Entrepreneur Success Checklist

Find out the business elements you may be missing!

Answer the questions below to find out if you are putting yourself in the best position to succeed and what you can do about it.

Money/Operations

Click YES or NO
Whether you are already in business or not, do you know your start-up costs?
Do you have a cash reserve of at least 3-6 months to cover your bills if sales are slow?
Have you forecasted what you believe your sales will be in a “best and worst case scenario” for the next 2 years?
Do you know what the full cost of producing your product or service is? (Materials, travel, room rentals, labor, etc.)
Have you already created, or know how you will create processes and systems to grow your business beyond what you can physically do yourself?
Do you know how long it will approximately take for your business to break-even? (cover your salary and expenses)

Marketing

Click YES or NO
Have you received feedback on the value and appeal of your product or service from unbiased people? (not family or friends)
Do you fully understand the specific target market that will be most interested in buying your product? (age, gender, interests, income level, geographics, etc)
Do you know what Marketing activities will attract and convert enough prospects to buy your product?
Have you optimized your website so you can drive the maximum amount of "targeted" traffic to it?
Do you know what makes your product or service special and why someone would consider buying from you over your competitor?
Do you have a Marketing budget?
Do you have an idea which Marketing activities will, or are producing the best returns for you?

People/Team

Click YES or NO
Do you know the areas of your business that YOU should be focusing on to achieve your income goals?
Have you identified the people and/or resources you will need to implement your plan and strategies?
Do you know where or how to find the right people to help execute your plan?

Intangibles

Click YES or NO
Do the products or services you are providing have real meaning to you?
Are you open to criticism and modifying your product if necessary?
Would you still pursue, or be in your business, if you knew its maximum potential would only cover your living expenses but not produce more?
Are you willing to learn and perform activities outside your comfort zone?
( 0 Positive Answers )

Your Results

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  • 6 - 10
  • 11 - 15
  • 16 - 20

You need to work on your business

It appears that you are in the early stages of building a successful business. Make clarifying and strengthening your business model a priority. This will put you in a much better position to achieve success and help you preserve cash.

Below are the questions you answered No to and a short response why they should be addressed:

Proceed with caution

It appears that you have already worked on, or thought about some parts of your business. However, there are other elements of your business that still need to be worked on. Addressing these other areas will strengthen your business model and put you and your business in a much better position to succeed.

Below are the questions you answered No to and a short response why they should be addressed:

Skies are getting blue

It certainly appears that you have worked on your business model. This is a good start and you are on your way to a profitable business. However, there still seems to be some areas of your business that could use some work. Addressing these other areas will strengthen your business and put you and your business in a much better position to succeed.

Below are the questions you answered No to and a short response why they should be addressed:

You are in the money zone!

Congratulations, you have worked on your business and you’re putting yourself in the best position to succeed! Always work on making the necessary modifications to your business as it evolves and have a plan that will take your business to the next level (if the demand for your product or service requires it).

Please review some areas of your business that might still need a little work:

Whether you are already in business or not, do you know your start-up costs?

You are only making a profit when your Sales are covering your Monthly Expenses AND you have recuperated your Start-Up Costs. This is especially important for start-ups who must pay back loans or who have borrowed money. In addition, most entrepreneurs underestimate how much money it will take to launch a business. Itemizing all of your start-up costs will bring a lot more clarity to how you plan to move forward.

Do you have a cash reserve of at least 3-6 months to cover your bills if sales are slow?

Underestimating how long it could take for your business to generate a significant amount of sales is a critical mistake that some Entrepreneurs make. Most businesses fail within the first 3 years, not because they have unwanted products or services, rather they run out of money before their sales are able to cover their expenses (break-even). Make sure you have enough cash to properly fund your business and cover your expenses in the beginning. Having a positive cash flow will be the lifeline of your business.

Have you forecasted a “best and worst case scenario” for your sales in the next two years?

Understanding the income potential of your products and services in the next 2 years will give you the added advantage of making decisions now to maximize earnings under different conditions. It is empowering to know what a “Worst Case Scenario” will look like and take action now to avoid it, or better prepare for it. Building the right foundation upfront will increase your chances of success and preserve your precious cash!

Do you know the full cost of producing your product or service is? (Materials, travel, room rentals, labor, etc.)

Sales growth is not always synonymous with profits. There are usually over-looked costs that cut away at profits. Eg –consultant who has travel and entertainment expenses when seeing clients. These expenses, also known as “Direct Costs”, should be calculated in order to determine the correct selling price of your product and also to understand your true profit margins.

Have you already created, or know how you will create processes and systems to grow your business beyond what you can physically do yourself?

To scale your business (assuming you have created the demand), you may need a plan and additional capital to invest in systems and infrastructure in order to accommodate growth. Ask yourself what you would need to do if you experienced a significant growth spurt. (additional labor, new equipment, a larger space, or a better work flow)

Do you know how long it will approximately take for your business to break-even? (cover your salary and expenses)

Understanding how long it will take for your business to break-even is especially important for entrepreneurs who are working on a lean budget. The Break-even point in your business represents when your sales are covering all of your expenses (including your salary). At this point you are neither losing money nor making a profit. Understanding your break-even point will help clarify the amount of cash reserve that you will need for your business.

Have you received feedback on the value and appeal of your product or service from unbiased people? (not family or friends)

It’s certainly encouraging to receive compliments about how great your product is from friends and family. However, it is more important to get feedback on your products and services from people who will provide an unfiltered opinion on why or why not they like your product. It is this kind of feedback that will help you build a better product and/or experience for your customers.

Do you fully understand the specific target market that will be most interested in buying your product? (age, gender, interests, income level, geographics, etc)

Many entrepreneurs would like to believe their product will appeal to everyone but this is normally not the case. There will eventually be very clear demographics of who will buy your product, such as age, gender, values, profession, lifestyle, place of residence, income level, etc. Understanding who your specific market is will help you sharpen the message to them and also clarify the marketing channels you should pursue to reach them.

Do you know what Marketing activities will attract and convert enough prospects to buy your product?

It is important to understand what Marketing strategies will work best in finding your ideal audience and how you will convert them into paying customers. Trying to acquire new customers shouldn’t be random and inconsistent Marketing activities that you heard on the latest webinar or read on a blog site. To reach your specific customers it takes a well thought out Marketing plan to systematically lead YOUR customer from the “interest” stage all the way to the “action/buy” stage.

Have you optimized your website so you can drive the maximum amount of "targeted" traffic to it?

Just about every business should be using a website to increase sales. Even if your business is not set up for ecommerce (online purchases), a website can still help a prospect find you online and demonstrate how you can help them. There are SEO (Search Engine Optimization) companies that can help you strengthen your online presence and ultimately increase sales.

Do you know what makes your product or service special and why someone would consider buying from you over your competitor?

Chances are there will be other businesses providing the same type of products or services you offer. You will need to always work on providing an excellent product and overall experience that a customer will be attracted to, remember, and come back for. Most businesses will only get one chance so make it count!

Do you have a Marketing budget?

Most Entrepreneurs will not achieve their sales goal by “word of mouth” alone so it will be important to set aside money for your Marketing budget. What you spend should be proportionate to your current sales and growth goals. Sign up for our free tools at Trilojee.com to learn what you should be budgeting to reach your specific Sales goals.

Do you have an idea which Marketing activities will, or are producing the best returns for you?

Knowing which Marketing strategies are the most effective will ensure that you are focusing your energies and money on activities that produce the highest returns. This will preserve your cash! In order to understand your ROI, begin to track and measure all of your Marketing activities.

Do you know the areas of your business that YOU should be focusing on to achieve your income goals?

Understanding which parts of your business you should be working on and which you should be delegating to someone else will be important in building a successful business. Focus on the elements of your business that you are most skilled at and find most fulfilling. Then find other people (freelancers/contractors) more skilled than you to perform the other activities that are required of your business.

Have you identified the people and/or resources you will need to implement your plan and strategies?

After you have put together a plan for your business, it will be important to identify skilled and experienced people to help you implement your plan. Break your plan down into attainable pieces and find the people that can you help you with each piece.

Do you know where or how to find the right people to help execute your plan?

Fortunately for entrepreneurs these days, there are many places to find talented people to help you with tasks and projects. There are websites like Upwork where you can post your job requirement, or you can do a search on LinkedIn. The key is first making the commitment to get help and then knowing where and how to find skilled people. Forming a team is the one single action you can take to most quickly reach your goals!

Do the products or services you are providing have real meaning to you?

Most entrepreneurs are not going to achieve financial success right away. It’s going to take a lot of determination, hard work, and BELIEF in what you’re doing. At times, it will only be your faith and belief that will carry you through. For these reasons, it would best that you are doing something that is meaningful to you and providing fulfillment beyond just goals of financial rewards.

Are you open to criticism and modifying your product if necessary?

It is important to be passionate about your product or service but never forget that you need your CUSTOMER to love your product too. Always work on keeping an open mind and allowing your customer to tell you what they like and don’t like about what you are doing. Customer feedback will allow you to continue to evolve professionally and create more value around your products and services.

Would you still pursue, or be in your business, if you knew its maximum potential would only cover your living expenses but not produce more?

This is a big question and it would best be answered early and honestly. Consider for a moment a worst case scenario of making a minimal amount of income in your business. Would you still pursue this career for yourself? If your answer is “yes” then you are in it for the right reasons and you are more likely to persevere if and when things get a little tough. This mindset will ultimately increase your odds of success!

Are you willing to learn and perform activities outside your comfort zone?

Part of the life of an entrepreneur is an openness to learn and do things we are not always comfortable with. Our willingness to live outside our comfort zone will foster growth and increase our chances of success. These types of activities will get easier over time and you will get better performing them!

All good!

Our team at Trilojee.com has developed a software program to address many of these questions and help you create and strengthen your plan. This will ensure that you are making informed decisions about your business and most importantly, putting yourself in the best position to achieve your income goals!