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Reality Check – Step 1: Planning Your Ideal Business

Step One:  Reality Check!

Reality Check - on everything
Image by Philip Wilson@Flicker

Without a regular reality check – defining where you are – success will be elusive. Where is the business today? What do you need to accomplish over the next few weeks in order to stay on track and generate income?

We have discussed a few ways of generating quick cash, which can be a good strategy regardless of where you are in your planning. This is a particularly good strategy if you already have a viable skill that you can leverage.  Even if you do not want to build your whole online economy around it – it could be a wise choice to use it to start making money. (We will discuss that point more in Section 3:  “Business Models and Systems for Consistent Growth & Income”.)

But, if it is just a temporary “job” to generate immediate cash, be sure you have a clear plan on how to change your business model down the road.

Change Your Thinking Patterns & Personal Scripts

To be a successful entrepreneur, you must learn . . .

  • To monitor your thinking. Practice thinking in terms of what you can do, not what you can’t do. For example, rather than saying “I don’t have twenty dollars a month for an Autoresponder service.”  Say instead, “How do I get an Autoresponder right now? There must be an affordable system somewhere.”
  • To avoid spending time inside the confines of rigid, narrow boxes – habitually step right outside and look at the boxes from all angles – inside and out.

If you catching yourself saying “I don’t…” and “I can’t…” a lot, you head it not in the right place. Switch those negatives to “How…” questions, and you will immediately notice a difference in your mood and thought process.

It is often a matter of simply getting into the habit of changing your “personal script” – the value-based statements you may be repeating in your mind that come from parents and grandparents and have out-lived their usefulness. In fact, the script could be part of what is holding you back if you feel stuck.

If your mother said repeatedly, “We can’t afford that,” you may be caught in a “can’t afford” mentality. When this is the case, you will probably respond to challenges like finding the $20/month.

Ask HOW Questions

Changing the question to: “How can I create twenty dollars a month for an Autoresponder?” will allow you to look for creative solutions. You will start seeing problems as stimulating challenges, rather than….problems.

When you ask the HOW question, you will move forward by . . .

  • Researching free Autoresponders, to see if they can fill your needs.
  • Looking for ways to save $20/month by giving up little “extras” like the cream for your coffee to put in your Autoresponder fund. (When you think about how much coffee you drink, you realize that you could easily free up twenty dollars a month!)
  • Researching various reputable Autoresponder companies – and discovering that most of them have one-month free trials.  This allows you to set a goal of making at least $20 the first month to cover your next month’s fee completely.

That’s entrepreneurial thinking and demonstrates how entrepreneurs tackle problems (challenges).[1]

Re-examine Everything

Start right now with your business model. For example…you have decided to become a virtual assistant.

  • There are limited number of hours in the day and only one of you. The questions you must ask are:  Are you setting yourself up for just another job?  Is yet another job with limited, one-track responsibilities what you want… or would you like to be a business owner, rather than simply self-employed?
  • Visualize yourself with a cadre of VAs, further down the road.  Does this feel right or is it too intimidating? Do you think you could grow into this thought if you took it one step at a time and acquired the skills you need? Or are you happy just serving clients yourself and making a smaller sum per week?
  • How does your business model fit in with your dreams? Your goals? Will you expand your business by outsourcing tasks you don’t do as well? Outsource tasks you don’t do at all, just so you can offer them?  Will you hire more VAs or just outsource tasks to make your own specialized skill time stretch further?
  • . . . etc…

Daydreaming about your business model and how it will fulfill your goals serves a vitally important purpose. It is a reality check that will help you see whether or not your business model is going to get you where you want to go. When you can see clearly what fulfillment of your goals looks like, can feel the excitement and abundance that it brings, and know that it can happen with an expectation that it will happen…… it will.

If you only need to make $3,600 a month to pay off the last of your mortgage and save up for an annual vacation, running a single-person business might be an option you prefer.

But if you want that thousand-acre horse farm with a custom arena and a horse spa in five years – better plan BIG now!

Start Small – Plan Big

Reality check on the big pciture you are envisioning – even if you need to “start small” – don’t think small. Always think big about the changes you need and want to make – even while you are struggling to become known and sought after. There are formulae you can apply to make sure you’re getting a good return on your investment, if you plan to create products.

If you’re business is service-based, make sure you set your regular rates realistically and competitively – don’t set them so low that you were never be able to increase them without outrage from your customers. You must have a plan to raise them in a reasonable way to bring them up, once you’ve “hooked” a decent client base.

For example, it you run $10 graphic header specials just to reap quick cash,  make sure it fits into your overall business plan before you set it up. You must plan for expansion by adding conditions or options to your “quick cash” strategy that won’t leave you “stuck” with it as a business model. Below is a rough example of planning to use a short-term strategy towards a long-term goal.

Chart - Example ST Strategy to reach LT goal

If you fail to have an overall picture of your dream business in place, you may unintentionally set up conditions that will limit you when you try to branch out or raise your game in the future.

For example, if you set up a “$10 Graphic Header Special”, people may always expect graphic headers from at $10 – even when you’ve expanded to outsource part of your graphics creation. So make sure you’ve thought of how your quick cash strategy will affect your overall:

  • Reputation
  • Business model
  • Image

Introductory offers are a great way to break the ice and jump in the pool with your competitors and potential customers alike – but only if they are part of your overall plan. Be sure to do a reality check before making decisions.

There are plenty of tactics you can initially use to attract clients even if you’re brand new to the online marketplace.  We will take a look at these in Section 4 of the Series: “Marketing Strategies to Attract Your Targeted Clients and Customers”.

Read the entire series beginning with Section I: Building an Online Business.

Copyright © 2014 Blurtigo Holdings, LLC All Rights Reserved.

[1] And, of course, the Type AAA entrepreneurs ponder how to create their own Autoresponder companies and take over the market. horny college coeds ride.

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