Establishing a Business Plan
Though this is the first step in Launching A Business In 3 Days, it is most likely not the first time you’ve sat down to consider this business idea. You very well may have gone through some extensive research, fielding, experimenting, prototyping, etc.
Now that it’s come time to get this business registered, to say to the world, that not only are you an entrepreneur, you’re the owner of X company….. it’s time to revisit and refine a few things before we move on.
What Is Your Why?
You may have been chewing on this idea for a year or more. Maybe you’ve noodled on it over the past few weeks. Either way, it’s always good to get back to the root of why you’re doing this. Do you have the passion to push you through hard times? Because they’ll come. How do you discover if your passion is strong enough to sustain you? What drives you to pursue this at all costs? Because it will cost something. It may cost a few hours of sleep, or TV time, or it may take the place of a beloved hobby for a time. Either way, are you willing to pay that cost?
Take a page from Simon Sinek’s book¹ (his several books), and figure out your why. What is making you tick? What makes this idea consume you? Why is it bringing you energy (hopefully it brings you energy)?
Once you’ve got that nailed, you can start articulating how you’re going to do that. You may have a lot of this softly figured out, but by forcing yourself to articulate it to a friend or write it down in a vision statement, you will find that you’re statements become clearer and have more power.
Lastly, and I mean lastly, you can begin to define what your product or offering is. If you start here, you’ll pigeon hole your future self. By starting with why, you give yourself a tremendous amount of fluidity that allows you to stay true to yourself while producing a high quality product or service.
Find a Mentor or Coach
You need to have someone who has been there and done that. Check out a course from Weave’s Business Growth Summit by Andrew Smith (click here to register for free). Andrew is a two time winner of Entrepreneur Of The Year. He’s successfully exited businesses through both private and public exits. I’d say he knows a thing or two about 1) starting a business 2) getting it off the ground 3) working toward extreme growth.
Listen to his episode for a quick taste of mentorship. Once you’re done, start brainstorming a list of people in your network that have been where you want to go. Next step is easy– reach out! People love being asked for help.
Your mentor will push you through the intellectual times. They’ll challenge you. They’ll even lift you up in the hard times, remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing, and give you a light at the end of the tunnel to hold on to. So much of what you are working on already comes naturally to someone you’d have as a mentor. Utilize their knowledge when things aren’t quite muscle memory for you.
Do Your Research
We said it before– you’ve most likely done research before even entering this challenge. If you haven’t, we’ll guide you through some basic research. No matter the case, hitting refresh on a few points of research before building your go to market strategy, brand, and website is always a good idea.
**If this is the first time you’ve put on the research hat, understand that this research is marketing based. It’s not focused on evaluating the actual profitability of your business. If you haven’t done that, hit pause. You’ll be grateful you did.
It’s simple, but the first step is to Google what you’re trying to sell. Get a feel for the market and your future competition. Check out every ad. Look for common search terms (you can use this ² plug in to help you see what other terms are similar to your search). Then check those results. Keep track of the different companies on a sheet where you can cross check what each offers, price points, brand, messaging, etc.
Another good resource to check is Google Trends.³ Enter your search term, and you’ll gain a lot of insight really quickly. What are similar search terms? Where is it being searched most often? Interest over time. And so much more. There are also affiliate searches at the bottom. Click on those words to follow Alice down the rabbit hole. Build a sheet to organize all of the businesses you find and list out all of the products or offering each business sells.
Another video to watch is from our very own VP of Marketing, Kortney Osborne (click here to register for free). Kortney talks about staking out your competitors. Watch who walks in and out. Look at their offering. Examine their brand. What’s the most popular thing your competitor is offering? And how are you then going to differentiate yourself from them?
Once you’ve gathered all of that research, Jake has one last question for you to consider.
Are you a Nordstrom or Walmart??
Given your competitive research, where do you fit in? What do you want to deliver? Who is your target audience/buyer persona? Are you high end or low end? Are you boutique or large scale? What end of the spectrum are you leaning towards? This will help you better identify your target audience and how to talk to them.
You’re in the beginning stages, so you won’t have specific numbers, but by considering this you decide a pretty crucial thing. Are you a product or sales driven company? This has a huge impact on your culture.
Beyond those two things, budget can be allocated toward development and marketing as well.
Depending on your budget, you want to focus what money you have and put it where it has the most power. Here’s a simple chart to follow:Because brand awareness is key in the beginning, you need to touch people 8-12 times to really get them to convert. Help them find you no matter where they are. And have a good hook/offer. You need to have something that makes people feel like they’re getting a deal. Sometimes, in the beginning, it may make you hesitate. The marketing panel from BGS (click here to register for free) talks about this. It’s always going to be more expensive to acquire customers than it is to retain customers. Use those promotions to bring them into the door and then wow them with your product and services.
Jake also recommends Digitalmarketer.com & hubspot.com. But particularly the customer avatar worksheet4 on Digital Marketer’s website.