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The Importance of Having a “Devil’s Advocate”

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If you are reading this blog, it’s likely that you are either a serious entrepreneur or you have a pretty good business idea.   Some of you may need help bringing an old idea to a new market.  Either way, you probably feel that your concept is good and can succeed.

The truth is that you may or may not be right.  After all, many businesses fail.  And they fail due to a number of reasons, but the biggest is poor planning and the lack of someone else questioning the concept/idea.

In my last blog, I discussed the “Build It and He Will Come” approach that too many entrepreneurs take.  Although not entirely the same, it’s very important to have someone take a “devil’s advocate” role when hearing about your concept or reading your business plan.

Let’s say you want to open a restaurant in a busy urban neighborhood in a space that was formerly a restaurant.  You want to be a little different, having a drive-in feel, but where the customers still sit at a table and the booths make it look like a car.  You think this is the best idea ever!  You get the drive-in feel in a newer more upscale environment!  What could be better?

Remember that your business needs to have real customers, not just be a place you want to hang out at all day.  It’s important to let some others that you trust, or have signed NDA’s or confidentiality agreements, give their opinion about the business.  This could be friends, family, business professionals, or business planning consultants like Optimus.

Let’s say you get some good initial feedback.  You go full steam ahead, right?  Not quite.

Take a step back.  From the feedback you received, what changes do you need to make?  How can you make your concept to where your target market can’t get enough of you?  Solidify that concept!

Now it’s time to develop the business plan.  You can write this on your own, but many people prefer to have this aspect done for them by professionals.  Be sure to choose a company that writes all content just for your business (like Optimus) and has a good track record (like Optimus).  Don’t just find the cheapest company, as those charging significantly less than market rates likely aren’t actually writing you a custom document.

After the business plan is complete, it’s important to get another opinion, this time from a professional.  It’s best to have a professional consultant explore your business plan to find opportunities to improve your future operations, marketing plan, tax status, and other aspects that make a difference between profitability and a lost opportunity.  A good consultant can study the data in the business plan, including your market and industry analysis, the competition, marketing strategy, and owner cash to determine whether the business has a good chance to acquire funding and succeed.

Overall, it’s very important to have friends, family, and professionals with a non-biased opinion give you their thoughts on your concept before moving forward.   Your mom will tell you the idea is the best she’s ever heard, but a consultant can stop you before you make costly mistakes.

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