Are You Ready To Start Up Your StartUp Company?
During the past couple of decades, I’ve discussed business plans with thousands of start up entrepreneurs and emerging company CEOs in hundreds of different industries located all over the world.
As a long time entrepreneur myself, I know the kind of excitement that comes with starting something from scratch and growing it from an embryo.
Virtually all of those thousands of entrepreneurs who needed a business plan felt that same exhilaration – and they couldn’t wait to get to their own vision’s successful Point B. Regardless of type of industry or geographic location, entrepreneurial exuberance seems to be a universal constant!
However, besides the shared kind of enthusiasm each had for their own company, a large majority of these entrepreneurs shared another common trait.
The problem was that most of them weren’t yet ready to start their business plan. They simply had not yet thought through some of the fundamental business issues that require decisions before you can even answer the driving assumptions that are necessary for planning.
The upshot was that too many chose wrong answers and made wrong decisions about these driving assumptions – and these up front mistakes ended up becoming fatal road blocks for many of these entrepreneurs, often waylaying them with dead end trails so they never got to their successful Point B.
The good news is that I’ve discovered a quick, straight forward, very cost-effective solution for quickly and easily destroying many of these road blocks – and minimizing dead end trails and “analysis paralysis.” More about that solution in a minute.
What Are Your Driving Assumptions For Your StartUp Company?
Before you are ready to produce a meaningful business plan for your start up or emerging company, you need to have thought through a series of 60+ pivotal issues in order to end up with a realistic plan for implementation.
- Which of the following questions about your new or emerging company are the ones that are currently unanswered?
- Which dozen questions are the ones that are your biggest concerns?
- Which dozen questions are the ones that deal with your biggest roadblocks to success?
These are the pivotal questions I’ve learned how to answer over my past three decades of experience that I’ve gained from starting my own four dozen companies, raising $25 million from investors for my own deals and helping over Two Thousand entrepreneurs and CEOs in 49 of the 50 states, in more than 40 countries on six of the seven continents.
No Cookie Cutter Business Plans For Your Start Up Company!
The following 60+ questions are the ones that almost all start up and emerging companies MUST answer correctly for success.
And, there’s no room for useless “cookie cutter” answers.
Your answers to these questions need to be very specifically tailored to your company, your approach to formation, implementation and operation of your business and how you want to fund your company’s growth.
This is what it takes so you don’t end up with a meaningless “cookie cutter” business plan!
Don’t get overwhelmed or intimidated with what I am about to ask you.
Whether we work together or not, try your best to develop your own detailed, comprehensive answers to all 60+ questions – before you attempt any business plan.
Some Questions That Need Specific Answers For Your StartUp Company
- What are the basic concepts of your company?
- What are your ideal yet realistic major objectives for the company after you are in business for five years?
- What do you want MOST to have accomplished after five years?
- What are the company keys – for success, risk, business challenges, market differentiation and technology factors?
- What exactly ARE you selling? Products, services, both? Now? Five years from now? Are they REALLY the best right here, right now, products or services for you to start with? How soon can you earn a dollar?
- What are your strategic and tactical foci for your marketing and sales?
- What is YOUR calculated cost of acquisition for each of your typical customers?
- Have you established an affordable marketing and advertising campaign within your budget constraints that matches your customer acquisition costs and your revenue targets?
- What is your SWOT?
- Who are your competitors? (If your answer is “none”, you are NOT ready for a business plan!)
- What is your value proposition? Ignoring motherhood words, why WILL customers buy from you instead of their alternatives?
- What are your sales channels? Who will close each sale? How will you motivate and compensate your sales force?
- What are your strategies regarding ad agencies / creative content / advertising, budget issues and costs – how will you REALLY rise above the noise level? Are you sure you don’t need this? Are you sure your budget is right?
- What are your best strategies and tactics for attacking the market and generating both fast sales and reaching positive cash flow?
- What are your forecasts for the products and services that will be sold? How many of each will be sold during each month for the first two years and yearly for the next 3 years?
- What are your target price points and why? Are you too cheap? Are you too expensive? Are you sure?
- What are your costs of goods? Are there better alternatives?
- What is the most likely ramp up for sales, in units, of each product and service?
- What are your constraints to growth? Personnel? Capital? Product and service diversification? Market demand? Sales channels?
- What would you do differently if you had $1 million more than you think you need? $5 million?
- What would it take to increase your Year 5 revenues by a factor of 10? Are you sure?
- Have you developed a realistic organizational structure?
- Will it support your sales forecast?
- Have you established job definitions and salary requirements for every position?
- Are YOU the ideal CEO for your own company? Now? In five years?
- How much are you going to pay YOU? Are you sure?
- Have you laid out a K&T Chart mapping the credentials, experience and capabilities of the ideal candidate for each key position?
- Do you have a realistic timeline for hiring each person? This includes hiring them at the right time so you don’t waste payroll – and properly reflecting the time required to interview, decide, offer, negotiate, hire and have them actually start working and being productive for you.
- Have your capital needs and cash flow calculations taken into account all the hiring costs associated with using headhunters, Monster.com, etc.?
- What, exactly, have you decided to do about stock options, founder’s equity, bonus pools and other incentives for key personnel?
- Who will serve on your board of directors / board of advisors? Have you taken into account all the issues? Who are your candidates? What is their compensation?
- Do you know your W3 – Who? Is going to do What? When?
- Do you have the right Who?
- Do you have a definite list of all the What?
- Does the When match the timeline you need to capitalize on your ideas and the marketplace?
- Have you fully defined realistic operating costs?
- Do they reflect the direct and indirect implications of both the sales forecast and the organizational structure?
- What kind of facilities will be required for the number of people working for the company? How many sq. ft. of space are required for offices? For warehousing? What rent per sq. ft.? What are the costs for utilities? Taxes? Insurance? How does all this change over the next five years?
- Is your production internal or outsourced?
- How much capital will be consumed by inventory?
- What systems and procedures will be needed?
- What are the detailed steps required for fulfillment?
- Have you taken all three dozen kinds of typical operating costs into account? (MAJOR risk factors if you overlook the wrong costs.)
- What are the industry-specific and company-specific operating costs you have beyond the usual three dozen line items?
- What are your start up capital requirements?
- What will you have in start up costs – what dollars will need to be spent in the first 30 days after kick off if you are going to do it “the right way?”
- How much money will you need for everything? Are you sure? Do you know how much will be left in the bank account when you start generating positive monthly cash flow? What will you do if you start to run out of money to pay the bills?
- How much in reserves do you want to add to what you THINK you need for start up capital? How much do you need for reserves for you to be able to sleep at night since you KNOW that it ALWAYS takes longer and ALWAYS costs more?
- What is your fundraising strategy?
- Equity or debt or self-funded?
- If equity, what structure? What will you give up? What kind of ROI will your investors enjoy if everything goes right? Are you sure it’s enough? Are you giving away too little or too much? What happens if everything does NOT go right?
- Do you fully understanding the laws regarding fundraising? Do you know the constraints of state and federal securities laws and the VERY onerous penalties for even a slight technical violation?
- Investors – do you know how to find them? How to motivate them to write the check? What kind of communications you need to send them? What about their rights and your obligations?
- Do you know the “deviled details” involved in raising the money?
- Do you know how to start legal / stay legal?
- What is your exit strategy? What if your investors want a different strategy?
- What will your company be worth in five years?
- What are your major milestones for the next five years – to get from where you are now to where you want to be? Will those milestones accomplish all the five year objectives you established?
- Does your business model REALLY make sense – for you, for your family, for your team, for your investors? Is the risk / reward ratio good enough for YOU to adequately receive the ROI that YOU deserve for all the investment of time, energy, money and life it will take to get you there?
- Your other questions: What else do you need to know? What other issues, what other questions, particular to your business, do you need answered?
If you already know, in detail, most or all of the above questions – you have my heartfelt congratulations! You truly understand your new business and are genuinely ready to establish realistic driving assumptions for your business plan.
