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Business Success Begins With Why Not What         Tweet This

By: Dr. Deborah Osgood

While success in business is ultimately about satisfying a market need or want at a profit, ensuring success begins first with assessing why go into business before defining what you'll sell.

Why Start a Business?

People go into business for many reasons. It is important to know what your reasons are and to write them down so that you can revisit them often. Success at anything new is about truly wanting it. This is particularly essential in business because succeeding requires a laser focus on objectives and a disciplined desire to overcome obstacles.

Elbert Hubbard, an American philosopher, artist and writer, said it best, "There is no failure except in no longer trying, there is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barriers save our own inherent weakness of purpose."

Why Me?

Just like learning any new skill, it is important to assess your present experience, knowledge and skill level first before launching into any training or development program. What you learn will help you to determine if and where there are gaps between what you know now and what you may need to know. There is a useful Self-Assessment Tool available online at no cost that will help you with this process. There is also the option to walk through the self-assessment process with an experienced volunteer business mentor for additional support.

Why This Business Idea?

While a good salesperson may be able to sell ice cubes to Eskimos, a good accountant isn't likely to get the same results. The fact is that some people are naturally good with people and some are naturally good with numbers. Others are good with animals, technology, communication and so on. The point is to know what your natural strengths and preferences are beforehand. Using a Personality Assessment Tool, as well as a Business Idea and Market Strategy exercise can reveal a lot about matching your inherent talents with professional pursuits.

What's Next?

Once you know that you truly want to succeed in business beyond a doubt, that you possess a sufficient understanding of what's involved and confirm a strong alignment between who you are and what you want, succeeding in business becomes a straightforward process of following decades of proven business development practices. This essentially involves four key steps:

  1. Test the Market: Find out if, who and how much someone will pay to buy what it is that you plan to sell. Review 6 Steps to Selling to learn more about test marketing and closing a sale.
  2. Test the Numbers: Can you make a profit doing this? Run a forecast (Excel), examine breakeven (Excel) and project cash flow (Excel or PDF) needs. For more help with each of these steps, visit Cost & Income Forecasting for Small Business, a no-cost, online mentoring platform for teaching all aspects of small business planning.
  3. Have a Plan: Having done the first two steps, you now possess a practical and real-world view of what you need to develop a Business Proposal. Without doing these steps, business planning can simply be an academic exercise with very little substance for supporting real-world implementation.
  4. Monitor Progress: You are now much better prepared to get in the game and enjoy the benefits that come with doing what you love and getting paid for it. Once again, because others have come before you and succeeded, it' only wise to leverage what they did to support your own progress. Visit Monitoring Small Business Progress to confirm launch readiness, manage risk and track progress against specific established objectives.

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