Many people start a businesses on the side with the hope of one day escaping their corporate 9-5 job with entrepreneurial success. Whether you launch a store on Etsy, do contract work on the weekends or start a network marketing business, there are takeaways from the corporate world that will help turn your fledgling endeavor into a passion that pays the bills.
1. Write a business plan
Companies are required to submit a business plan when seeking investors or a bank loan. But even if your business doesn’t need outside funding, it still needs a business plan. Clearly articulating your business description, market strategies, competitive analysis and plan for finances, operations, development and management will set your business up for growth and put you in the mindset of a successful business owner.
2. Have a mission statement
Every large corporation spends time on a mission statement. A mission statement is your company’s reason for existing. That sense of purpose is the gas in your tank and the navigation to your final destination. A mission statement should define your company’s goals in terms of what it will do for you, your employees/associates and your customers.
3. Create a monthly statement of work
Many companies are required to provide their customers a statement of work (SOW) each month or for a contract term. An SOW is the agreement that defines services or products that will be provided in exchange for compensation. However, a lack of accountability to specific deliverables leads many entrepreneurs approach their business with vague and undefined goals. Creating a written document that holds you accountable to accomplish specific activities and outcomes within a specific timeframe will ignite your productivity.
4. Evaluate your progress
Another staple in corporate America is evaluation and progress reporting. Big companies do monthly and annual analyses to chart results against goals. These exercises are helpful for charting performance, identifying roadblocks and adjusting future goals. They create a sense of accountability. Going back over your SOW at the end of each month and looking at what you did and did not accomplish will motivate you that much more to get the work done and check those boxes. It will also force you to analyze why you fell short on the items that you did not complete and make improvements towards future goals.
5. Get a boss (sort of)
Nobody likes reporting to a manager. But having a good boss means having someone more experienced and successful than you providing sound direction and accountability. In your own business, you have the opportunity to seek out and engage the mentor of your choice. Approach someone you respect who has been successful in the areas you want to develop. Ask that person if they would be willing to be your sounding board on decisions and accountability checkpoint on goals.