Can you remember when you thought everything you did was perfect? What happened?
Don’t leave ideas and opportunities in a drawer going nowhere.
Irrespective of how the idea or opportunity comes into being, each one must be carefully evaluated, as it allows the entrepreneur to assess whether the expected returns justify the resources required. It is also important to ensure the entrepreneur is excited and has the relevant skills needed.
This evaluation process involves looking at the window of opportunity, the market involved, its real and perceived value, the investment required in money and other resources, its risks, returns and its uniqueness, or competitive advantage. It is particularly important that the entrepreneur is able to put in the necessary time and effort required to succeed, believing in the opportunity so much they will make the necessary sacrifices to develop the opportunity.
During the evaluation process a ‘business case, should be produced, which is quite different to a business plan as it helps to assess the feasibility of your opportunity. During this part of the process and evaluation of the technology and communications required should be made, providing the basis for making the decision whether or not proceed.
It is a good idea to do an environmental scan or PEST Analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological analysis) which describes a framework for the evaluation of macro-environmental factors used in the business plan.
“Try and imagine Your products and services are perfect in every respect. What would they look like”? Peter Sergeant
Develop the idea or opportunity
I have certainly found going through the business planning process the most important step in the development the idea or opportunity. Firstly you need to prove that you’re serious about your business, secondly, you need to clarify your thoughts, thirdly you will need the plan to help convince people to follow you and lastly the banks or investors won’t even look at you without a plan.
Develop a business model showing how the opportunity will generate money, as well as describing the rationale of how it creates, delivers, and captures value. This is a critical part to answer in writing, for yourself, your supporters and your investors as it describes the structural design of the value chain to be created.
The business plan forces you to research and understand your market, establish important milestones, as well as to better understand your potential market, the trends and the competition in it. Your business plan also provides a roadmap for your staffing and facilities requirements, as well as helping to ensure a smoother start-up and expansion.
Determine your financial needs, do you need to raise any capital, if so, how much? An important part of the business plan is the budget as it will determine exactly how much capital you need, how it will be used and how it will be repaid. Your business plan is the basis for any financial proposals, remembering you will probably be one of the investors and you will want to ensure your investment is safe.
The type of business structure desired must then be decided upon along with the relevant management structure, or framework.
You will then need to decide on the facilities, equipment, the number of staff and contractors needed along with the suppliers and alternative suppliers. Any resources that are critical need to be singled out from those that are just ‘nice to have’. Make a careful assessment of resources currently available, making sure not to underestimate the amount, quality of a variety of resources that will be needed.
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A funny thing happens to me, the more opportunities I create, the more opportunities I create.
I often hear people talk about watching and waiting for conditions to return to normal as a strategy for navigating the unpredictable business environment. What a way to close minds to new opportunities.
Opportunities come from both big and little changes in technology, working environments, improved mobility, government policies, big data, research, demographics along with customer problems, frustrations, wants and needs. These things and more don’t stop generating opportunities because the economic conditions are bad.
These things are happening every day and those who wait for things to return to the way they were, keep wondering where the opportunities are. When they do it is a sure sign that they have big problems and their struggles will continue as they keep missing opportunities that can propel them into the future.