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1
Starting Your Own Business? Here’s What To Do First
2
How To Deal With A Giant Competitor
3
The Power Of The SWOT Analysis
4
Why Do You Need A Business Plan?
5
The 5 Stages Of Business Planning

Starting Your Own Business? Here’s What To Do First

Are you thinking of starting your own business?

Exciting times! Let me congratulate you on deciding to take your future into your own hands!

It is an exciting – and also a little frightening – experience as you work out what to do and where you want to go and how to start. What’s the first thing to do?

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How To Deal With A Giant Competitor

Do you feel the fear trickling down your spine when you hear “Amazon”?

Does your business have a similar industry giant coming to town and you’re wondering how it’s going to affect your business?

These big boys really can shift tectonic plates in the marketing world, but you shouldn’t panic – you should get ready.

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The Power Of The SWOT Analysis

One of the most powerful tools you can use in planning is called the SWOT Analysis.

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The tool analyses what strengths and weaknesses your business has, and what opportunities and threats may arise.

But many people use it imperfectly and do not harness the full power of the SWOT Analysis. So, how should you use it during a planning exercise to ensure that its powerful advantages are fully utilised?

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Why Do You Need A Business Plan?

In my 35 year career, I have only known a handful of small business owners who have prepared a business plan.

I find this astounding.

You would not leave the house to go shopping without some sort of plan – even if only in your head – about where you are going, where you would look to park the car, what you will wear with one eye on the weather, what you will buy, and how you will pay for it. Without this, how would you know whether to turn right or left at the end of your driveway?

Yet people start their businesses and run them for several years without thinking the journey through! Even worse, some people would read my example of the shopping trip and say “I’m just like that – I have it all in my head, that’s good enough.” Really? You are going to invest thousands and years into your business and you think it’s enough to have a thought kept in your head?

If you own an emerging business, relatively new, maybe 5 or 6 years old or so, and you are finding that you work hard every day but not seeming to get anywhere – if you find that for the last few years you have tried one idea before thinking of another and switching but not getting any co-ordinated growth forwards, how’s that undocumented “thought” working for you?

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The 5 Stages Of Business Planning

I have been working with small business owners for over 35 years and I am still amazed every day that the large majority of small businesses don’t have a business plan!

Let me run through these familiar statistics again – 80% of small business startups fail within the first 5 years; statistically, the main reason these failed small business owners cite as the reason for their failure is that they did not foresee their best path forward. That’s code for “did not have a plan.”

If you are an emerging small business owner with a relatively new business, and you do not have a business plan that you are working to, every day must be an adventure!

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