5.0 Success Strategy

ARE YOU SEARCHING FOR A BUSINESS IDEA? >> Each section contains key Action Items located within the downloadable Action Guide >> Click to Download Action Guide.

5.1       Strategically Plan.

John F Kennedy once said, “There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

Take a moment to list what you see as your steps and plan to be in business, then go back and set completion dates for those tasks.

Robin Lavitch, president of Plan-It Life Coaching, says, “A goal without a plan is just a wish!”

Are you serious about this or are you still playing games with yourself?

Let’s get serious!  And, let’s be SMART about it.

You may have heard the goal setting acronym, SMART, even if you have it’s worth repeating.

There are several variations, here’s one.

S – “Specific” goals are easy to understand, ignite your passion and meaningful to you.

M – “Measurable” goals define the exact outcome you want to achieve.

A – “Active” goals use “do it” verbs that keep you moving forward.

R – “Reachable” goals are realistic based on your own skills and experiences.

T – “Timed” goals have specific deadlines by when you’ll be able to declare success.

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

You need to take action.

Based on your learning so far, what are you leaning towards?

Are you thinking of starting your own company?

Are you thinking of buying a company?

Are you thinking of exploring your franchise options?

5.2       What does a ‘matrix’ have to do with this?

What happens if I’m looking at more than one franchise or business and they both appear to be good opportunities?  Are you having a hard time making up your mind?

Here’s a simple solution that I suggest for my clients.

I know you’ve been keeping a list of questions… right?

Have you also started a list of business criteria that is important for you?  Now you’re going to use this list to make a matrix.

In a Microsoft Excel or similar spreadsheet, use the first column to label each row with the criteria that’s important for you when looking at a business. And in column 2 and beyond, title each with the franchise/business name.

Then rank each of the businesses with a score from 1 to 5, where 1 indicates a not-so-good rating and 5 indicates it matches exactly to what you’re looking for in that business criteria.

Add the column scores for each franchise/business and see which one has the most points, this will be the business that most fits you.  Under your scores you can also list concerns or advantages that you’ve discovered about these franchise/business opportunities that you would like to track.

Some examples of business criteria (rows in the spreadsheet) might be:

The annual income you expect to earn in 1yr = $45k, 3yrs = $70k, and 5yrs = $100k

Mobile, Home based, brick and mortar

Cold calling

Employees

Recession proof

Potential risk

Franchisor training and support

Likeable environment

Comfortable investment

Short term growth potential

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

Begin creating a list of your interests right now.

My clients always find creating a matrix very valuable because it helps them define their interests and logically identify which business model receives the highest rating.

5.3       Ask Questions!

I coached a client recently, who owned a franchise that was ready to throw in the towel and close the business.  “If I only knew beforehand what it would be like running this business,” he said, “I wouldn’t have gotten into it!”

When asked where he thought things went wrong, he indicated that it was in the beginning before he bought the business, he didn’t ask the right questions.  The business has since turned around and is working well, but he could have saved time and money by asking questions that were related to business ownership, instead of thinking he knew all the answers.

A Chinese proverb says, “He who asks is a fool for 5 minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”

If you haven’t begun already, start making a list of questions that you’d like answers for as you continue to discover a business that’s right for you.

Some examples of questions to consider are:

Is it important to know how much time a business owner typically works in a week?

What do you look for in a good employee, or where to find one?

Would you go into this business again?

If you could start over knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

How long did it take to reach your breakeven point?

Does corporate provide the support you need?

In your opinion, what is the single most important consideration for retaining customers and clients?

What type of training did you receive?

What makes a franchisee successful?

What type of lifestyle do you have as a franchise owner?

Will your franchise make a difference for your community?

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

List your questions now.

5.4       Have “meaningful discussions.”

Honesty is the most important factor having a direct bearing on one’s success as an individual, a corporation or a product.

By “meaningful discussions” I’m referring to taking the time to be honest with yourself, and also be willing to discuss tough topics as you journey toward self-sufficiency.  You do not want to be surrounded by “Yes Men,” who always agree with you.  And of course the same is true if you’re surrounded by the “crabs in the basket” or “No Men – the dream killers.”  You need to be open to being stretched.

You need to have interaction with someone who can look at the physical fruit displayed on your branches, including looking below the surface by digging down to examine your root system to make sure you’re securely grounded when the high winds and storms blow.

Who can objectively act in this manner and has your best interest in mind?

Have you located a business owner mentor?

Can you secure the accountability and objective knowledge of a coach?

Is there someone in your network who knows you, trusts you and likes you?

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

Answer these questions:

Who can objectively act in this manner and has your best interest in mind?

Have you located a business owner mentor?

Can you secure the accountability and objective knowledge of a coach?

Is there someone in your network who knows you, trusts you and likes you?

5.5       Only the shadow knows.

I remember my father telling me about an old radio show called, “The Shadow”.  One famous line from the show was, “What evil lurks in the hearts of men – The Shadow knows.”  The Shadow was a man who was invisible and could watch people in action.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could watch a business in action before you bought it?  Not just experience the business from the consumer’s point of view, but also from the business owner’s perspective.  A day in the life of the business owner, wow, would that give you power to see the future.  Or at least know more about what you’re adventuring into, right?

Well, ask the question and find out.  Some franchises actually make this part of their process of educating the prospective franchisee before awarding a franchise.  Others might send you through their training, before asking you to be a franchisee.

Franchisors refer to these events as “Discovery Days”.

You’ll be invited to visit the franchise offices and meet the officers and executives so they can interview you as a prospective franchisee.  You should plan to pay for the traveling expenses for this visit.  It’s the best way to invest a little early on.  Ask if you can visit a functioning franchisee and spend an hour or a day with them to see what it’s like to be a franchise owner.

“Shadowing” opportunities are an outstanding investment in time, travel and expenses.

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

Look for “shadowing” opportunities in the type of business you are interested in starting.

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