Start a business? Plan carefully and adjust quickly – The Oakland Press

Let’s face it. No matter how well thought out an entrepreneur’s business plan is, in the first 12-24 months of a new business, things will happen that are different from what was expected.

Startup owners need to be able to pivot or change their business in order to survive changes in the market or their customer base. Most importantly, entrepreneurs of small and medium start-ups need to be strategic when changing their plans, so they can use their limited resources to their best advantage.

Regarding the services a company provides to its customers, Kimberly A. Eddleston, Schulze Professor Emeritus of Entrepreneurship at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business in Boston, says, “If something doesn’t doesn’t make you money, but you what makes you money, so you keep it.

Eddleston, who is also the editor of EIX, the Entrepreneur and Innovation Exchange, which is one of Next Avenue’s backers, said, “Entrepreneurs don’t want to spend time on something that doesn’t pay off. no business. They have to make strategic decisions about what will get people in.

Adapt to different demographics

These strategic decisions cover not only what services a company can offer, but also who it considers to be its primary customer base. When Patricia Wynn, owner of Patricia Services, LLC, in Hillsborough, North Carolina, launched her lifestyle assistant business in April 2021, she thought her customer base would be primarily clients aged 65 and older. .

Over the past year, she’s seen her clientele grow to include Gen Xers and even a busy mom and PhD candidate with young children who needed help cooking for her family while she was working on his thesis.

“Originally, on my website, it seemed like I was targeting older people more,” Wynn says. “Now I want to reach everyone who needs help with their daily activities”, regardless of age.

Expanding its target market has been successful, but not without challenges. One difficulty has been to add one or two staff members, even part-time. “The recruiting part was harder than expected,” says Wynn. “There is a labor shortage across the country. People do their own thing and don’t want to work for others, even part-time.

Entrepreneurs of small and medium start-ups need to be strategic when changing their plans, so they can use their limited resources to their best advantage. (Photo courtesy of Metro Creative Connection)

“I also have to make sure I have enough hours with clients to ask someone to work with me,” she adds.

Being flexible also means growing a startup incrementally, notes David Deeds, Schulze Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business in Minneapolis and editor of EIX.

Tips for growing slowly

“When you start a business, buy only what you need,” he advises. “If possible, when it comes to gear and other items, buy something that’s used or second-hand and cheaper. Don’t buy a desk until you need it. It’s the difference between slowly building a business and being able to succeed and having a big ego and doing too much too soon and failing.

Strategic decision-making has been critical for Wynn as it maneuvers its start-up business around the pandemic, inflation and rising gas prices over the past year.

“I take it one day at a time,” she says. “You have to do what you have to do to feed yourself and pay your bills. If you see that something isn’t working, you need to give up. You may need to go about it in a different way.

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