One of the most important considerations in any business plan is YOU, the owner or owners.
Do you have the skills, experience and ability to drive this business?
Will you still be interested in this idea in 12 or 24 month’s time?
Do you understand your strengths, skills and personality?
Can you structure this opportunity to enable you to work to your strengths?
The good news with this step is that once you have done this exercise, it is good for a number of business ideas and over a long time period.
If you have not done this before, then I suggest you review yourself and your interests, values, strengths and skills and see what roles and connections you are bringing to the business. If you get clarity about what you love, and set up a business to enable you to work to those strengths, then your passion and enthusiasm will shine through and customers are attracted to that. If you are just looking for a ‘get rich quick scheme’, it will show, you are likely to run out of motivation at the first hurdle or your customers will recognise that your heart is not in it.
Start with your Purpose and Values: There are lots of speakers, workshops, books and programmes to help you do this internal work on your purpose and values. Pick one that you like and go with that or try Dr John de Martini, Tony Robbins, JB GLossinger etc. Keep asking WHY until you get to the core drivers of yourself. Why do I like travel? Why do I want a sports car?, Why am I interested in wellness? Why, why why?
Underneath it will likely be some truths about what really inspires you; don’t go after the benefits or outputs, you are looking for the deep underlying drivers.
Then let’s consider your Personality and Communication style, even though we are all unique, there are some common traits that often group together and knowing these is a short cut way of understanding both yourself and others. It also gives some great clues about what roles or environments will suit you. Try the iMa system http://www.plusonedynamics.com/ima_questionnaire.html which is a fast and free test which will group you into one of 4 segments as your primary communication style. If you are ‘big picture’ fast paced, high energy and a natural warm connector of people, you might suit sales or HR role, but are unlikely to thrive in a QA, analyst or technical specification writing role. It doesn’t use your natural skills.
If you love detail are a bit of a perfectionist and want to make sure you have got it right, you might make a good pilot or accountant but are unlikely to thrive in the theatre, or on the trading floor.
Some personality styles go better with some job roles: when you are designing your own business you have the opportunity to create it play to your strengths. You then buy-in the skills to fill the gaps as soon as possible.
We suggest you do a checklist of your skills and personality and that of any other directors and see where the gaps are, and where the strengths are. If you don’t like finances, you might learn to read and understand them but you are unlikely to ever be passionate about them, so find someone who is. This is not about ‘beating yourself up’ for what you are not, it is about finding a solution or that so that you can focus on your strengths. You will be happier and your business will be more prosperous if you do it.
You can also see the style of any other owners or proposed shareholders or affiliates, are you working and communicating well? What happens when there is stress or pressure? Each style has a set of fairly unattractive behaviours that come out under stressful situations, and recognising these in each other can go a long way to a building a harmonious relationship. If you would like a workplace assessment of each of your styles, risks and the issues that will arise and how to address them, contact us at Start Up Lab and we can discuss how powerful a tool this could be.
Finally, in this section consider risk appetite or how much certainty you like. Risk is one of the primary personality traits that need assessment in a business. If you are cautious and like certainty and facts, you may be less suited to early stage entrepreneurial start-ups especially in a volatile industry. In this case you might consider a franchise businesses or buying into an established business with a track record. If you are considering going to business with a fellow director and have equal shares, then consider your individual risk profiles. If you are at opposite ends of the spectrum, then one will block the other from moving forward. If you are both risk averse you will likely delay decisions (which is a choice in itself) and if you are both gamblers – you may be headed for trouble. When you structure the shareholding consider if a non-executive director might be a good option for facilitating strategic business decisions and avoiding stalemate situations.
Final step… coming soon