The importance of a good game plan

We often hear that only fools never change their minds. Well, you may have to be a little crazy to get into business!  Indeed, it is important to take the time to establish a rigorous game plan before getting into business and most importantly, to stick to it for at least some time.

 

The uncertainty of the beginning

Building a business includes a healthy dose of uncertainty because of the risk that it might bring up. It is therefore normal to question yourself regularly. Hence it is more important to start by taking the time to make a rigorous business plan, to present to people you trust so as to ensure that your business model, your financial plan and your ideas are viable before embarking.

Once you have your plan at hand, you can recall all the efforts you involved in and the credibility of the people who endorsed it and who believed in your idea from the onset. When you will manifest the need to drastically change course, remember that you did not go into business on a whim and that turning your model on an impulse would render unnecessary all the initial efforts to go all the way. If you really feel the need to radically change your business, I advise you to repeat the starting exercise and then compare your two business plans to evaluate which has more potential.

Never consider the time already invested and the obstacles crossed. Always evaluate your options as you did on the first run. After all, what is done is done and you will not be able to go back!

 

The excitement of a business opportunity

In addition to be stressful, starting a business is even more challenging. You may want to seize every opportunity that comes your way. BEWARE! At the risk of playing the “party poopers”, spreading yourself from the beginning, might dilute your efforts and increase your investments while your business is still fragile. Start by solidifying your bases, becoming the best in what sets you apart and then broadening your scope of operations. If the signature of a new client requires the hiring of two specialized employees when you are only three, make sure your backbone is strong enough and do not rely solely on the potential that this client might represent in five years. Especially if you do not see any other way to render these new employees’ time profitable!

 

Finally, adjusting to the market

Though it is important to have a solid plan and stick to it for some time to ensure that it is fully assessed, it does not mean that you do not have to adjust to the market. Thus, several companies, including LinkedIn, Apple and several others have adjusted their initial model based on the demands of their customers. Before proceeding, they still took the time to establish their bases and test the potential of their first idea more than necessary.  It is also this first phase that enabled them to receive enough requests to make sure that it was worth their change of course.

In short, if you go into business, be crazy enough not to change your mind, trust yourself and your intuitions and listen to your customers, they will tell you to where to go.

 

Author

David Brochu, Partner, Chief Strategy & International Growth Officer