.

When a potential buyer is looking at your business, aside from wanting to see a clean set of financial books, he or she is going to want to see that the business is transferable. If the business relies on you to produce whatever it is you produce, clearly, the business is not transferable to someone else (or is less so).

In other words, if the business cannot function without you, there is no business that can be sold and transferred to someone else. There may be real estate or assets that can be sold, but there is no business. Hence, there is far less value.

Don’t miss out

You can listen to the podcast in its entirety by clicking here.

Never miss a podcast, blog post or newsletter by signing up here. I don’t spam and try very hard to bring you informative and entertaining content as well as useful tools to increase your odds of success.

Lies and Untruths About Starting a Business

February 14th, 2017 Posted by Business is ART, Entrepreneur 0 thoughts on “Lies and Untruths About Starting a Business”
Starting business

Lance White (l) of FRW Studios Uses Plan Canvas

When you tell someone you’re starting a business, they’ll likely have an opinion. It doesn’t matter if they’re an entrepreneur or a sanitation worker. They’ll say something like “Oh really? Well did you know that….”

And then they’ll proceed to give you advice on the business you haven’t even started yet. Sometimes, the things you hear about starting a business are true. Things like “90% of business fail” or “80% of small businesses in the US consist of one person”.

On the other hand, there’s a fair amount of crap “fluff”.

Here are some of the lies and half-truths you’ll hear about starting a business.

You Need a Lot of Money

The old saying goes “it takes money to make money”, and it’s true, you’ll have to buy and spend to get a business going. But, perhaps, not as much as you might think.

To start many a business in the digital age, you don’t need huge investments or deep pockets, especially if you’re selling a service or an electronic product. The key is breaking your business idea down to its simplest form. Start there and you can probably get things moving without breaking the bank.

You Only Have to Do Things You Love

Many people start their own business because they want to do something they actually care about. That’s a great reason to start a business. But don’t think that you will only have to do the things you enjoy doing.

As an entrepreneur, you have to do everything initially. That will likely include things you don’t enjoy doing. The hope is that after building up some success, you’ll one day be able to focus on the areas you’re most passionate about.

Until then, you’ll be wearing a lot of hats.

You Have to Jump All In Immediately

Quitting your job, selling all your stuff, and devoting all time and attention to your startup might sound poetic, but it’s not always realistic. Your best option might be to start your business as a side project, allowing you to figure out potential problems while growing organically.

You’re Not Qualified

You will face people who doubt that you can run a business. This is something you’ll likely experience in your own head as well. And for these moments, it’s best to remember that famous Steve Jobs quote:

“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”

You don’t need to be a genius or have master class skills. You simply need an idea, a vision, and the commitment to see it through. Steve Jobs created one of the most influential computer companies ever, and he was neither a programmer nor an engineer.

You Have to Work All Day, Every Day

Burnout is a very serious thing among entrepreneurs. That’s because they have this idea that the second they stop, their business will stop and fall apart. While it’s true you’ll likely work some unconventional hours, and you’ll probably pull more than the typical 40-45 hour workweek, you’re still human.

You need breaks and social interaction and fun.

Step away for a moment. Take a day off if necessary. Your business will still be there when you get back.

You Don’t Need a Formal Business Plan

Because the modern business and technological landscape changes so quickly, some people have gotten this idea that business plans are a relic of the past. This is false.

Research has shown that a formal business plan can as much as double your odds of success, particularly for startups

It doesn’t need to be the size of an encyclopedia. It won’t have every piece of your business explained in detail. And it will likely change in the near future.

But creating a written plan is a huge benefit to any business.

Need help on how to create a business plan? Start with my free 1-page strategic plan outline here. For a more in-depth walkthrough of planning a business strategy and measuring success, sign up for my Odds Makers Class.

Odds Makers is a step by step video course that will guide you through all of the stages of creating a vision and workable plan for your business.

Start Now!

A Real Live Case Study

FRW Studios, a creative design firm, is starting its business with formal planning, using Plan Canvas beta version 1.0, the business planning software based on the Business is ART book. The photo appearing at the beginning of this post was taken by Julie White of FRW. It shows FRW’s Lance White and me actually working on FRW’s plans, using Plan Canvas on February 13, 2017.

“Having used his strategy/business plans in the past, we know how important it is to start our studio off on the right foot.”

~ Julie and Lance White

Plan Canvas is a community and a powerful software for improving your odds of business success and personal fulfillment.

© SeaSeven LLC 2017.
Developed with FRW Studios.