Ever start a project without a plan? Did you find yourself completing your project on time? Was the finished product just what you expected? Probably not, because it would be impossible without a plan. Business is no different. When creating a business, it is important to begin with the end in mind. It also happens to be habit number 2 in Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

What do you really want?

We all want to make money and provide for our families. What are you passionate about and you can see yourself doing for years to come? This will go hand in hand with how you want to be remembered. What do you want your legacy to be?

Let values be your guide.

Having a mission statement and vision for your business and life is important. Don’t lose sight of your ethics. The ends don’t justify the means. Some of the most successful business people have a values based system for decision making.

Measure your performance along the way.

Measuring activities and results will help to give you tangible, quantifiable feedback on whether or not you’re making progress towards your goals.

Build a sustainable lifestyle first.

In Michael Gerber’s book, E-Myth Revisited, He discusses how major corporations don’t simply happen with chance.  He also points out that it is imperative to build a sustainable lifestyle and then have your business conform to your life. If you spend all your time and energy building a sustainable business first, your lifestyle will then conform to the business you’ve built.

What do you want your business to feel like?

How do you want it to function? Should employees have access to specific customer data that will help empower them? This is where you can decide what type of culture you want to have. Should leadership be an expert in the industry or rule by fear?

What is your exit strategy?

This is the ultimate ending and should be considered long before launching into a business. When should I sell my business? What goes into selling a business? How can I make sure I get the most for my business? What will my business be worth? Would my kids be good at running the business? How do I sell my business to the employees? All of these questions, and more, should be considered before beginning.

© Individual Advantages, LLC. 2014

Mary Smith

Mary has been with IA Business Advisors for 6 years. She graduated with a bachelor's in English literature with a minor in psychology, and is currently working towards her master's in organizational leadership. She enjoys writing and produces blogs for IA and several of IA's clients. Her favorite aspect of writing is the research.

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