You developed an idea. You researched the field you want to break into. You have support of friends and family. You wrote your business plan. You revised your business plan. Your personal finances are in order. Now what? Has anyone read your plan? Have you met with any banks to discuss funding? Where are you in your planning, really?
If your face has become a scrunched up question mark, maybe you should consider group consultations. A group consultation is a great way to bounce your ideas off of other peers in the same situation as you, with the help of an experienced business counselor to keep you on track. Here are the four reasons why group consultations might be just what your business plan needs:
- Your Cloud: Just like Apple developed the iCloud, you develop the BusinessCloud. You have already created a cluster of ideas, notes and projections for your business, and it’s all floating around with a clear path seemingly hard to find. By creating this cloud of content you are laying the foundation for great ideas to come, and with the help of others, you can pull out the good and toss the bad. It’s amazing to see what people have floating in their minds, and group discussions can focus in on the ideas that could make your business great!
- Building Business Relationships: Is your business going to do business with other businesses? Chances are at some point it will. Whether you’re knitting scarves to sell at a farmer’s market or creating software to save the world, you’re going to deal with other business people. Being involved with a group can teach you how to perform in the business world. You can learn to see the big picture of how others may see your business and what’s out there for businesses in the current economic climate.
- Feedback: One of the biggest perks of group consultations is the quantity and quality amount of feedback you’ll receive. Instead of one business counselor giving you an opinion, you’re getting the reactions of multiple people. Unbiased opinions are hard to come by in this day and age, especially with technology. People are often looking for feedback online about their businesses. For instance Yelp! is an entire website devoted to feedback. However, when you’re starting out, you may not want all the feedback to be public, nor do you want feedback clearly coming from competitors seeking to bring you down. The controlled setting of an in person small group is ideal for start-ups. Be sure to feed off the feedback, don’t just take answers from others and run, give your opinion about their business plans too.
- Expert Knowledge: Typically speaking, group consultations have a facilitator who is knowledge in business development. They are a great resource for planning out the next steps of your plan. Often times it’s difficult to find a setting where you can be comfortable bouncing ideas around, and it’s important to find the right fit for you. Maybe it’s at a Bank Branch or maybe…the Women’s Business Development Center.
It’s critical to see all sides of your business box, not just your perspective. Keep these four things in mind as you work on your business plan. And if you’re looking to join us for a group consult, the next one takes place January 11, 2012 at the WBDC in Chicago, call us at 312.853.3477 x 0. Oh, did I mention they’re free and limited to five people? Not sure if you’re ready for group consultations? Download this free resource, “Developing Your Business Plan” from the WBDC.