I’m stoked this morning. First, my wife safely arrived home today from a business trip to Tampa. That was an ordeal in and of itself for her in trying to get home, but that’s a story for her to tell another time. She’s home.
Second, I participated in the 2nd session of my workshop on business planning last night. Offered by the Chester County chapter of SCORE at the Chester County Library, it was a challenging, thought-provoking 2.5 hours.
Last night in class we talked about marketing plans, target markets, competition, pricing strategy, channel delivery and marketing messages. After last weeks session, I came away shell-shocked at all the things I needed to put front and center as I work to get this business off on the right foot. Can I do this? Do I have what it takes to make this happen, this time? My previous attempt to start a business back about 15 years ago resulted in shutting the doors after 2 years when the revenue being generated was not supporting me and my family. I had bought a shipping franchise, and through no fault of the franchisor, I just wasn’t able to make a go of it.
I now realize that part of the problem back then was my need to get to “doing the business” and not invest the needed time to “planning the business”. 15 years of life experiences has taught me at least one thing – take the time up front to really, really look at what you are about to do and account for as much as possible. Look at all the good things that will happen, but take a hard look at the bad too. Plan the exit strategy. Really? Now? Sure. How do you know where you want to get to if there’s no end game identified.
I’m still antsy to get to “doing the business”, but I am approaching it more cautiously now. Doing the research – thank you Chester County Library and its ReferenceUSA materials, where would I be without you. Thinking about the local market (there must be at least 75 web development firms within 25 miles of Downingtown – who knew?) What’s my value proposition? Why me? What do I do better than the next guy? It’s coming together. Laid awake last night with my mind going in a hundred different directions. It helped that I knew my wife was safe and sound in a Tampa Marriott waiting for her 5:30 am flight to come home today.
So, I’m stoked today. I got this.
BTW, if you are thinking about rolling your own, please talk to your local SCORE folks. They know their stuff and offer their advice freely. ‘Been there, done that’ has a lot of value when you are starting out on your own. Give ’em a call. You may be surprised.
It’s been a good week. Oh, and the dentist last week. Root canal. Ugh.