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Five Rules for Your New Company's Playbook

October 25, 2011  

You're ready to strike out on your own and start a small business. But before you do, you need to create a detailed playbook. "I think of a business plan as something that answers the questions every cub reporter learns to ask: Who? What? When? Where? Why?" writes Susan Wilson Solovic in It's Your Biz. "If you can answer all of these questions about every aspect of your business, you've got it made."

Consider Solovic's good advice:

Don't inflate your idea. "It's better to underpromise and overdeliver, even to yourself," notes Solovic. In other words, a grandiose business plan won't do you much good if you'll only fall short of projected targets. So set challenging goals—but be sure you have the numbers to back them up.

Don't underestimate your start-up costs. Launching a small business always costs more than you think it will, and it might be years before you begin to draw a fair salary. It's important to maintain a cushion, for business and personal expenses.

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