Two of the scariest words for any new business developer to hear are Business and Plan. That one phrase can send many people running for the hills in a cold sweat. STOP!
Panic not. A business plan does not have to be nearly as daunting as it may at first seem but it is essential.
A typical corporate style business plan is many many pages long and usually includes projections, staffing costs, profit and loss margins and the MDs inside leg measurement and you’re right, that is enough to make anybody feel a little overwhelmed. But the good news is that your business plan does not need to be anything like that.
Firstly let’s look at why you need to have one:
Not being a huge sports fan myself I’m not big on the sports analogies but if you are think about your favourite team, be it football (English or American), basketball, tennis or golf. Every successful team or player spends hours training themselves into a state of physical fitness unparalleled by their opponents ensuring they are in the best shape to get them to the top of their game.
But is that all they do? Just as important is the game strategy that they develop. Whilst a team or sportsman may not know exactly what is going to happen on their way to the top of the league they always know which route it is best to take to get there.
And it’s exactly the same for you. You cannot foresee exactly what hurdles and side roads you are going to come across but unless you know which direction you are going in then you’ll find it a lot harder to get there.
A business plan is simply a statement of where you are now and where you want to be in the future with the journey sketched out in the middle.
How to write your business plan:
Keep It Simple Stupid.
K.I.S.S is a well known principle exercised by the smartest of minds and really, it does exactly what it says it does. When you go to write your own business plan keep it simple. Start at the beginning, where are you now? How much cash flow do you have? What is your availability?
Then note down where you would like to be and when you would like to be there. