I think there’s a big difference between a small business and a tiny business and in many ways it is harder for a tiny business. To me a small business has anywhere from 20 to a couple of hundred employees whereas a tiny business has 10 or fewer employees and often only 1 or 2. The businesses that got me started on this track only had 1 person and when there’s only 1 person that person has to make sure everything gets done. That 1 person doesn’t have the built in sounding board of other people who share their idea and the passion for the business that can exist in a small business or even a slightly larger tiny business. When it’s just you it’s even more important to have some built-in things to help you determine where you want to go and help keep you on track when there’s a million things demanding your attention and all of them urgent. I’ve sifted through the industry best practices and my experiences helping service delivery organizations and boiled them to the bare essentials in SOHO Operations Planning. Discussions, examples, case studies, templates, etc. will be part of Tiny Business Mentor and this blog is the crucible of its development. The Tiny Business Mentor will provide the owner and operator of tiny business with an approach to build in those things necessary to help keep your eye on the prize while not getting tripped up by the everyday details and in so doing will significantly improve the chances of success and profit.
There are at least two parts involved in this approach and they can be developed all at once or in a round robin fashion working on one or the other when “inspiration” strikes. You may mentally replace “inspiration” with “desperation” if you wish.
The first part involves documenting your vision in no more than two pages. This becomes your “two minute” elevator speech that you bring out when anyone asks “whatcha’ been doing lately?” It’s also useful in customer introductions.
The second part is operations planning. This is where you think about key questions on “how” you’re going to deliver your services. This is not the same as business planning which focuses on finance and markets and it is not the same as legal planning where your focus on liabilities and protections.
Next time I think I’ll talk about the “vision” development. What it looks like, hints on developing a vision and how it can be used.