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Tag Archives: business planning

Having started 2012 with a goal to get my own business going (in a serious way) I have been looking for advice. One source of advice that I like are books and there are a couple that I have found particularly useful. I will discuss one of those here.

I recently finished listening to the audiobook of The Entrepreneur Equation by Carol Roth. It was eye-opening, addressing the question of not can you be an entrepreneur but “should” you be. The book is filled with warnings. While many  books on the topic address what a budding entrepreneur should do, it would seem this book is intent on dissuading the reader/listener from going into business. That is probably not exactly true but it does ensure that one would be going into the endeavor with their eyes wide open. The Entrepreneur Equation addresses the myth of the “American Dream” and what it is really like to be running one’s own business. The book certainly dispels some romantic assumptions such as having freedom and time to pursue one’s passion – the reality is that you are going to be running a business and can expect to be consumed by business activities – probably a lot more than by activities directly related to your passion.

In the early part of the book, I questioned whether it was for me or if I even shared the definition of what a business is. I found myself disagreeing with what Roth said the goal of the business should be. She puts down, as a “jobby”, endeavors which are basically a one-person business. A jobby is a job-hobby – a job created to allow the owner to pursue his/her hobby. I got the impression that Roth’s book was addressing big (or at least potentially big) business and saying that the only reason to be an entrepreneur is to create a business  so you can build it’s value and sell it. A business that relies solely on the owner and the owner’s talents would have no value without that owner, hence can not be sold and has no intrinsic value and should not be pursued. Since this jobby-type of business is what I am interested in, I was almost ready stop listening right there. I did persevere and am glad I did. The remainder of the book was still of value as a reminder of what one must be prepared for – in any sort of business undertaking.

Having listened to this book, I feel I will have to listen to it again to get the full message. The title of the book  refers to an equation and that is indeed an important part of this work – developing a personal “equation”, through analysis of you and your situation, to help you decide if you should be an entrepreneur. I found this equation part difficult to pull together in my head while listening and so will think of getting a hard copy of the book (and recommend that you do too.)

To hear/see author Carol Roth talk about her book, check out this YouTube video.

The second book which I recommend for anyone considering starting a business, is “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber.  This book also serves to open one’s eyes to the realities of running a business but I will say more about in a future post.

Have you read “The Entrepreneur Equation”? What do you think about it?

 

April 16th was the 2nd (and final) day of the “Strategizing Your Way to Success” professional development seminar put on as part of the 2010 APEGGA annual conference.

Again there was a lot of good information presented, ranging from the Three Dimensions of Self, to Team Thinking Skills to Strategic Business Planning. Today I would like provide food for thought by providing the Four Key Questions to ask when you are business planning.

Question 1: Where are we now? This is such an obvious question that it might easily be overlooked. However, if you don’t know where you are now (on probably a number of different parameters) you may not be able to measure success and may have great difficulty in even defining where you want to be.

Question 2: Where do we want to be? Think carefully about this one but do set a clear goal, a clear description of the new state in which you expect to end up. The answer to this is one of the endpoints in the classic “gap analysis”.

Question 3: How do we get there? This is the essence of strategic planning – coming up with the way to bridge the gap between you present and desired state. You don’t need all of the details at the strategic planning stage – you can get to that when you are laying out your tactics, but you should have a general idea

Question 4: How do we Measure it? How do you measure success, how do you know that you achieved your goal? Your measure of success may be easily measured base don some financial measure or it may require something like a customer satisfaction survey, but the whole change process will be  meaningless if you can’t measure success after implementing you plan.

A  lot more can be said about strategic business planning but I think anyone asking and arriving at good answers to these 4 key questions will be well on their way to planning a successful strategic change.