Business advice

You need to get all your ducks in a row
November 17, 2008, 8:41 pm
Filed under: Business Advice

I have a new reason for why new businesses fail. They don’t do enough planning or homework before they start telling others about their brilliant ‘idea.’

On one of the lists I read I found someone advertising his wish to start an economic consulting firm. Fine in theory, but only in theory. The economy is bad and businesses and non-profits could use help from someone with an economic spin.

Well, I have content that talks about it, so why not contact this guy. I sent him two referrals via email, economists I know from my time in college. I also sent him a link to my site. He called me the next day and I was astonished by what he didn’t know. (He admitted to having read several of my articles.)

“I just got the idea yesterday. It seems like you probably know more about this than I do. I haven’t figured out who I want to market to. It seems as if companies would need my help in this time.”

On further questioning, he admitted to running a rare coin business. Then adding that he knew more about that than what he put in his ad. I suggested he talk to one of my people since they had done some consulting. The ultimate shocker was his ad in the section for writers. I asked why and he retorted that “it was money.” That section was free.

I have never met anyone so unready to start a business. I didn’t probe to see how successful his rare coin business was. I got the idea that he was getting tired of it.

Ok, what could have this guy done to possibly make his ‘idea’ go somewhere other than being laid to rest in an ad on craigslist?

He could have googled ‘economic consultants’ and checked out what others have done. I found more than 10 pages of them. Asking another established business how they managed to be successful might be tricky. But nothing is stopping you from going through the about pages of several to get an idea as to how others are doing it.

Here are some of the questions that need answering..Who are you going to market your service to? A lot of companies could use help right now from anyone who understands economics. The question remains which ones and how does one approach them. Small business, which is defined as any company earning up to $10 M by Inc magazine, are in a mess in some market niches. However, it isn’t going to be easy to convince them to paying for something they don’t know they need.

The next action might be to check out a local firm and discover what kind of clients they have. Many service companies list clients on their website.

If you belong to a Chamber of Commerce, and you were looking to start this kind of business, I can almost guarantee you will find someone who would let you either volunteer to give them this service or charge a nominal fee. In exchange you will get to mention them in your advertising.

After all of this research, then and only then will you be ready to go public with your plans. How many clients do you want? What types of clients? How much are you going to charge? How many people will you need to pull off your plans? How much will you need to finance the plan? Even if you only put a basic website and do a little local advertising, it doesn’t come free.

You are now getting the picture. This is how you put your ducks in a row. Never talk to someone about a ‘great idea’ and continue to say, “I really don’t know what I am doing.” That is failure, big time.

Any and all business takes planning to successfully get off the ground. In times of tight financing, it takes even more planning. Business loans are only going to come to those with good credit and great planning.

Launching a successful business is probably the hardest work on the planet.

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