Are you ready to start your business this year? Sometimes it can help to hear from small business founders who were able to breathe life into their business idea and make it go.
These four founders shared their success stories with our LivePlan team over the past year. Here’s a little insight into what helped them take their businesses from an idea on a napkin to a reality.
Finding the right business idea
“It’s so easy to promote yoga because it’s so pure—I’m not promoting myself or even the business. All we are promoting is mindfulness. So there’s never any qualms or anything about what we’re doing. It just feels like it’s more like service rather than entrepreneurship.” ― Allison Reitz, founder of Good Elephant
For some entrepreneurs and small business founders, business ideas seem to just appear—it’s about taking a skill or interest to the next level. For Allison, Good Elephant’s potential to be a profitable, sustainable business started with exploring different business models, and testing out new ideas as the business grows.
Using data and metrics to make nimble business decisions
“The most important metric I look at is how much each individual service is bringing in, and how much it makes us on a monthly basis,” she says. “So, if one certain training program isn’t doing very well or isn’t working for people or making enough money, we can adjust it accordingly.” ― Joanna Stanford, founder of Trots Dogs
The easier it is to see how your business financials are doing, the more often you’re likely to review them, and the quicker you can respond to problems and opportunities. As Joanna works to grow and scale her dog walking, boarding, and training business, she’s been able to mitigate some of the risks every business faces, simply by staying on top of the numbers.
Regular business plan reviews increase your transparency
“The plan gets people talking,” he says. “You say, ‘I’ll commit to do this, this, and this.’ Or, ‘Have we thought about that? Let’s have a discussion. Put a milestone. Put someone responsible to it.’ It’s wonderful.” ― Bruce Carr founder of Web Ninja
This year, how will you make sure you’re on track to meet your business goals? Having a regular business plan review—monthly or quarterly—creates time and space for you to review your numbers and adjust your strategy regularly. It’s made a big difference for Bruce and his team at Web Ninja.
Even if you’re a team of one, reviewing your plan with a business mentor, or someone you trust, shines a light on how your actual results compare to what you forecast. You can make adjustments quickly, set new milestones and goals, and avoid roadblocks like a cash flow crisis.
A healthy business is never done planning
“There’s a great Eisenhower quote: ‘Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable,’” says Jared Fackrell. “I think that’s very true. Everything changes so much. We’re not going to really know till we have doors open which direction we’re going to take it in.” ― Jared Fackrell, founder of Capitol Cider
When our LivePlan team talked to Jared, he was just about to open the doors of his brand new Capitol Cider location. He wrote a business plan, in part to help him explain his vision to supporters, but also to help him validate his idea—to figure out if the vision he had, an unpretentious, locally sourced cider house, could be a profitable, successful business.
But that initial business planning phase is just the start. A healthy, growing business is always coming back to and refining their strategic roadmap—we call it Lean Planning.