Understanding What Your Company Is
Before even diving into the specific analysis for how to get from concept to profit, it’s important to understand what your product or service is and what problems it will solve. Staying focused and intentional at this stage will give you a strong foundation for future problem-solving. Be specific. List out the consumers, organizations, or businesses your company plans to serve; elaborate on the organic makeup of what the company is and the competitive advantages that will make it a success. Are there experts on your team? Are you serving an under-utilized niche? Have you found the perfect brick-and-mortar location? Understanding what your company truly is on an esoteric level is a fundamental step that is often overlooked by entrepreneurs who are otherwise bogged down in the minute and time-consuming details of launching a venture.
- What are the goals of your company?
- How will you add value?
- Understand your weaknesses/blind spots/inherent challenges
When launching a venture, it goes without saying that any entrepreneur is doing so to get somewhere – to achieve something – otherwise the late nights and endless grind would prove fruitless. However, once you start taking concrete steps such as hiring employees, fundraising, etc. the reality is that entrepreneurs get pulled in a million directions and quickly lose sight of why they started their company in the first place, and where they originally wanted to take it. While seemingly “corny” or overly idealistic, a crucial early step for any company is to spend the time to analyze and write down a succinct and intentional vision statement that lays out your purpose for existence. This will be your “North Star” as you encounter obstacles and have to make difficult decisions that could potentially derail one’s preferred trajectory. Whether you’re fresh out of college or pivoting in the middle of your career, we live in a world where purpose and meaning matter. Understand and memorialize your own before you do anything else.
Related to a company’s goals and mission statement, critical to separating yourself from competitors is recognizing and formulating exactly how you will add value to your selected market. There are more individuals striking out on their own and standing up their own companies than ever before. Fueled by a combination of underappreciation from former employers and a desire for more flexibility, entrepreneurs are popping up across all industries and are bringing a variety of experience and value. Delineating what your specific value-add will be compared to a competitor or similar venture will not only help relate to potential clients or customers, but will exhibit a deeper understanding of your market.
All companies have weaknesses. Whether it’s a lack team experience, an absence of funding, a weak network, or potential transactional delays that could disturb one’s operational timeframes, identifying where and how these inherent challenges will pop-up early-on will help create momentum where none may exist. By doing this analysis, you not only avoid future delays and issues, but you obtain a deeper understanding of what your company is and how far you can take it. Self-reflection and esoteric understanding of one’s company purpose are foundational tools for success in any capacity and in any field.