you prepare cash flow projections and a cash flow statement. An accurate cash flow projection can alert you to trouble well before it strikes, while a statement is used to analyze the cash inflows and outflows during a specific time period—something most lending intuitions ask for. You should also consider hiring a financial adviser. Referrals can be obtained through the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (www.napfa.org) and the American Institute of CPAs (www.aicpa.org).
9 Conduct market research There are a number of ways to conduct research on an industry or a particular market before starting your business. Research can be as simple as asking family or friends about a specific business idea or it may require hiring a professional research firm to perform comprehensive market research and analysis.
To get a clear picture of what’s happening in your industry and where the opportunities are, consider getting the information you need by conducting research on the Web, joining trade associations, attending conferences, and subscribing to trade journals.
The Internet can provide you with countless information sources about any industry. What you can’t find online will probably be available in a local library.
10 Be committed to excellence Your business is more than just the production of goods and services. Recognize that you need to be committed to the whole experience of conducting business to make people’s lives better, fixing problems, and providing solutions. Mediocre and unsuccessful companies start out only to make money. But the most successful businesses strive to be greater than their competitors by delivering superior customer service and experience. Before you decide what type of products or services you want to provide, find out more about your customers. Create a strategy to consistently exceed customer expectations and you will have customers for life. The commitment must be ingrained in your company’s culture and integrated in your overall business strategy.