No Arm Waving, Trite Or Easy Answers Allowed About Your Start Up!
Make sure you are not approaching the answers to these question with arm waving, trite or quick and easy answers. If you are, then you probably don’t have the answers that will help you avoid failure. Generalities at this point on your path to your vision will keep you from getting to your Point B.
Imagine doing an action plan for each question with every major and semi-major step required for complete implementation.
Imagine if someone was working for you and you had tasked them with giving you a thorough action plan, what level of detail would you expect to get from a great employee to convince you that they knew and understood what was needed?
What level of detail would you require to motivate you to fund their request for the implementation dollars?
Your answers to those questions, in that role, is the level of detail you need now. After all, you now work for yourself…so, in this case, you are both the boss and that employee!
First of all, invest in the time to write down your answers to every question. Start with one full paragraph answers to each question. Then expand each answer to fill one full page, or more.
Each of the answers to your 60+ questions need detailed answers so that you really understand the scope of the issue, the real cost, the real timeline and exactly what resources will be required and what those resources will cost you.
One example is sales and marketing. Think in terms of every major and semi-major milestone you will face, just for sales and marketing, during the first 12 month after you really start your company. Consider this small sampling:
- How much is your budget? Is it enough to rise above the noise level?
- Where, exactly, will you advertise? How much, exactly, will each ad cost?
- Where does your top competition advertise? How often? What size banner ad or print ad? What do they spend each month and each year?
- Who will develop your creative concept? Who will generate your ad and web site copy? What about the art work?
- What about Google Ad-Words? Who will run the campaign? What’s the budget just for this?
- Etc. – more details that are specific to your start up company, your industry, your micro-niche.
Now, once you have drilled down on your sales and marketing, use this same written approach for each of those 60+ questions and for each of the resulting milestones.
List out, in writing, your W Cubed = WHO is doing WHAT, WHEN?
The Kick Start Plan – For Your StartUp Company
I offer you these questions for free. I want to make sure you have the best probability for success – and if you can avoid the arm waving and the trite and easy answers – the DETAILED AND CORRECT answers to these 60+ pivotal questions can GREATLY reduce your risk and help you get to your Point B.
If you find that many of these 60+ questions and concepts are new to you, don’t feel badly. Most entrepreneurs simply don’t have an extensive background in many of these areas – nor have they had meaningful experiences with these broad ranging issues.
If you don’t know enough about certain areas covered by these questions to answer a full page of details, find the answers from someone who does know.
If you can’t list the W Cubed = WHO is doing WHAT, WHEN? for each question, then you need a genuinely knowledgeable resource to help you quickly get those real life answers – so you don’t get bogged down for an eternity with analysis paralysis.
You can probably sense that these 60+ questions cover a lot – even if this isn’t everything – that you need to know to greatly increase your probability of success with your new or emerging company. Your know that your own expertise, training and experience are in other crucial areas that will be equally needed for the success of your new or emerging company.
But what are you going to do about these questions so they don’t become a road block keeping you from your Point B?
You can already sense that once you have drilled down and have detailed answers to many, if not all, of the above questions, your vision will be more clear for your company’s Point B! And, the clearer your vision, the higher the probability of your success.
So, what are your realistic options for finding these answers – and knowing the right driving assumptions for your business plan? Who are you going to call that can really help with you with this kind of decision making?
My Kick Start Plan Service is one of the ways I can help – by mentoring you, and consulting with you, by phone and email to help you find your best answers possible for many of these questions, you can much more quickly and accurately implement the steps necessary to get to your vision’s Point B.
The mentoring, consulting and brainstorming will be specific answers and solutions for your company, your vision and your Point B so you have realistic driving assumptions – so you don’t end up with a cookie cutter business plan that will have little to do with your company’s specific Point B!
Ready To Get Started – And Get Your Start Up Company Rolling?
I recommend we start with my simple Kick Start Plan Service: Two hours of mentoring and consulting by phone and email – specifically focused on helping you to answer your dozen most important questions out of the above 60+ questions. The costs is only $550.
