What are two things a start-up must have?

What are the first things you must have when starting a business? The answer is so obvious that many people overlook it. The two most important critical factors for success in any business are products and customers.

You can’t have a business without products and customers. So the very first thing a new business needs is a product which is something they can sell whether it’s tangible like a piece of clothing or intangible like a service or advice. The next thing you need is customers. Everything else is extra and often detracts from the actual building of the business.

Many business experts will suggest that you start with a business plan. But I often advise people in a start-up mode to skip the business plan. It’s useful at times and necessary for outside funding. But the problem is that many business plans are total fiction and never happen as written. And all the work spent building the plan can be put to better use working with prospective customers.

As your business begins to grow there will be lots of need for good business planning, but then it is more likely to be called a sales or marketing plan.

–Barney Cohen

President, Business 360 Northwest

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