Five rules for your new company’s playbook

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Leslie Collymore

You’re ready to strike out on your own and start a small business.

But before you do, you need to create a detailed playbook. “I think of a business plan as something that answers the questions every one who has some interest in your business will at some point ask: Who? What? When? Where? Why?”. “If you can answer all of these questions about every aspect of your business, you’ve got it made.”

Don’t inflate your idea. “It’s better to underpromise and overdeliver, even to yourself,”. In other words, a grandiose business plan won’t do you much good if you’ll only fall short of projected targets. So set challenging goals, but be sure you have the numbers to back them up.

Don’t underestimate your start-up costs. Launching a small business always costs more than you think it will, and it might be years before you begin to draw a fair salary. It’s important to maintain a cushion, for business and personal expenses.

Don’t overestimate how quickly you can grow the business. You might be an overnight success?but don’t count on it. “Even if you’re confident that you can build revenue quickly,” “create a worst-case scenario and plan accordingly.”

Don’t underestimate the competition. Your business plan must frankly analyze the competitive landscape. “Don’t lull yourself into believing the product or service you’re offering is unique.

Be specific and thorough. Too many business plans are bursting with vague descriptions. Without solid, defensible information, yours will have no value at all.

The Po!nt: Don’t let enthusiasm for your new venture influence a business plan that dooms it to failure.

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