Who Are You? Who-Who…Who-Who…

So it’s an easy enough question to answer for yourself – your name, your marital status, your ancestry – but how about for your company? Are you able to identify the mission of your business clearly and succinctly?

For those of you who haven’t developed your own business plan yet, you may never have been forced to describe the purpose and goals of your company before. If that’s the case, first, a subtle slap on the hand for not investing the time to setup a business plan. Okay, that’s out of the way. Now on to the business of gathering thoughts about your company.

Establishing a formal description of your business does several important things. It can support your efforts to define your services and fine-tune your marketing. Your business description may help you calculate precisely what the cost of doing business entails and what resources are needed to launch or expand in the future. It also can serve as a constant reminder of why you entered into the business in the first place and what you hope to achieve both personally and professionally.

So where does one begin when drafting up a company description? There are a few things that you need to know about your business.

  • Structure – who’s behind it? Are you a sole proprietary or a partnership? Destined for going corporate or committed to remaining a solopreneur? Be able to define the delegation of responsibilities for the business venture internally and by outside contractors or business partners.
  • Purpose– what’s yours? What solution do you offer your prospective customers? Clearly, your potential clients have certain needs to address or challenges to overcome. How can your business fit the bill?
  • Industry – what’s your specialty? How would you categorize your business – retail, wholesale, service, distributor, manufacturer, consultant, developer or contractor? Is there a specific niche or line of products and services? Have you taken the time to research your trade or industry by either reaching out to other vendors, trade organizations or through trade journals or other online media sources?
  • Ways and means – how do you DO what you do?  What is the process behind your service or product? What does it take to run your business, at what cost and over what period of time? What’s your price point? How will you be measuring your sales revenue, referral business and client feedback? What other processes are in place with regard to product development, product delivery and customer service?
  • Tough questions – be sure you can answer them. Who needs you?  What are your products and services? Who is your competition? How do you differ from your competition? How will you reach out to the marketplace? Will I need suppliers? Will I need employees? Will I need distributors? And so on… this bullet point alone could be a full blog entry all by itself. Why, as a matter of fact, now that I think about it, let’s go ahead and do it! Look for it next week…

…in part 2, Tough Questions You Should Be Able to Answer about Your Business. Coming soon…so stay tuned and get started on that description!

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