Opening a business is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. It is an opportunity to chart your own course and pursue the possibilities you desire. The challenges entrepreneurs will face vary depending on the industry, but there are some universal challenges that all entrepreneurs must rise above on their road to success.

1. Shifting Career Gears

It is practically impossible to maintain one career while starting another, and very few entrepreneurs are able to perform this dance for an extended period of time. At some point, every entrepreneur needs to cut ties with the old so that they can focus on the path forward.

2. Learning How to Manage

A good manager realizes they don’t know everything and that they need a team of professionals watching over everything from accounting to product development. Learning to manage employees and contractors is one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face when they start their enterprise. Mastering the art of management is essential because it frees up time and resources so that entrepreneurs can focus on the path forward instead of getting mired in the minutiae.

3. Making Decisions

Being the boss means you have to make decisions day in and day out. Entrepreneurship is one long list of decisions. Some will be good, some will be bad. The road to entrepreneurial success is paved with one decision after the other. This can be stressful and overwhelming, which is why it is crucial for entrepreneurs to learn how to sort, sift, and process information so that they can make the decisions their company needs to be successful.

4. Financing & The Unforeseen

Securing financing isn’t as simple as raiding the bank account or having a successful kickstarter.  It requires careful planning and detailed consideration of the expenses that come with opening a business. Moreover, it requires consideration of the unexpected, including delays in delivering merchandise, changes in material costs, licensing fees, insurance premiums, and the list goes on and on. Many new entrepreneurs fail to take these into account within their business plans and in the process end up spending far more than they expected once they get started.

5. Staying Engaged

It is easy to stay engaged and motivated when things are good. When things are going well, it is a pleasure to get up and go to work. As a new entrepreneur, there are no sick days and there are no vacation days. There is no calling into work when you just don’t feel like going in. Staying motivated takes dedication and an inherent sense of responsibility to yourself, your employees, and the customers you want to serve.

6. Learning Logistics

From employee schedules to inventory delivery, logistics are the cornerstone of every enterprise. Learning to master the logistics of every aspect of your business is crucial, and it’s one of the hardest skills to master. It is a skill that the most successful entrepreneurs spend years learning, and decades mastering.

 

The WT Enterprise Center is made up of entrepreneurs just like you and we understand the time-consuming, stressful process of being an entrepreneur. We invite you to contact us to learn more about the services and resources we offer that help entrepreneurs master these skills and many others. We will be happy to help you build a great company as you step into the world of entrepreneurship.

We also encourage you to look into applying for our annual Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge and compete for investment to grow your business!

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Developing a business plan is imperative and should address all aspects of your business from capital and marketing to taxes and operations.

While there are many reasons a business needs a business plan, the following are the five most crucial reasons to consider.

 1. It Creates A Framework For Achieving Goals And Objectives

Every entrepreneur wants to achieve success, and those who reach the pinnacle of success do so using their business plan as a guide. A business plan, like a road map, lays out the steps you need to follow as you aim for the goals and objectives you want to accomplish. Having these smaller steps to focus on makes it easier to know whether you are on track or slipping off course.

2. A Business Plan Sharpens Your Focus

It is easy to get distracted doing the day-to-day tasks your business requires. If you are not careful, these daily detours can become permanent pit stops on the road to success. A solid business plan can provide guidance and direction that you can stick to as obstacles emerge.

3. Planning is Essential for Financing

Any business that wants to receive financing from a bank or an investor is going to need to put in writing how they plan to achieve their goals and repay the loan. Lenders will carefully consider the information that is outlined and will likely make recommendations on elements that need to be altered, added, or reconsidered.

4. It Creates Stability

No plan ever survives first contact with a customer. Customer needs and interests will change, technology will evolve, and your competitors are going to throw curveballs and fastballs at you. These things are inevitable. Businesses that survive within the market are businesses that can keep their core operations steady as they shift direction to keep up with the evolving marketplace. A business plan allows you to factor in the unforeseen and prepare for it before it lands on your desk.

