The Benefits of a One-Page Business Plan

Katie Corbett holds the book, "$100 Startup."

By Katie Corbett

While not strictly necessary to get started with your own business opportunity, a business plan can be a great way to feel like your venture is legit. When I began my garment project, one of the first things I did was to create my business plan. I didn’t do it totally on my own, though, and it wasn’t complicated to draw up. Here’s why.

In “The $100 Start-Up,” Chris Guillebeau talks about the idea that only three things are necessary to make money running your own business: a product or service, a way for you to get paid, and people who will pay you for that product or service. Writing a business plan can help you figure out if you have a viable idea.

Fortunately, a template for a simple, one-page business plan is included in the book. Writing up this basic business plan helped me:

• Clearly define my concept and what problems I was solving with my product.
• Brainstorm funding ideas.
• Determine my target market.
• Get all my thoughts out in writing, which made the project feel more real, and less like an idea in my head.
• Outline steps and benchmark goals towards completion.
• Intelligently discuss my project with people who would be working on it with me.
• Organize my thoughts and ideas.
• Decide if this was something I was willing to work on for an extended period of time.
• Realize what resources I could contribute in terms of time, money and effort.
• Discover where I needed guidance or expertise from others.

Writing up a business plan doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right template and a little time spent thinking, a business plan can be created to help you determine the life cycle, scope and money-making viability of a business idea.

I encourage you to grab a copy of “The $100 Start-Up” and get to work on your business plan. This will take your project from just an idea in your head to a process written down on paper. The act of creating your plan will ready you to bring your thoughts into the world.

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How to Conquer the Hardest Part of Any Project: Getting Started

Katie Corbett holds the book, "The Power of Who"

By Katie Corbett

When I decided to work on my garment project, the hardest part wasn’t figuring out the design, nor was it finding the right people to work with me. The biggest challenge was getting started. Of course, the first step to accomplishing anything is starting in the first place.

In “The Power of Who,” Bob Beaudine says that one of the qualities of a successful person is pushing past whatever holds you back and beginning. Here are some questions I have found helpful to reflect on when beginning any new endeavor:

• What is causing my hesitation?
• What is the absolute first step I need to take in order to start?
• What materials, skills and abilities do I already possess?
• What materials, skills and abilities do I still need?
• Where can I obtain what I need?
• Do I need to bring anyone else on board in order to begin?
• Where can I find the people I need?
• How will I track my progress, successes and learning experiences throughout the life of the project?
• What systems can I put into place to keep my enthusiasm alive for this project?
• What will I do if my time, energy or enthusiasm changes as I work on this project?

Answering these questions, either on paper or in my head, assists me in determining the steps and scope of an upcoming project. I hope they will help you, too.

What new projects are you starting? I would love to know. Feel free to leave it in the comments. Don’t be afraid to begin! You can do it!

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Feeling Stuck? Just Do the Next Right Thing

Katie Corbett holds the book "Perfectly Yourself"

By Katie Corbett

If you’ve ever had a big dream, you’ve also likely had a feeling of anxiety or downright fear that you couldn’t accomplish it. In addition to using the “Fear-Setting” technique developed by Tim Ferriss, I have also found that continuing to move forward is the best way to push passed that fear. Getting started can be the hardest thing you will ever do.

In his book, “Perfectly Yourself,” author Matthew Kelly says that just doing the next right thing is a great way to hold yourself accountable to your goals and keep yourself on track. I have especially found this to be true whenever I’ve felt stuck. Some questions I have used to plot my next move are:

• Where do I want to go? What is my end-goal?
• What is the next step I can take to move me closer to achieving my goal?
• If I don’t know the steps, what can I read or who can I talk to in order to find out?
• If I don’t personally know anyone who has achieved this dream, how can I find such a person?
• If I do know what my next step is but want help, who would be the best person to help me?
• What is the next specific action I can take now to move forward?

When I started my garment project, for instance, I knew that my first step was defining what I was going to create. I knew I needed a seamstress, but didn’t know anyone personally who could help. Then, my first step became finding such a person. I reached out to some friends and to some local entrepreneurial groups on Facebook, seeking recommendations. That was it. That was all I did before I considered this project started. That was the next right thing. After that, the momentum of thanking those who had given seamstress recommendations and reaching out to the seamstresses they recommended was all I had to do. From there, the ball kept rolling.

What is your big dream? What is the next right thing you need to do in your life? Often, we already know what the answer is, and all we need is to take action to get started.

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