Failing to plan means planning to fail.
I do not believe in is failure. I believe there is either success or quitting. And while it is not always a bad thing to quit, the end result is the same. If you are going to succeed, then the first thing you absolutely require is a plan. Even before you have picked the thing or business you are going to participate in – START WITH A PLAN.
This initial plan will lay a great foundation for your future and will also be a living thing which will grow and change as you grow and change and adapt your business.
Your initial plan is going to be about time and money. How much time you are going to spend in all the activities in your life and how much money will be divided between your existing life and your new business. Everything will require a budget. Living expenses, life expenses and business expenses. Your non-business state will determine how much available capital you have for business. Establish a budget and include rent, all your current payments, groceries, lunches and dinners, everything in your life. Make sure you don't forget to include “playing” – the things we all do that we don't usually think about – golf, fishing, bowling, and any other play activity you or your family participates in that requires money.
Next step will be to see how much money is available for a business. If you are thinking of finding a business that doesn't require money, think again. Plan on spending money. Ideally you will want to have a few hundred dollars for each month's marketing and advertising plus any required expenses. Web sites, domain names, monthly fees, product purchases all are normal expected costs of doing business. Businesses will reward you based on your level of economic commitment and having no financial investment means no reward to you for your efforts. PERIOD. Want to prove me wrong? Fine, find a business that doesn't require any money at all and make enough to go out to lunch – without spending endless hours and days doing some mindless Internet activity. Remember, your reward is a function of investment AND time spent in action. If you have to spend ten hours to make one dollar then your reward is ten cents per hour – you can flip hamburgers and make more than that.
Now that you have your budget in your plan, you now get to set some goals for yourself. Goals are a measure of how you are doing and another requirement for any successful entrepreneur. I recommend using the SMART or SMARTER system of goal setting. Goals will also assist you in the next step. What kind of business you want to have is a function of how much you want to make and how much you CAN make. To give you a bit of clarity on what I mean, one of my businesses has the potential to make me only a few hundred dollars each month – at least for the first few months. So, I spend a bit of time on a daily basis and watch it grow. I manage my efforts to avoid the trap of “too much time required for too little reward” and also don't spend too much on advertising (this is one of those businesses that more advertising won't make that much difference in the growth). Another of my businesses makes me $1000 each time one of my associates purchase a product that makes a decent “return on time and effort” and deserves advertising and marketing money as well as a decent amount of my time. The reward justifies the time, effort and money required.
How much you want to make will also show up as what you are going to do with the money. This means “what are you going to buy when you have that income” and is not about paying off your debt and catching up. It means that in order to go and buy a “new car” you will have to be caught up and out of debt or at the very least have your debt level under control.
Now we can see what kind of businesses are “out there” that will fit our goals for income. I call this putting the horse in front of the cart and not the other way around. Choices are endless and the potential income varies from just a bit to quite a lot.
With your plan in place and goals in place, you now have the potential to succeed. Provided you take the required action and do the things that the successful people in your chosen business have done. Do what they do and have done and do not quit.
Remember that if you fail to plan, then you plan to quit – and quitting is not success.