Living on aspiration and optimism can only take you so far as entrepreneur. At some point, you need to turn your business idea into an actual business. You just need to put your head down and get ish done.
There are opposing views on the relevance of business plans but, personally, I found it quite useful. Apart from financial forecasts, which I think is nothing more than thumb suck for a start up; it forced me to think about the various aspects of my business that I may have not thought about. It’s actually quite embarrassing that after studying for so long, I did not how to write a business plan! Nowhere in high school, university or articles was I taught how to do one. Nonetheless, it wasn’t a problem Google could not solve.
I researched business models of various tech companies like Linked-In, Air BnB, Trip Advisor and the like. Oh yes, and I liked getting my regular dose of Ted Talks- I managed to pick up some good ideas from watching some of those.
I found some business plan templates online and started drawing up my lengthy business plan. It included details of the problem I was trying to solve, how I plan on solving it, my vision, my mission, who my target market is, how I plan on marketing to them, details of my competition and what made me different, how I plan on generating revenue, a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, risks and mitigants and a very rough budget.
I also drew up a business model canvas- quite a useful little exercise. It’s very simple and captures the essence of my business.
See the article I wrote on planning your business for Entrihub.
I don’t know about you, but my mind feels like a browser with 100 tabs open at the same time. I need to organize my mind, otherwise I will go mad. I am a firm believer of To-Do Lists which is great to manage your own time, but that does not help much when you have to manage a team of people (staff or freelancers) and their various deliverables.
For project management, there is a principle that suggest that we should spend 80% of our time planning and 20% on execution. So I try and spend considerable time on devising a plan of action and clearly explaining the tasks to my freelancers.
There are quite a few free project/team planning apps out there but the one I used was Trello. It’s pretty cool, you can design various boards and invite team members, assign deadlines and track, comments etc.
I also use Google Drive extensively. I have it synched on all of devices. Plus, I can share Google Drive folders with my freelancers and collaborate from there. No need to take out expensive cloud storage solutions if you are just starting out.