WritingWhat is the most important thing (to do) in starting a new business?

This is one of the questions that you have offered up to me – since my last “Smart Business” Column – BE YOUR OWN BOSS. I wasn’t sure of the answer, but did know that any answer would most likely be as unique as your business and your core values.

To get some answers, I used my social media network and reached out to the real experts, those successful entrepreneurs that have successfully started a business, and I posed the question;

“What is the most important thing (to do) in starting a new business?”

Thank you to all that responded. I got some great answers! The most consistently cited and popular answers were:

– create your business plan

– identify your team

– position your differentiating product or service.

I agree with these three popular answers, and can validate their importance and priority in starting my own consulting and coaching business.

As Elena Zee, CEO at the Arizona Council on Economic Education stated, “Have a plan behind your passion.Your business plan should act as your roadmap. It doesn’t need to be a long and detailed document. It will, most likely, change and evolve over time. But, it should define your target market, product or services, its unique selling proposition and how it fits into the current marketplace.

I small headshot of Deborah Bateman.Deborah Bateman brings over 40 years of experience in business, philanthropy, and the boardroom. She inspires others to seek their truth, open their hearts and minds, and experience the power and abundance life has to offer when lived authentically.

My friend, Pris Ronan, a successful writer, speaker, and life transition coach, was one entrepreneur of several who offered up the importance of a great team. Her advice of, Surround yourself with a team of wise advisors who can aid you and encourage you as you move forward,” is spot on. You should not expect yourself to have all the answers. Seek out your mentors, advocates, sponsors and advisors and leverage them. If you are not sure where to find those individuals, you might consider seeking them out in organizations like SCORE, Small Business Association (SBA), and the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA).

Business PlanTeam can also refer to the people that you hire or bring in to help run your business. I love the answer that Alison Christian, attorney at Christian, Dichter, and Sluga, PC provided, “Identify your culture and values, so you can attract the right people.”

While my consulting and coaching business does not, yet, have other full-time employees- I do have important “team” members and partners.   As a small business owner, I have to determine where my time is best spent, and then hire the support to help me move my business forward. At this time, some of my support team members include a bookkeeper, marketing technologist, digital marketing strategist, an attorney and a virtual assistant. It is my personal experience that having a support team has reduced my stress, saved me time and allowed my to focus on the activities that make money.

As an entrepreneur, your team can consist of your advisors and mentors, your management team and hired employees and/or Business Teamyour contract support.

Last, but not least, is the all-important, positioning your differentiated product or service. In the world of marketing, this is known as the “unique selling proposition.” And, personally, I am going cast my vote and place this as the most important thing to do in starting a new business. As Doug Bruhnke, CEO of The Global Chamber stated, “You have to have a product or a service that people want to buy.”

 It seems so simple, but if you are able to make your product or service stand out- everything you do will be easier. Customers will be easier to acquire and your raving fans will tell others! Conversely, if you don’t differentiate your product or service, building your audience, and getting a potential customer to give you their time and attention will be harder work than it needs to be!

Your unique selling proposition of your product or service can mean the difference between success and failure.

So what do you think? – I invite you to sound off. Agree or disagree?

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