The Best Endorsement You Will Ever Get

cartoon-oct25-2012 “The truest wisdom is a resolute determination.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

Is the success of your product up to your accountant? Your banker? Your neighbor, mother, husband or wife? Best friend or cat? No. It’s up to you. Now, you need the accountant, and the banker, probably the spouse and most likely your mother’s support. The bottom line isn’t whether someone else believes that your idea is doable. The question is: do you believe it? It is ultimately up to you to decide you truly believe and then get behind it. And once you do, what are you willing to devote, sacrifice and gamble to try it?

Beyond a deep belief in the strength of your product or service, you need to have a plan to execute its success, and there are certain steps to rolling it out:

  1. Start with a business plan and use the right format. Prospective investors and bankers are sticklers for the right business plan format (you can get a solid outline format from SBA.gov). You can write the most compelling content of all time, but if it is not in the proper format, you’ll likely be laughed right out of the office. Once you have the format locked, make the power of your passion come through in droves—clearly identify who you are and why you are specially equipped to make this venture succeed.
  2. Never underestimate the power of profit. You may love your idea, but to an outsider all that matters in most cases is if it pencils—banks and investors want to get paid. Plus, you most likely need to make some money to put food on the table and pay bills. You need to include realistic budgets in your business plan as well as detailed budgets that will guide your business as it launches and grows.
  3. Hire the experts. It’s tempting to try to bootstrap your venture and be all things to all people, and you may need to do this at first. But, as your company grows, hiring the right experts to supplement your knowledge will give you a new perspective that you may not currently possess.
  4. Begin with an end in mind … even if you don’t want to think about it. You may love what you do, or you may be young and think you’ll work forever. But, always develop an idea for a possible exit strategy. Fewer than one in three privately-held companies outlive their founder. Yet most business owners have ideologies as they envision their company’s future that involve visions of buyouts, IPOs, franchises, kids taking over, etc. Whatever your goal, putting some thought into this at the start will help you guide your company as it grows in the direction you want.

Starting your company will no doubt be a new adventure and your resolve will be tested on many occasions. By executing the mantra of “having passion and a plan,” success will be that much closer. Only then will you definitely have your accountant’s, banker’s, neighbor’s, mother’s, husband or wife’s, best friend’s and cat’s thumbs up.