When I became consultant, I assumed that businesses knew the importance of having a business plan, marketing strategy, and strategic plan for fueling growth. What I quickly learned is that whether a new business or an existing business most entrepreneurs have overlooked the basic building blocks of developing a business.
In fact, technical writing wasn’t even part of my own business strategy. I was focused on the larger pursuits by removing barriers that created major pinch points for businesses. My target market was helping large organizations with process engineering, leadership training, systems-thinking business solutions, and other sweeping corporate initiatives that enhanced operational effectiveness.
My firm has even created a one-of-a-kind “High Performance Solutions Program” that is a multi-dimensional approach to lowering operating cost and increasing organizational efficiencies to preserve shareholder interest. Although, there is a value-proposition in addressing the needs of corporations, it are the small to medium size businesses that are at greater risk.
What I have learned firsthand in meeting with clients in this demographic is that many are operating at a distinct disadvantage because they have skipped essential steps in building their business. The vision, mission, values, marketing plans, strategies for customer acquisition, and the entire framework for the business resides in the owner’s mind. Even if they have articulated all of the tenets of their business to their workforce, it is not written down.
What happens if something tragic occurs to the owner? Is this business dead? As this business continues to flourish will the valued employees be able to carry forward the core values of the Company? How will the Company safe-guard themselves from legal liabilities without any written plan?
I set aside my own bias for one minute to say that every small business owner needs to be educated on the fundamentals of establishing a business. In fact, research suggest that this is one of the best ways consultants add value – guiding young entrepreneurs through the rigors of business development. But what I am learning is that we have a segment of the small business population that openly trust, to the point of subjecting themselves to the risk of losing everything they slaved to create.
The economic landscape is evolving all the time. In fact, there are so many changes within the existing workforce that what was effective two years ago is now outdated. Technology, political climate, legal issues, and economic challenges continue to manipulate the small business terrain. Entrepreneurs are stretched more today than they have ever been.
There exist a real need for providing technical writing services to guide business owners in the development of business plans, employee handbooks, and policies and procedures. I was speaking with a trusted business advisor recently and he shared a story with me of a company that fended off a $500,000 lawsuit due to having a comprehensive employee handbook. The case was dismissed solely because of the anti-harassment policy which was contained in the handbook.
As I learned many years ago, “If it is not written down then it never existed.” A little cliché but as the story above demonstrates the pen is mightier than the sword. My own firm has gained traction by addressing these needs in offering a technical writing service to small business owners.
My aim is to not garnish support for my business. In fact, if anyone who reads this contacts me to inquire about our technical writing service that is an unexpected benefit. No, my hope is that small business owners, new or old, are reading this. That from these words they walk away saying, “I need to protect myself.”
Every entrepreneur should invest the time upfront to articulate the vision for their business. Not only the conceptual vision but also the details that define every aspect of the business from what are their products or services to who they intend to target as their customer base and who they want to hire. No stone should go unturned in creating the strategy to be executed.
A fluid plan of attack provides the best opportunity to remain adaptive in an evolving competitive market. My own exhaustive research has yielded the 15 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Do When Starting a Business:
- Research your business concept in advance.
- Talk to a business advisor or trusted mentor before embarking on your entrepreneurial pursuits.
- Complete a market analysis.
- Develop a detailed business plan.
- Create a marketing strategy.
- Determine financial cost and manage cash flow wisely.
- Seek out financial resources, investors or lending opportunities in advance.
- Determine the best business structure.
- Obtain permits and licenses.
- Create an online presence so customers can find you.
- Establish a recruiting and retention plan for attracting top talent.
- Listen to your customers and be open to change to meet their needs not your own.
- Have an accounting plan or trusted accounting firm to keep the books.
- Create a strong mentoring network and surround yourself with knowledgeable entrepreneurs.
- Master the “elevator speech” so learn to say it in 30 seconds or less.
Do not allow yourself to become caught up in the illusions of being self-employed. Success is often determined by the hard work done in the solitude of your own private office before you hang the “Open for Business” sign on the door. Don’t assume anything and be honest about everything.
Photo by Dollar Photo Club
All rights reserved to Grace Covenant Consulting LLC copyright 2015.
To learn more about Robert Anthony Olszak’s upcoming book, please visit www.balcony7.com
Robert Anthony Olszak is a prolific speaker, author and is an expert in leadership. His research and involvement with Millennials has also made him a trusted source for Millennial issues; raising awareness as the voice of this generation.
Grace Covenant Consulting is a full service management and business solutions firm that specializes in helping all businesses provide sustainable strategic plans navigating real world problems. They also specialize in technical writing providing entrepreneurs with business forecasting for continued growth, business plans, employee handbooks and drafting of policy and procedure.
You can follow Robert on social media at: https://twitter.com/RAOLSZAK, http://robertolszak.com, http://gracecovenantconsulting.com/, https://www.facebook.com/gracecovenantconsulting