Part II: After Your Big Idea, Before the Business Plan

By Kenny Smilovitch, Director of the Duman Entrepreneurship Center

In Part I, Kenny Smilovitch wrote, “Allow me to highlight a few components that I feel are critical for entrepreneurs before getting started on a business plan: character, experience, marketing and support”. After covering character and experience last month, here’s what he has to say about marketing and support.

Marketing

We often believe we are ambassadors for the markets we serve and that what we think about a product or service, our customers will also believe. But over time, we learn that customers are made up of unique groups or segments of individuals and that each of these segments may possess different values or motivations for engaging with a product or service. Think of all the reasons a customer may walk into a particular café—to reward oneself with the best quality, to find a cheap alternative, to socialize, to study or do work. Understanding the competitive landscape and how we can uniquely “position” our business to appeal to a clearly identified target market can help identify unmet needs in the marketplace as we develop our competitive advantage. Just as artists develop prototypes or musicians record rough demo tracks to better understand their visions, successful entrepreneurs test their ideas in the marketplace. What steps can we take to validate our ideas before we invest our energy and resources? What differentiates my business idea and the products or services I will provide from others in the market?

Support

Developing a business requires emotional and financial support. Do you have savings that you can use to contribute to the cost of your new venture? Do you have income that you can allocate to your start-up? Do you understand the timing of revenue and expenses, and how they can impact the profitability of your business? Do you have a network of family or friends that are willing to support you as work around the clock to realize your vision? Developing your start-up venture will take time and money. It is important to understand the impact your start-up will have on your family, friends, relationships and finances.

As you begin to more fully develop your plan, consider the issues above to minimize any risk associated with your venture and maximize your chance of success. Reflecting on your strengths, experience, market knowledge and support is a great place to start planning your business.

Have a quick question about your business idea? Already have a business plan and would like to have someone review it? Need a second opinion on your financial projections? Curious if your business is eligible for funding? We’re here to help. For more information on how the Duman Entrepreneurship Center can help you, please call 855.INFO.JVS.