Books for Financial Freedom

3 Ways to Eliminate the Fear of Launching a New Business


You have a great idea and want to start a business but the entire subject is wrapped in fear. You’ve most likely heard the quotes to push you to start the business. They are the quotes ringing loud with superhuman courage, strength and confidence. To retell some of the better ones: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”, “whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right” or “It's never crowded along the extra mile”. How about, “you have to spend money to make money’.
But charging up the hill like Teddy Roosevelt doesn’t sound so reasonable when talking about your life’s savings to start a new business. Just the thought of all those dollars flying out the window can give a reasonable person the shear terrors.

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Deciding to start a business doesn’t have to be fear filled. Imagine a way to launch a new business without the fear. It’s possible. The next 3 steps will tell you how.
Step 1: Find someone who has already done it successfully
Often, there are no completely new ideas. There are, however, many extraordinary new perspectives on how to satisfy existing needs. There just as many strikingly fabulous new adaptations to old solutions. Most likely, someone is doing the thing you want to do and they have been doing it successfully. It may differ slightly from what you want to do or it might be the same thing but in a different market. When you find them, you will be able to validate the fundamental part, if not your entire business model. If someone else is doing it, then you should be able to do it also.

Another easy way to validate your business model is through a trade association. According to the American Society of Association Executives, in 2009, there were 90,908 trade and professional associations in the United States.

With so many of them, one should be related to what you want to do. Associations are a source of information, research and statistics about their industry. Many have robust Blog sites filled with real ‘on the ground’ insights from their membership. Most organizations provide educational information to the public about their industry. Their white papers and industry reports can help you develop insight into the feasibility of your business model. A phone call to the association might yield the name of some members with whom you might talk, directly. You can find the names and contact information for a large number of industry and trade associations on the internet.

Two things will help you rest a lot easier about starting your business. Knowing someone else is successful doing what you want to do is the first one. The second is finding a trade association with lots of folks doing what you want to do. The next step is to get comfortable believing people will buy what you want to sell.
Step 2: Find 10 people who will buy what you want to sell at your price point
Ask 10 people if they would buy what you are selling at your price point. Ten is a reasonable number of people to ask but there is no reason why you couldn’t ask twenty. It’s your business. Twenty people telling you ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is a better sample than ten. If the results you get with twenty are not conclusive enough for you, then ask more people or change your questions. Keep asking people until you comfortable with the answers you are getting. Asking questions before you have made your investment is a lot easier on your bank account than asking the questions after you make the investment.

You can count on the predictably polite answer to the next question being ‘yes’. “Do you think you’d buy a Yellow Widget from me? I’m thinking of selling Yellow Widgets, in a few months, for maybe $20 each. I’ve checked it out. They are better than any Yellow Widgets you can find, anywhere." The positive answer you can expect to get from this type question is not always useful.

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Set the stage for getting actionable and useful answers. It’s worth your effort. If, from the beginning, you make clear your questions are significant, you can expect a thoughtful, honest answer. Assemble an interview packet for yourself to help you set the stage. It might contain a non-disclosure agreement, a product or service brochure and interview sheet. There are two reasons for using a non-disclosure agreement. The first reason is to protect yourself from someone taking your idea from you. The second, and more important reason at this stage, is to send a signal to the other person to prepare for a serious discussion. You can find a free basic non-disclosure template at the SCORE website. http://www.score.org/resources/non-disclosure-agreement-template Modify if to fit your needs. Once the other person signs your non-disclosure disclosure agreement you can be certain they will be ready for a focused business discussion about what you are going to sell. You’ll get useful answers to your questions.

A blisteringly clear description of what you are selling is an all important part of a product discussion. The description should include a photo or a graphic description of the product. If you going to sell a service, a description of what the customer might expect to receive and how the service will be delivered is absolutely necessary. The description should include the price, price options and a list of the product or service features. In the brochure, describe the benefit a customer might receive from each feature. Along with the benefit, explain why the feature is better than competitors and the value the customer might expect to receive. A precise, easy to understand, explanation of the selling price along with pricing options is also important. Showing the other person a sample order form or service agreement will help to eliminate any miscommunication about features and cost.

Having an interview sheet, prepared in advance, tells the other person, you are taking the interview seriously. Asking the other person for permission to take notes during the conversation lets the other person know you value their input. People are more apt to participate usefully when they believe their participation is valued.

Save your completed interview sheets and interview notes. The answers you get from interviewing people can help you decide if you are ready to invest the time and effort in preparing a business plan. Information from your interview sheets can make powerful source material supporting your business plan.

At this point in the process, you know other people are successfully selling what you want to sell. You also, are confident there are people who will buy what you want to sell at your price point. So far, you have not spent your savings and your anxiety for starting a new business should be manageable. Taking the next step should get you comfortable about making a decision to go forward with the business.
Step 3: Make a plan
Start with a simple plan. It can be rough. It need not be polished. In the beginning, only you will see it. Get your feet wet. You can find a wide array of resources on the internet to help you. You can add polish and sizzle as it develops.

If you are not comfortable writing then you can use an outline or bullet format. You can start with a simple outline and then build more detail into it as you progress. Go a step at a time. Start first writing about the things you already know:

What you are selling
          Who you are selling it to
          How much they will pay
          How often they will buy
          Why they will buy from you
          What you do better than anyone else

Next write about the business goals and what you will need to make a reality.
          How much you want to sell in the first, second and third years
          How many new customers and repeat customers
          How you will make people aware of your business and how much will it cost
          How will you convince them to buy from you and how much will it cost

Then write about how much it might cost and how much money will you need.
           How much help will you need and how much will it cost
           What supplies, equipment, space and other things will you need and how much will they cost
           How much money and time will it take

Expect to revise your plan until it makes sense to you. When you are finished revising your plan, go back and add the sizzle. Three things can help you add sizzle and credibility to your plan. The first is using statistics from credible sources. Statistics can help to make your plan more believable. The second thing is to use internet links to amplify and clarify the significant points in your business plan. The third thing is to add videos from subject matter experts to corroborate your points.

By this time, you should know if your business model can be successful because you know other people are engaged in the same or very similar businesses. You’ll know why people will buy from you at your price points. With your plan complete, you’ll have a reasonable idea about what it will take to start your business. You have enough information to make an informed decision to go forward or to set the idea aside or go back to the drawing board.

Your savings will be intact, you’ll still have your job and you’ll not have wasted years of your life. Without fear you are ready for the next step. Maybe Franklin Roosevelt was right when he said “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Images courtesy of:
http://socgen.ucla.edu/2013/02/genetics-of-fear/
http://eduscapes.com/marketing/2.htm

Business eBooks by Donald Bittar, published by Trunity


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Getting Under the Hood of an Annual Report levels the playing field between the people who need to understand a public company's annual report and the people who write annual reports. After reading this book, someone analyzing the annual report of a public company should better informed to buy, hold, or stay away from the public company.

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Meet the author, Donald Bittar

Donald BittarFor the past 30 years, Donald has helped companies as an officer, board member and consultant to prepare their annual report to shareholders. Presently he is the CFO and board member of First Choice HealthCare Solutions, a public company. He also teaches as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Business and was the online 2013 Teacher of the Year at the Bisk College of Business of Florida Institute of Technology.

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