Anyone who has started a business knows that it is not for the lighthearted. Being a small business owner starts with having a dream; requires persistence, hard work and sacrifice to make the dream into reality; and it takes a combination of business acumen and personal drive to make the reality into a success. In a couple of recent articles, Inc.com looks at both of these aspects of entrepreneurship to explain what it is that leads to success.
When it comes to starting a business, there is no doubt that having the right skills and training is vital. At TSC we often meet entrepreneurs with great ideas, but need help putting their idea into action– and it all starts with a solid business plan. As Inc.com discusses, studies show that putting the time into developing a business plan is worth it.
According to a study in 2010 of over 11,000 companies, having a business plan improved business performance. Another study showed that those with a business plan grow 30 percent faster than those without one. Of high-growth companies (those that saw 92% growth in sales in one year), 71% have business plans. Additionally, entrepreneurs who take the time to plan are more likely to start a business. Conversely, they’re also more likely to close a business because they are constantly analyzing their goals and progress, and know when to walk away.
Of course, the quality of the business plan makes all the difference. Here are some tips from Inc.com:
- Startups should have shorter, less detailed plans that can leave room for adaptation as the company grows and learns more about its products and market.
- Established businesses that have experience should have more detailed plans.
- Plans are about setting goals, regularly checking your progress against those goals, and “pivoting” as you learn more. Business plans should be revisited and revised regularly.
- Start the business planning process early, before starting on marketing efforts– even if it is as simple as developing an elevator pitch.
The other aspect of success is the entrepreneur’s personal drive. But, while we may think of business ownership as a “grind,” Inc.com points to Brian Levenson, CEO of Core Mental Training, who says that it actually takes “grit” to be a successful entrepreneur. What’s the difference? Grit has more to do with perseverance over the long-term; the ability to remain committed to your future goals, despite the challenges and set-backs. Some examples of grit include:
- Using a problem to bounce forward (not back): Learn from challenges and become stronger from the experience.
- Celebrating small wins: There are many small steps that lead to success– appreciate and acknowledge them along the way.
- Maintaining a healthy attitude toward the misses: Don’t take it too seriously when things go wrong. Mistakes happen.
Starting a small business is not for everyone. The road can be long and hard, but with a good business plan and some grit, you’d be off to a good start. For business owners, the reward comes when you see your passion turn into a success.