Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs - Don't Expect To Build Your Business By Accident

Baby Boomers who are becoming entrepreneurs have serious intentions of building businesses that go beyond being hobbies. Research shows that they expect to build businesses that will support and fund their desired lifestyles rather than opting for the traditional path of retirement. Unfortunately, many are depending on building the business into a success without being willing to plan for success.

Regardless of the industry, most new entrepreneurs start with a common problem. As an entrepreneur, you face the challenge of establishing a complex business with limited resources and limited time. You have very little room for big mistakes. Because the challenge is bigger than what you can do by yourself, you have to involve others: employees, independent contractors, investors, and possibly even partners. And of course, your ultimate success is based upon how you are received by customers.

As a professional entrepreneur, it is your job to set the expectations for the business, for all aspects of the business, for everyone associated with your business. People often refer to this as having the entrepreneurial mindset, being willing to accept responsibility for what you are creating.

People often think of the business plan as a tool to raise money. Your business plan is far more importantly your tool for designing and operating your business. Writing your plan does not have to be as complex and time consuming as most people expect that it must be to produce results. One very good resource comes from Jim Horan, a skilled writer dispensing advice to entrepreneurs and author of The One Page Business Plan: The Fastest, Easiest Way to Write a Business Plan.

It is in accepting the responsibility for creating your expectations for your business and seeing that they are properly aligned with the expectations of your customers and employees that you avoid the trap of depending upon things to come together by accident. It is in defining and aligning expectations that you differentiate your business in the marketplace. This is what makes you stand out from the commodity businesses.

The overwhelming majority of business owners either fail to establish expectations or to communicate the expectations they hold locked in their minds. They think that common sense should tell people what to expect. They fail to establish specific systems that explain to customers how they will be served. They fail to establish systems and procedures that employees follow to make sure that customers get exactly what was promised to them.

People so often depend upon everything to come together by accident. What people fail to understand is there is no such thing as common sense. What we call common sense is actually an agreement or alignment of our expectations that results from dialog over time. By establishing the expectations on how you will serve the market, what promises you will make to your customers and how you will keep those promises, you make your business stand out from the many that lack direction and only do the same thing twice in a row by accident. That is how customers develop the common sense to come to you rather than other sources in the market, you are consistent in meeting your promises. Customers can feel in control because if what you promised is exactly what they want, they know exactly where to go to get what they want. They come to you.

Don’t assume your serious intentions are automatically built into your business. Take specific calculated steps to: 1) create the vision; 2) document your vision; and 3) find a way to express it to others so they can join you in delivering on your promises. Delivering on your promises cannot depend upon everything coming together by accident. Build your business on the solid foundation of a plan that honors the needs of everyone, you, your customers, and your employees alike. Make your plan. Make your promises. Deliver on what you promise. Expect it to all come together by plan, not by accident.

Shallie Bey

Andrea Stenberg, blogger for Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs, was one of the first to report on the Bank of Montreal study about the serious intentions of baby boomer entrepreneurs. You can see her post at: .

For more insights on The One Page Business Plan, see the free resource directory I have created on How To Write A One Page Business Plan at: