While I was doing my taxes, I realized that Alliteration Ink has managed to get past the first big small business hurdle – failing in the first year. It’s cleared that without difficulty, and turned a profit (after paying authors) for a few years running.
I think one of the reasons it’s succeeded is because I have a pretty clear mission statement about what I do, why I do it, and what I’m doing that’s different.
And I was lucky enough to intuitively figure out these three (and a half) questions that I think you need to evaluate before you embark on any business adventure:
- What will I do that is different (and/or better) than what others are doing?
- Do people want what I’m going to do?
- How do I get people to realize/know/be aware of what I’m going to do? And if necessary, how do I keep them coming back?
(For what it’s worth, I focused more on 1 and 2, and that’s caused me problems since.)
Answering those questions will get you on your way to making a business plan. I recommend PlanCruncher for one simple reason: It forces you to get it all together right quickly and in a short space. One page.
Whatever business endeavor (publishing? self publishing? web design? etc…) you’re into, try those two exercises and see if you come up with something. And if you’re having problems coming up with something (especially if you’re having problems with the first one) then maybe you want to reconsider what you’re doing….