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Is your business plan a train wreck in the making?

There is a very young king in my Sunday School class who stops the lesson and yells “train” every single time, he sees the People Mover pass by our downtown Detroit classroom windows. I don’t have the heart to kill his joy that grows each time he sees the train, so the entire class has grown to just stop and yell “train” right a long with him. I feel bad for his next Sunday School teacher, but hey, the boy LOVES train; what am I supposed to do?

His insatiable appetite for all-things trains gave me curiosity for them, as well. Except, I’ve long outgrown wanting to play with toys trains and no longer pretend to be a conductor wearing that fashionable vintage-style hat. Now, I consider railroading in terms of business acumen. Had I known 20 years ago what I know now about preparing my move from Employee-to-Employer, my plans wouldn’t have been so easily derailed. Now, my curiosity for trains has evolved into a healthy respect for crossroads and for making headway.

As a mature adult, I have been known to get a little off the rails when I’m questioned or challenged. Hey, I’m human; and I’m not pointing fingers because none of my blog readers (aka Pep Squad) would ever get even a little bit heated when questioned…right? Well, I’ve got good news for you, Pep Squad; news that will keep you on the right side of the track.

There are 21 questions that I don’t mind being asked. Actually, I prefer to ask them.

Who knows what would’ve been, had someone invested time and concern to question me at length years before I set out full steam ahead to launch Ascent Small Business Promotion, LLC .

On the cusp of registering my business with the state of Michigan, while perusing the Small Business Administration (SBA) website for last minute details to help me create a business plan I could learn to love, I found their list of 20 questions to ask myself before fast-tracking myself into a registered entity. I searched SBA’s site today and it seems the link to their 20 questions may be broken. Never fear, there is a light at the end of this tunnel…I know the questions by heart.

Consider this:

  • Why am I starting a business?
  • What kind of business do I want?
  • Who is my ideal customer?
  • What products or services will my business provide?
  • Am I prepared to spend the time and money needed to get my business started?
  • What differentiates my business idea and the products or services I will provide from others in the market?
  • Where will my business be located?
  • How many employees will I need?
  • What types of suppliers do I need?
  • How much money do I need to get started?
  • Will I need to get a loan?
  • How soon will it take before my products or services are available?
  • How long do I have until I start making a profit?
  • Who is my competition?
  • How will I price my product compared to my competition?
  • How will I set up the legal structure of my business?
  • What taxes do I need to pay?
  • What kind of insurance do I need?
  • How will I manage my business?
  • How will I advertise my business?

I have one additional question that I ask my clients, but then again remember…only my blog advice is free. Smiles.

I live near Detroit, MI and operate Ascent Small Business Promotion, LLC. In 2015, I started my first blog. In 2016, I created #iGoaltend Magazine. This blog, Pep Talk with The Small Business Cheerleader, is my give back to the community. I’m a Grant Writer, Young Entrepreneur mentor, and Board Member (just ask me). I’m an Alumni Recruiter for Coppin State University (HBCU #CoppinProud). A wonderful husband, Ken; 5 children (4 are grown – we’re in the homestretch); 2 grand princesses; a big dog and a gigantic goldfish, complete me.

Photo credit: KHam Photo Creations

#iGoaltend #peptalk  #thesmallbusinesscheerleader  #fromlaunchtoascent #21questions  #DearTisha #entrepreneursandexecutives #businessacumen