I just finished a three-and-a-half-week intensive program at SUNY’s Levin Institute called FastTrac NewVenture and boy, am I fried. It was a NYC sponsored class that, “helps entrepreneurs develop their skills needed to start, manage and grow a successful business.” Yes, I’ve been an entrepreneur, but no, I’ve never really made any plans, done much research, written any kind of business plan. Nothing. Just a seat-of-the-pants business approach to starting a business.
Wrong. All wrong.
Entrepreneurship (I learned how to spell that in class, too!) is so much more than starting a business. It’s not just about having a plan, it’s about having an exit strategy. It’s about putting your life into the equation and making sure you’ve researched the whole idea thoroughly, from how long you plan to work every day, to how it affects family, from competition to profitability and simply, whether or not the idea is feasible at all.
I may have relaunched my career a few years ago without much planning, but I still have time, so I’m going back to the drawing board. I’m starting by writing a plan, having mentors and listening carefully to my advisors – yes, even advisors. I’m being watched very closely by my classmates and facilitators (the FastTrac terminology for instructor), as we will continue to keep in touch as our projects develop. Photography is a tough business. Making a startup plan isn’t a half bad idea.
Ah, if only I knew then what I know now. Hindsight is 20/20.