The word lean is a very popular word in business today. Lean processes, lean manufacturing, lean business. Whether it started or has just been propelled by The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, it is seemingly here to stay.
The premise of lean thinking is to reduce time, and work, and create more efficiency. However is this the most efficient way when starting a business? Yes you may have come up with an amazing idea, that you need to action now before you miss out, but do you truly know what the market need is? And do you know how you are going to operate?
Lean thinking doesn’t need to mean that you do not need to create a business strategy. Whether you write a formal plan or not, there are still a series of questions that you need to ask.
- What are you specifically planning to sell? If you can’t articulate what it is, how can you offer it or convince people to buy it?
- Who is your target market? Research doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply talking with potential clients or industry contacts is primary research.
- What are your clients’ needs? You can offer whatever you want, but you’re not going to make any money if no one is willing to buy it.
- Do you know your legal requirements? Do you know what business structure to choose, or whether you need a licence from the city you operate in, or do you have a new product that should be protected by Intellectual Property laws? Do your research and ask the right people to make sure your business starts out on the right legal footing.
- How are you going to operate? You can have the best concept ever, but it won’t work if you don’t know how you’re going to produce your product or service at a reasonable cost and get it to your customers.
- How much money do you need? Bankers or investors will require some sort of business plan, whether it’s a ‘traditional’ plan or a streamlined proposal. And they will require financial statements and a good credit rating to back it up.
A plan doesn’t limit you, unless you get too attached to it. A plan is a roadmap, a lay of the land, and you can always decide to take another route. But at least you’ll know where you’ve been and in what general direction you’re heading.
Source: Small Business BC
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