Someone asked me recently, “If there is a single step in starting a business that could guarantee success, what could it be?”
This is a tough question to answer. It’s like asking for a magic bullet for attaining business success when none exists. Success in business sometimes feels like it depends on whether the stars align perfectly in the sky or if Lady Luck smiles at your efforts and reward you for your work.
Luck aside, I feel that the most important step is detailed preparation. Rare are those who can wake up one day and decide to start a business they know nothing about and then succeed. For most people, having an extensive knowledge of the product or service is critical. You don’t succeed in a lawncare business if you don’t know anything about grasses. Or become the best search engine optimization firm out there when you know nothing about search engines and how to rank well.
By having deep knowledge of the business you are going in, you are able to understand what your customers need and want, address these needs and wants, and offer them products that will be of value to them.
Detailed preparation also entails going through the business planning. No, you don’t have to write the business plan if you are not going to apply for a loan or finding an investor. But the business plan process can help you understand your business and prepare you for what you need to expect when you start the business. The process can help you understand your value proposition, identify your target market, find ways to best reach them, know the financial requirements of the business, among other critical information.
So what is the most important step for you in starting a business?