Want To Learn About Business Plan Matters?
Growing up I often heard the saying, “if you fail to plan then you are planning to fail.” Although this adage is a bit trite and over used, there is some degree of truth to it. The funny thing in hearing this was that it often provided me with no clear plan and I was left to venture off on my own.
At the time, I had read a lot of books on the philosophy of business in an attempt to understand the business planning process. Many of the books I read professed the extraordinary impact a business plan can have for any aspiring entrepreneur. As I continued my reading, I kept hearing one main theme.
Those who write business plans tap into their creative resources rather than tapping into their wallet or checkbook. As an aspiring and struggling entrepreneur, I could relate to the notion of making mistakes on paper rather than in real life. I’ll be the ﬁrst to tell you that I’m always up for a challenging adventure especially in business. I also realize that there is a rather signiﬁcant difference between a challenging business adventure and one that has a high probability of leading to business suicide.
This article explores the principles of business planning and how these can be applied quickly and easily so that all your business adventures have a higher probability of success.
If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan.
And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
A merry-go-round of fun
Have you ever been to an amusement park or fairground and seen the children and sometimes adults riding on the merry-go-round? Those riding on the merry-go-round are typically perched atop a wooden horse riding in the saddle of these miniature stallions as each rider and his horse individually go up and down on a revolving platform. The merry-go-round goes around and around but really never gets anywhere.
The merry-go-round is a terriﬁc metaphor in describing how some people can get caught up in the natural ebb and ﬂow of life that they may be oblivious to the fact that they are on a revolving platform. In essence they are caught up in their own merry-go-round.
You know we put some of the valuable things on the higher shelves so you can’t get to them until you qualify.
In order to reach the things on the higher shelves you have got to stand on top of the books you have read.
Every book you read allows you to stand a little higher.
I challenge you to take a proactive approach in your business. I also urge you to distinguish and isolate the busyness from the business. It’s so easy for all of us to get caught up in the busyness of running our business. When you begin to take a proactive approach, the things you thought were impossible become possible. The dreams of the past transform to realities of a successful and thriving future. Your business emerges out of the challenges and obstacles to become one that positively grows and contributes. The ﬁrst step begins with creating a plan.
It’s funny, when I mention the idea of creating a business plan many business owners cringe at the thought. This is one of the funny ironies of business. It’s sort of like they know what to do they just don’t do what they know. I certainly can’t help you get motivated in writing the business plan. What I will do is repeat what I stated earlier, that those who write business plans tap into their creative resources rather than tapping into their wallet or checkbook. If you are one of those rare start-up businesses that has unlimited cash ﬂow and believes planning is an unnecessary step toward the success of your business.
Great so now what
Fantastic, so now you have your books in order and hopefully ordered, where do you go from here? Funny you should ask. Considering that this chapter is about creating a business plan I’m going to share with you some tips and resources to help expedite the process.
The single most important suggestion that I can recommend is to create a mission statement for who you are as a person. The mission statement is a reﬂection of your values and beliefs. It is simple and to the point. Most mission statements are one sentence in length. The mission statement isn’t something to memorize and continually go to once you’ve forgotten it. The mission statement is something that resonates to the core of who you are as a person. Consider your mission statement to be your deﬁnition of what it is to be successful.
Nothing can withstand the power of the human will if it is willing to stake its very existence to the extent of its purpose.
Sometimes coming up with a mission statement is not immediate. When it comes to creating a mission statement, being patient is deﬁnitely the call to order. The mission statement is generally effortless. One fun exercise that I enjoy doing in helping guide others toward their mission statement is mind mapping.
Mind mapping is a graphical representation of your thoughts and ideas. In mind mapping, thoughts and ideas are presented in a multi-linear fashion. Traditional note taking utilizes a linear top down and left to right approach. Mind mapping is more of a global approach.
Another fun exercise in helping you to create your mission statement is to take a “survey”. What I mean by survey is that you take stock of all that surrounds you either on your own or through the eyes of a friend.
For example, several months before I began writing this book I was at a crossroads. I was managing several business projects at the time and I wasn’t really enthusiastic about any of the projects I was working on. I thought I had come to the proverbial fork in the
road. It wasn’t until I spoke with a good friend, that I began to realize that it wasn’t a matter of deciding which road to take. It was a matter of realizing that I was already on the path that was right for me.
Take a look around you. What are the more recent books in your library? Chances are good that what you’re reading is probably what you are most passionate about. Where do you spend most of your free time? The manner in which you divide your day and spend the currency known as time can provide some insight into the things you enjoy most.
Business Plan Tips:
There are eight essential elements in creating your business plan:
1. Mission – what’s the values and beliefs of your business?
2. Vision – what’s the future for your business?
3. Executive summary – what’s your business model that includes your vision, mission, management team, target market, marketing plan, operations, and ﬁnancials in three pages are less?
4. Management team – who are the key players on your team and what are the roles and responsibilities?
5. Target market – who’s your ideal customer?
6. Marketing plan – how do you plan on going about attracting customers.
7. Operations – what are the details of running your business daily?
8. Financials – how much money is required to start your business and can your business be ﬁnancially proﬁtable?
A renaissance business
It was said that the great Leonardo Da Vinci would often write stories and take notes about paintings before they were even created. The stories and notes were said to be reﬂections of his mind. They served as a sort of blueprint or plan for the paintings that lived in his imagination.
Our imagination is the only limit
to what we can hope to have in the future.
-Charles F. Kettering
Creating a business plan can truly make a world of difference in determining to a large degree whether you’re promising venture will become wildly successful or fail miserably. Ultimately the choice is yours.
This chapter explored the importance of creating a business plan. The intention of a plan is to provide a type of blueprint for your business concept. A proper plan can help build a concrete framework and foundation from an abstract idea. Imagine yourself as an architect and that your assignment is to build the greatest masterpiece of your life.
Part of the assignment is to take those creative ideas that live inside you and transform them into reality. As an architect you might choose one of two options. The ﬁrst option might be to simply build as you go without a plan to guide you. The second option might be to create an architectural blueprint thus allowing you to make any potential mistakes/changes on paper and providing you a written plan for your
Now of course I cannot make the decision as to which option you choose. I am not Monty Hall and this is not Let’s Make a Deal. There is no prize behind door number one nor is there a prize behind door number two; in fact there are no doors, only windows of opportunity.
It’s up to you to make a choice. As we begin our journey on the road to business success we can eliminate blind spots and navigate around unsavory road conditions through the use of scenarios. Our judgement is no longer impaired and we can drive responsibly yielding to oncoming trafﬁc or passing others by.