Why A Business Plan Is Not What's Fundamental To Starting Your Business
by Arturo F Munoz
(San Francisco Bay Area, California)
There are 2 kinds of inexperienced entrepreneurs, very typical among the young, who have great potential for becoming great at doing valuable work for customers yet fail to overcome an essential barrier to their success.
One group of entrepreneurs is very fiery and aims to start a business of some kind but seldom knows with any precision what to start. The other group knows exactly what it wants to start. It just doesn't know how to do it.
You'd think that these two groups could really complement each other. One could inspire the other to adopt some wonderful idea to exploit some untapped opportunity. The other could keep the first motivated to pursue after that opportunity. The problem is that both lack a fundamental element to their success and, despite the strengths in each, both groups are hamstrung until they can deal with this fundamental failure.
What are both these entrepreneurs missing?
You'd think perhaps they're not focusing on the obvious, such as how to plan out a start, how to work through the plan. Yes, this could be obvious. Understanding what is feasible to do and putting that down in a viable plan is important. But I'd argue that this won't resolve the fundamental crisis that both these groups confront. Planning is not the most crucial aspect of starting a business.
What these entrepreneurs are missing as the most crucial aspect of starting a business is knowing their customer. It bears repeating because planning a business is not the same as knowing your customer. Yet most websites on starting your own business focus on planning. Not this one. Not here. Not me.
If starting your own business starts with knowing your customer, then it starts with concentrating not on an idea about your customer or on the thrill of knowing what you'd like to do for your customer but on fellowship. It is for the sake of fellowship that you ought to start a business, if you want it to succeed.
If you ask yourself who is your audience and whether they have money to spend on what they want to buy right now, and you think long and hard about how you're going to bring your message to this audience to press their hottest hot button with it, then you're asking all the right questions on executing a plan. But you're still empty on one account. You're not concentrating on relating.
To get the most crucial information about this audience, you need to have some degree of communion with it. They need to know you and your intent, because the one piece of information on which your entire plan's success rests is trust. You don't gain trust merely by trading ideas. You gain trust by giving of yourself to others sacrificially. What does this mean?
Sacrificially means that you choose to give up something good, such as your immediate financial benefit, for something better, like the immediate financial benefit of your customers. With that sacrifice comes trust and with trust comes the reward of fellowship, which amounts to a clear understanding of the most significant desire in your customer's heart -- the hottest hot button -- that will lead to unstoppable demand for your services and business success.
This will keep your business not merely afloat. It will give it purpose, value, significance and growth. Yes, you need to plan. But first and foremost, you need to care, because your neighbor is your business.
What do you believe is most fundamental to starting your business?