Let's start with my personal experience and examine my first dabble into entrepreneurship! Starting a business can be exhausting and demanding. Over the years, I have developed a number of small businesses. Each venture proposed its own unique set of obstacles. As you know, entrepreneurs often fulfill many roles. My education and previous business experiences provided a strong platform to work from. However, my expertise was primarily in business operations and sales but my business needed attention in multiple areas. In addition, my budget was super tight and I had no idea where to begin.
What did I learn and how did I get started? Initially, I created a simplified business strategy and roadmap. Don't waste your time creating a detailed 100 page business plan! I promise you, the majority of its content will change. However, focus on the primary objects, keep it simple, and set obtainable goals. Remember, business strategies/plans are living and breathing documents. They will grow and evolve over time.
Secondly, I constructed a listing of my personal business strengths and weaknesses. I then contacted individuals on LinkedIn, who possessed experience in my areas of weakness and invited them to join my advisory board. Going forward, I had access to a group of knowledgable resources within the areas I struggled with.
Lastly, I quickly discovered my time and ability was limited. You can only accomplish so much and there is strength in numbers. I needed help but funds were limited. After-all, I was still working from my mother's basement! I then contacted and recruited a small team of local college students (business majors) to help. The students needed real world experience, recommendations, and access to my network; while the business needed help with daily operations. The exchange was perfect!
1. Roadmaps are key! Create a simplified business strategy.
2. Address your weakness! Establish an advisory board.
3. You need help! Recruit talent at your local colleges.