5. Can be Used as a Communication Tool

A business plan can be used as communication tool in many different ways.  The business plan is used to communicate to potential investors, team members, and to share goals with the public. A great utilization of a business plan with teams is to help everybody be on the same page about the companies goals and objectives.

 

The WT Enterprise Center works with local entrepreneurs to strategize business plans that will take you down the path you want to follow. For over 15 years, we have helped dozens of businesses succeed in Amarillo and beyond.

We are ready to help you polish your plan and prepare for the road ahead.

Contact us to discuss your ideas and how we can help you build a great company!

Guest blog by David Terry, Entrepreneur-In-Residence.

David Terry is an entrepreneur-in-residence at the WT Enterprise Center. In 2001, he co-founded the Enterprise Center with his mentor, Mr. Don Taylor. David is an entrepreneur and sought-after speaker and trainer.

 

Tips for Setting and Achieving Long-Range Goals

Entrepreneurs make the decision to design a life, not to just make a living; we dream of our future independence while living in this present moment. Unfortunately, however, the present can be filled with many obstacles that can get us off course. So, we need long-range goals to help us past those short-term obstacles, and, we need practical help in sticking to our plan.

Our goals are influenced by our dreams, values and roles. As a business coach, one of my favorite questions to ask is, “What would you try if you were guaranteed to succeed?” Or “Where do you want to go? What do you love to do? What gives you the most joy in life? What are you truly passionate about?”

To really begin this process, with no other distractions, just sit quietly and listen to your heart. We can dream of better financial, emotional, spiritual or physical lives. We have the ability to not only dream, but to pursue those dreams. So, think about the things that really make you want to get out of bed in the morning… the things that really thrill you. Then, write down your dreams.

Next, consider the things that you value. What matters most in your life? Reflect on what is most important to you. Determine what you believe in and how you see the world.   Imagine that you have an afternoon to spend as you like. Do you go to the park with your family? To lunch with friends? Finish up some work? Or maybe go wherever the day takes you? Decisions about how you spend your time can often indicate your values.

Next, consider your roles. Who are four people that are most important to you? List your role in your relationship with each person, for instance, wife, manager, friend, son, etc. What activity can you plan to do with this person that will have a positive impact on your relationship?

Once you’ve defined what matters most, from pursuing your dreams, considering your values and defining your roles, then it’s time to set your long-range goals.  Goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. A SMART goal has a timeline and often some intermediate steps required to complete the goal. Prioritize each step in the order in which it should be accomplished and determine a deadline for each step.

The true power in realizing your dreams and accomplishing your goals is in proactively planning how you spend your time each day. Commit to consistently following these three steps to stay on tract to achieve your goals.

Step 1:  Choose Big Rocks.

Your Big Rocks are your most important priorities. Ask yourself: What is the most important thing that I can do this week that would have the most important impact on my goals?

Imagine that you are given a pile of rocks – some quite large, and some quite small – and you are asked to fit as many of the rocks as possible into the bucket. The best way to accommodate all the rocks is to place the big rocks in the bucket first, and then allow the little rocks to fall into place around them. Compare this to your week. Schedule the most important things first, then schedule the less important tasks around them. The result? Higher productivity and focus on your highest priorities.

Step 2.  Schedule the Week.

Schedule time for the Big Rocks first, then fill in the rest. The power of weekly planning is to schedule the important Big Rocks first, before the small rocks fill up your week. Your Big Rocks can be translated into appointments and tasks, or become an area of focus for the week.

Make a list of tasks to be completed during the week. After you have a realistic list of daily tasks, prioritize your list based on the highest value, ABC 123. The As, Bs and Cs represent the value of each task, and the 1s, 2s and 3s represent the order or sequence in which you will accomplish those tasks. Then, add them to your schedule for completion… don’t just leave them on the to-do list.

Step 3.  Plan Daily.

From your weekly plan, set aside 5-10 minutes each morning to plan your day. Check your appointments/commitments for the day. Review your list of tasks to be completed, then determine the time available for tasks to be completed within the time available.

 

Incorporating these tips into your daily life will help you achieve your long-range goals!

If you are considering launching your own business or you are already on the journey to building your successful enterprise, contact us to see how we can help you build a great company!