Zebraheard

Helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into a business

Keeping The End In Sight


   

Marketing Tool or Distraction

 

To paraphrase Stephen Covey, keeping the end in sight, or in the case of an entrepreneur the goal in sight, is vital to a businesses success.

 

 

 

An important tool to help an entrepreneur ‘keep the end in sight’ is to use their pro-formas as a rudder. Much like a ship being thrashed about by unruly waves, which can throw a vessel off course, so too can every day distractions. Social media, although an important tool in any entrepreneur’s tool box, can also serve as a distraction that slowly eats away at an entrepreneur’s time.

The article linked below does a superb job of outlining the steps an entrepreneur can take to use social media while still keeping the goal in view. 

“Staying focused on the measures of success which have the highest impact on sales and profits is a daily battle. Working harder, going faster, writing more, socializing more, and Facebooking more might actually become a dead-end. Social media allows a person to feed their own ego and gives them a sense of control.”

http://tinyurl.com/6g7lyot

February 3, 2011 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , | 7 Comments

Business Plans Three Important Elements


OK, you are convinced writing a business plan will help you be a better entrepreneur. Good. Now let’s discuss three things you must keep in mind when writing your business plan. They are:

  • 20 instead of 10.
  • Eye of the beholder.
  • So what?

Writing a good business plan takes into consideration these three elements.

20 Instead of 10

Writing a business plan that has clarity is critical.  If the reader has to re-read your plan or paragraph then you haven’t been clear in your writing. The reader should never have to re-read what you wrote. The following guidance should help in writing for clarity:

  1. Keep your sentences short.
  2. Don’t use multi-syllable words when one or two-syllable words will work.
  3. Try to avoid writing in the passive tense.
  4. Start each paragraph with the key idea in one sentence.
  5. Review your document. Eliminate unnecessary words.
  6. Give your document to at least two people to read and critique. More eyes on it the better.

Remember! Why say it in 20 words when 10 will work?

Eye of the Beholder

Yes, we know you love your idea and it may make you the next Bill Gates. But when writing your business plan remember the reader is not necessarily in love with your idea. In addition to being clear in your writing you must also be persuasive.

In some part of your business plan you will have information that you are relaying to the reader. This is good, but you are also or interpreting the information so the reader can understand why this information is pertinent to your idea.

Remember your readers are trying to understand your idea and it is your job to help them.

So what?

In reading and critiquing business plans I have found a mistake entrepreneurs often do is making statements without providing back up data. The purpose of the “So what?” test is to undo the clutter in your business plan and allow you to focus on only the metrics that will convince readers of your statement or belief.  Statements that fall into the ‘nice to know’ or the ‘I highly recommend or I am not sure why I am saying this, but it sure sounds important’ are subject to the “So what?” test.

For example, if you state; “My product will become the most sought after product in its niche.” Ask yourself, “So what?” If you can’t answer that question your remove that statement from your business plan or at least until you do the proper research that supports that statement.

Ideally if you have to ask yourself “So what” 3 times then remove your statement.  It is an opinion not supported by data.

By keeping these three elements in mind when writing your business plan your reader will be more informed and take you seriously as a prospective business owner.

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , | 2 Comments


SURPRISES 

 I hear that most performers are nervous before going on stage. Although not a performer in the strictest definition of the word I always become a little nervous when I first meet my prospective entrepreneur client. 

The allure of entrepreneurs is the optimism that they possess. Never once as a business coach have I heard, “This is a terrible idea and I don’t think it will work.” The very nature of entrepreneurs lends itself to the most optimistic among us. 

The ideas that I have heard vary from typical business ideas, such as, dry cleaners, or pet items, to cars that are also sail boats, organic food for hamsters, to psychic workshops. Who knows…maybe? 

Experience has shown me that there are certain fundamentals, or processes anyone starting a business needs to understand and go through. Those capable and are willing to execute these fundamentals will increase their chance of success. 

In tomorrow’s blog I will discuss what I think is the top challenge facing today’s entrepreneur. 

 What do you think it is? 

Surprises are fun!

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , | 4 Comments