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It used to be when I wanted candy or a bottle of pop (cans weren’t as popular way back when), I hopped on my bicycle and went looking for returnable bottles along the road to redeem.  This was beneficial for all parties except perhaps the party store owner who ultimately had to handle the dirty, crusted glass vessels.  But I got a free soda, and the community received a road-side cleanup.  Today, some 40-odd years later, I think back on the preparation for such a simple task as this; getting neighbors to participate with permissions from parents, seeking out the very best potential for roads, taking along a sack or bag to gather our wealth, planning our route to end up at the local party store not too far from home, and so on.  Many times in my youth I was required to ponder the next steps involved to complete even the most mundane of tasks in doing chores, taking care of the horses, cleaning out the garage, and so on.

And so it should be with starting your business.  There is no rocket science involved here (unless you are currently rubbing shoulders with Newt Gingrich), but just thinking about the many steps involved may cause palms to sweat and invoke a heightened sense of anxiety.  Eventually you will persevere, fueled by your entrepreneurial passion, at which point you should reach for a pencil and paper.  Indeed, if you have never started a business but have longed to, read on.

Jot all of your rambling thoughts and questions down on one piece of paper, and put it in your pocket.  For the next week or so come back to that piece of paper and add to it.  After you have exhausted your mind for a period of time, find a quiet moment of clarity and label each thought or question by category.  You could get real creative, but for now put an “A” in front of it if it pertains to accounting, business start-up filings, banking, and stuff to do with the office, tax or legal aspects of your enterprise.  Next, put an “M” in front of your thought if it pertains to marketing, advertising, a web presence, etc.  Next, put an “O” in front if it pertains to your operational or functional aspects of the business.  Last, is the “S” which stands for sparkle and success; what do you plan to do that nobody else has done?  What are some of the quirks, bells, whistles, and top-notch mover and shaker ideas do you have that will put you on top?  Perhaps you perceive nothing more than a philosophy of perfection, or a certain swagger or style, yet in the moments of creation, you need to remember these before the other topics get too much attention and you forget where you wanted to go.

Now that you’ve categorized your jumble of information, re-write it on four pages appropriately labeled and call it your AMOS plan.  When you get to this point, you will have more thoughts and questions, eventually causing AMOS to drill down even more into the abyss of your creativity and desire to succeed.  This is good, as now you have successfully mastered the first step of starting your business, for without ideas and thoughts and questions, you cannot begin at all.

This article originally published on February 6, 2012.  Thanks for reading!