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The Start Up Journey: Refining Focus

After you've let go of all the wrong things on which to focus, you know the time when you're telling everyone that you're thinking of starting your own business or when you're still just making plans but taking no action? Yes, that. Get that out of your system, and then get to work.

Unfortunately getting to work actually means working on the boring items. Making sure they are understood, established and ready to go. It's a To Do list of protecting yourself and your work, offering your clients the right service and knowing how and when you're going to be paid.

Sure, you can make these up on the spot if you suddenly get a client in. You can just become a yes person to get the business in but it’s difficult to get out of that cycle. You suddenly have no time to work on your business and your offering becomes more diluted over time and you find yourself continually playing catch up.

The Checklist (important not exhaustive)

Business plan - even if there is no intention of seeking investment or selling the business, it is good practise for focusing your mind.

Pricing menu - the hardest part of any business. Even global conglomerates get this wrong from time to time. What is your value? What is your value to the client? What is the value of your offering to the client?

Programme plan - What is that you're offering? How can you break that down for clients to easily understand? What is out of scope?

Target companies - KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE!! (as a professional marketer, I cannot stress this enough)

Elevator pitch - can you coherently and concisely explain your offering to anyone in a minute? It’s harder to do than you think (try voicing it to people - get them to ask you questions - you’ll know what you need to tighten up)

Experience CV - these are your credentials and no longer a list of companies you’ve worked for. It is now essentially a brochure or postcard of your offering and services. How have you helped others? Why should someone talk to you and can you help them? Can they recognise their own problems/needs in it?

Support - Do you need an accountant? Legal representatives? Industry membership? Insurance?

Finance plan - What is the minimum you need to bring in each month to cover your monthly outgoing costs? What about the lean months? (and there will be some!) How are you covering this? What are your initial and ongoing business expenses? What does a good, bad, excellent month look like? Do you need a loan?

Legals - Terms of Business, Letter of Engagement, Invoices, Privacy Policy, Proposal for Works. What do you need to start your business? Create those documents.

Brand - you need to know who and what you are because if you don't, no one else will either.

Let’s get to work.

Know any small business advisors or companies with specific services for start ups? Get your recommendations in the comments.

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