Taking the plunge

By Justine Clay

What is it that drives people to take the plunge into the decidedly turbulent waters of starting a business?

While there are folks who thrive on the adrenalin fueled ups & downs of the New York Stock Exchange or who will jump at the chance to bungee off a bridge, the majority of us don’t openly court uncertainty, drastic change or failure – all of which come with the territory of entrepreneurship.

There are probably 3 reasons you would start your own business:

1) You’re so unhappy in your current job that you believe your soul depends upon it.
2) You’ve lost your job and have nothing to lose.
3) You believe so strongly in your idea that you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Whatever your reasons, once you’ve made your decision you’ve go to go for glory – and that means coming up with a Game Plan.  Writing your ideas down allows you to work the kinks out on paper, rather than in your business and will save you a huge amount of  time and money.  Just like your business, this is a work in progress, so adapt it as you go.



Here are the broad strokes of what your Game Plan should address:

What’s your Vision and Mission?
Vision: For what purpose does your company exist?  What does it stand for?
Mission: What do you want your business to achieve?  To be known for?

What makes you special?
What is your unique selling point? How would a client benefit from working with you and not the other guy?  Speaking of other guys – who are your competitors and how are you different?

Who is your target client?
One great client is worth 50 bad ones.  Identify the clients that will benefit from your services and market directly to them. 

How do you plan on connecting with your potential clients?
Do your homework on where your clients hang out and how they get their information.  once you know, you can create a marketing and communication plan that’s tailored to your audience.  Don’t be put off if you’re not a twitter expert.   You can a variety of tools in any combination, from social media to the good old fashioned telephone.  

How should you package yourself?
Does your brand image that reflects who you are and one that your target client will respond to? If you’re in the design business, make sure your identity reflects that (no cheap business cards).  Don’t forget that your brand identity includes YOU – look and act the part.