You want to be making good decisions right from the start...
Around the time of starting their business, entrepreneurs often make a crucial wrong decision or two that will dramatically dampen the success potential of the business for years to come. The situation is similar to building a house on a weak foundation.
Whether you are starting your business or expanding your current business you need to follow some basic steps.
Step 1. Assess the need in the market
In the healthcare and education world, a business that identifies a need for services for families and solves the issue by providing high quality services will inevitably grow.
You need to know how many people are actually looking for your services. Then you want to know what type of delivery model would be attractive to those who are searching. Are they looking for home services, a school or clinic model, will they drive to you? Is your location important, who are your competitors and how is their business performing?
Do those looking know how to access funding
Step 2. Know what you are good at.
This should help you narrow down which direction your business will go. For example what are you really good at in your business and how do you perfect that service. Once you know that it is easy to think about what your service model should look like. That doesn’t mean it can’t change if other opportunities arise but choosing one or two service lines and perfecting them will help push the process along. Numerous people find it to be an extremely difficult decision to narrow down exactly what business to go into; or what they will or will not do in their business. At times they tend to drift into a business. The business that you choose to go into will have a major impact on how successful you are. Choose it carefully. Weigh options. Talk with people currently running similar businesses.
Many people starting a small business would be better off if they narrowed it down to a more specific niche. Again if you do step 1 and know what problem your business will solve or what your market needs you will a jump start on the others only thinking about what you are about to do.
Step 3. Know your market know everything you can possibly know about that market.
Too many times I’ve heard from business owners that want to venture into a particular market but don’t know enough about it. I’ve fallen into this trap personally in my business a few times and the end result is never ideal. We took a model that worked in a small city and moved it to a larger city. We overpaid for space, we didn’t know that families would only drive minutes not hours to get to us and we didn’t think about how competitive wages would be because lots of people were doing what we were doing. Not knowing the market ends up costing time, money, and energy to overcome problems that could have been avoided if the research was done prior.
Do your research!
Population, referral sources, real estate costs, wages in the area, competition, labor pool availability, and demographics are just a few things to consider when putting together our analysis.
The more information you have to make your decisions the more likely the end result will be a positive and profitable one. Even though we faced some issues in new markets we didn’t give up. We stopped, assessed, and quickly made changes to everything from our business plan, the model in which we delivered and to our budget.
Step 4. Have a budget.
Yes, I am going to say it again, knowing your numbers at all times is the key to having a thriving business. You’ll never have a perfect budget especially if you’re just starting out but you need to have something to reference. You will be continually adding in the “real” numbers as they become available. This task sometimes seems tedious however the better your financial picture is the likelihood you will not wake up one day and freak out because you have no idea where the money is to cover payroll or where it all went. This task sometimes seems tedious however the better your financial picture is the likelihood you will not wake up one day and freak out because you have no idea where the money is to cover payroll or where it all went.
Step 5. Have a business plan.
What needs to be done now? Where do we want to be in 30, 60, 90 days? How about in 1, 3, and 5 years down the road? Think about and have a plan of where you want your business to go in t. We stopped, assessed, and quickly made changes to everything from our business plan, the model in which we delivered and our budget. action. There are great free downloadable forms for business plans and also local small business associations that can help with this process. It is likely that once you are running your business for a period of time you will need to revisit this step. Your company may have evolved in areas you never expected or the market may have started asking for something new. We are seeing this evermore in our healthcare world. Parents are wanting to see a collaboration of providers and more of a one-stop shop in some of our regions.