Categorized | What's Your Goal?

Startup 1.1 – What’s Your Business Goal?

Shoestring Venture: The Startup Bible (1st Edition)Before you start anything, you need to determine the purpose or goal of your business. You will be surprised how many great ideas founder because of the lack of a clear business rather than personal goal. Whatever you determine your business goal to be, it will become ground zero of your business plan which in turn is your blueprint for success.

So what do we mean by a business goal? As opposed to other goals, such as personal or career goals? Well, anything that answers all or most of these questions:

1. Are you looking to create wealth through equity, income, or both? That is, are you looking to build up a successful business that you can either sell or go public with, i.e., building equity? Or are you interested mainly in the income that your business can generate? Or are you looking for a healthy income and future equity?
2. How much income do you want to earn? How much equity do you want to build?
3. How will you finance your business? Will you use your own money? Investors’ money? Or will you borrow money?
4. Is your primary personal goal to do work you like to do or is your primary personal goal to manage a large business?
5. Who are your customers and what value are you offering them? How are you making their lives and businesses better?
6. Can you make good on your promises to your customers?

1. Are you looking to create wealth through equity, income, or both? That is, are you looking to build up a successful business that you can either sell or go public with, i.e., building equity? Or are you interested mainly in the income that your business can generate? Or are you looking for a healthy income and future equity?

2. How much income do you want to earn? How much equity do you want to build?

3. How will you finance your business? Will you use your own money? Investors’ money? Or will you borrow money?

4. Is your primary personal goal to do work you like to do or is your primary personal goal to manage a large business?

5. Who are your customers and what value are you offering them? How are you making their lives and businesses better?

6. Can you make good on your promises to your customers?

Your answers to these questions will determine what kind of business structure you should use. For instance, if you want to make a healthy income but you’re starting your business to do what you like to do and you’re not interested in selling your business in the future, you may want to consider a sole proprietorship. However, if you’re seeking to build a highly profitable business with a sale potential sometime in the future, a sole proprietorship is the wrong way to go—you would want to set up a limited liability company or a corporation, a legal structure that allows you to easily sell your interest in the company.

WATCH OUT!

Above everything else, be careful to separate personal from business goals. If you like knitting and your goal is to spend more time with knitting, setting up an online yarn store is a bad idea. You set up an online yarn store in order to run an online yarn store, not to knit, talk about knitting, or be around knitters. I have seen more than one entrepreneur set up a business around personal interests and goals only to find, to their chagrin, that the business takes time away from those interests and personal goals. Business goals are always formulated in terms of equity, income, financing, and meeting customer needs. Personal goals, even ones as innocent as, “I want to be my own boss,” are admirable but, in the end, not what a business is about.

1.1.1 SCORE: Counselors to America’s Small Businesses : http://www. score.org

SCORE is the most valuable online resource available to help you get your business started. No exceptions. SCORE is a resource you can use for every issue we cover in this book; it should always be the first place you consult.

So what is it? SCORE is a nonprofit organization that has gathered together retired and working executives, business owners, and corporate leaders to provide free mentoring and advice to entrepreneurs starting their own business. SCORE boasts over 10,000 executive volunteers representing some 600 business skills; these volunteers will personally correspond with you via email or sit down with you face-to-face to give you advice based on their years of business experience. SCORE has provided free advice to over 7.5 million businesses and boasts Jelly Belly Candy, Vera Bradley, Vermont Teddy Bears, and Ahi Sushi as major successes they’ve mentored.

SCORE offers:

  • Online resources and articles.
  • Online workshops in Flash.
  • Free advice via email from over 1,300 counselors.
  • Face-to-face counseling in your area.

1.1.2 The Entrepreneur’s Reference Guide to Small Business Information: http://www.loc.gov/rr/business/guide/guide2

So if running your business requires an ocean of knowledge two inches deep, where’s the best place to get that ocean of knowledge?

Books. And more books.

The Library of Congress developed this large and exhaustive reference guide compiled by Robert Jackson. While it does not provide information, it does provide a comprehensive list of important books and sources. Most of the citations include short descriptions or the book’s table of contents. If you’re looking for the best books on starting your business, this is the site to bookmark.

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