We’ll start with the above questions and issues that are your dozen biggest concerns so that you get the most bangs for your buck, up front. Then, we can move on to the secondary questions and issues to start filling in those blanks as we have time. Of course, depending on how much prior drill down you have done on these questions, we won’t be able to explore all 60+ questions in only two hours.
But we should be able to focus on destroying your dozen biggest road blocks.
After those initial two hours, you can decide if you want to stop – or go for additional hours of mentoring and consulting – or if you decide that you would best benefit from my Deviled Details Strategic and Action Planning Service. Or, we can move on directly to my various business plan services for your startup company if you are ready.
No ongoing obligation. No long term anything.
Just greatly improved clarity – destroyed road blocks – and some pivotal answers for your business plan‘s driving assumptions.
All the best,
Robert Lee Goodman, MBA
Ceo & Chief ImpleMentor
Ceo Resource LLC
PS: Limited Time Offer – Free $97 Funding Foreplay Audio Course Included
For a limited time, clients signing up for my Kick Start Plan Service will receive a hard copy version of my Funding Foreplay Audio Course that sells on Amazon for $97.
Funding Foreplay is a four module audio training course that is designed to teach start up company CEOs like you – how to properly prepare and present the dozen documents you must have to successfully romance and seduce angel investors and VC to invest in your company.
With this Funding Foreplay Course, you get a dozen real life documents I used for one of my own companies, PhotoGraphic LLC. Mock up sample documents are one thing…but with real life documents, all congruently integrated with one another, you gain much better clarity from the consistency of seeing one company’s document trail, start to finish.
In addition to these dozen documents, you also receive the two Worksheets that will help define your own company when we get to Module 4 and cover your own business plan.
All 14 of these documents will show you the kinds of questions you will need answered for your own start up. ..What you will need for the flirting, courting, seduction and consummation of your funding.
Click Funding Foreplay for more details!
PS: Here’s some other topics and links that you might find interesting:
Deviled Details- See how well you have already defined your own strategy and tactics for your start up or emerging company. Do you know what your W Cubed is for every major and semi-major milestone for the next 12 months? Find out if my Deviled Details Service can help you more fully define your critical strategy and tactics – and help you avoid the potentially lethal mistakes that kill so many start up and emerging companies.
Real Estate ImpleMentor Service – Need help with capitalizing on the current real estate market? Need help on finally implementing all the steps necessary to finally get rolling with your own real estate company? If so, find out if my Real Estate Implementation Service might be your very best next step.
Funding Foreplay – Learn how to romance and seduce investors with the right dozen documents. Find out if this five hour audio course, with it dozen sample documents, might be your very best, and most cost-effective, starting point for preparing your business plan and offering documents to legally raise funds from angel investors.
Finding Your Funding – Do you know what you need to know to legally raise investor capital for your company? Avoid jail time by watching this short video.
Virtual-Exec Service – Need cost-effective, senior-level executive help with your start up or emerging company? Need a Virtual Chief Operating Officer to implement all those Deviled Details necessary to get to your Point B?
Recent Clients – See the hundreds of industries I’ve helped with my consulting services in 49 of the 50 states, in over 40 countries and on 6 of the 7 continents. Find out if you are in the one state I am offering a major discount for my first client with headquarters in that state.
Testimonials – Read the comments from several dozen past clients about how my services have helped them get much closer to their desired Point B.
Profile - Find out if my background, credentials, expertise and experience is a good match for your current consulting needs.
Blog – Check out my blog on start up and emerging companies.
If you are faced with immediate needs or opportunities, I invite you to let me know how I can best help you and your startup company.
PS: Click here to check out my Funding Foreplay Audio Course at Amazon.com if you need startup company help to raise investor capital.
- Start Up Mentoring
- Start Up Business Plan
- How to Start a Book Publishing Company Plus Business Plan – MS Word/Excel
- Freelancer’s Guide to Starting Your Own Virtual Web Company
- Angel investors gamble on big returns
- Starting a Company with the UCI Business Competition
- OSHA and NFPA70E Consulting Business. No start up cost!
- Business Plan Example, Max Fallek, Acceptable Book