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What To DO When You Don't Know What To Do NEXT?

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Submitted by Teo Graca | RSS Feed | Add Comment | Bookmark Me! print

In the course of building your business, there are times where you may not actually be sure of what next steps to take or even what questions to ask. I help entrepreneurs with business development and small business funding support and coaching and these are the very questions I hear from clients during our first meeting. I'd like to shed some light on these issues and especially to let you know that you're not alone. When you have clarity in all of these areas, you will naturally become more attractive to potential investors and those who may want to support you or do business with you.

1. You have several options of what direction to take your business but just can’t decide?

If you ever find yourself faced with a decision you can’t quite seem to make or take action on, the best thing to do is NOTHING. This is the time to slow down and: a) observe how you are feeling about the choices you think you need to make--- your heart could be slowing you down for a reason and all the signs should be there if you pay attention; b) you should absolutely seek out the advice of qualified people who have had specific experience with your situation. You don’t want to make decisions without qualified information and neither should you ever feel pressured about making just any decision. Time is irrelevant here--- making a decision that doesn’t support you could “cost” you more time in the long run.

2. Having trouble making sense of or communicating all your ideas?

Start the business planning process as soon as possible to help keep you on track. Moving forward in your business with just a bunch of ideas swirling around in your head is not the same as having them committed to paper. Organizing your thoughts in a structured fashion gives you instant clarity, your ideas start coming to life, people now have a better understanding of how to support you, and the resources you’ll need can start showing up. It will also allow you to play out different scenarios. Your plan will be constantly evolving and growing as you move forward so there will never really be a finished document nor will it ever be perfect. However, just starting the process can sometimes help you get unstuck. I recommend using an existing software program that walks you through some of the steps by asking a series of questions. I have my favorites but whatever program you use, make sure you customize it to your circumstances and industry.

3. You may have limited operating capital initially and you feel pressured to invest in resources and services that should help you grow your business. So what resources should you invest your money in?

That all depends on exactly what stage you’re at in the “sequencing” of your business. If you buy or commit to resources before you’re ready for them, it may just take you down a dead end if you’re really not prepared to work with them: a) If you are working on your business plan, you should be GATHERING information about sales, marketing, PR, etc. You should not necessarily be investing in these services at this stage; b) If you are just starting out and about to raise investor money, only invest in those resources that will absolutely bring you capital; c) don’t invest or get committed to product manufacturing before you’ve developed your infrastructure or understand your markets; d) don’t engage in activities that will create a demand for products and services you haven’t developed yet unless you are just about ready to launch.

4. You have a great idea but not sure even what it looks like as a business.

Very often, people have great ideas and start focusing on one way they think it should be launched. This could be in the form of a retail store, an online experience, a book, a game, a service, etc. If you find that you’re focusing on one “expression” that could take much longer or cost more than it seems worth it, start opening yourself up to other ways your idea can get out there. Look for the lowest hanging fruit --- what can be acquired with the least amount of effort. As you reach small successes, begin to move forward with long-term goals by setting them in writing and moving your business efforts toward them.

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