Entrepreneurs often have formidable technical expertise, a key to developing a new product or service, but they often also have a great naïveté in management skills. They run into difficulty when their business reaches the $1-2 million annual sales range, or their employee count exceeds 5-10. It is at this point when entrepreneurs must shift their thinking from tactical and operational, to strategic and managerial.
’m convinced that management is a learnable skill. It can come from experience or from training in a prior company, and it can even be self-taught from the Internet by smart entrepreneurs, just like they learned the skill of establishing a company, negotiating a contract or filing a patent.
Do your homework on the market needs and how these needs are satisfied today. Who are the main players? What are the products and services available? What are the current prices? If you are launching a new product or service, do some market research to evaluate the size of the market and the likelihood of success. In other words, make sure you know all you can about the future customers of your business.
Make sure that you have a business plan that spells out your strategy and how you are going to execute it. Your business plan should include an executive summary, market assessment, description of product/service details, sales and marketing details, competitive analysis, operations/manufacturing details, corporate organization, and human resources, finances, capital and projections, a summary of risks, investments, and relevant sources of information and research. Your business plan should be complete and clear. It does not necessarily have to belong, but it must be comprehensive and address all the important angles of your business.
Surround yourself with the right people by selecting team members. The team will include partners, employees, independents, advisors, etc. Results are achieved through “people”. How good the team and how the team is led and managed are key to the success of your new business.
Make sure you have adequate financing for the business. Whether the source of capital is your money or borrowed (usually it is a combination), you need to adequately capitalize on the new venture.
Do not overlook the basics such as the legal form of your business (proprietorship, partnership, or corporation), shareholder agreement, patents and copyrights, business registrations, protection of your business name, local regulations, etc. as appropriate. I also include selecting a lawyer, an accountant, and a business consultant to counsel you as you start your business.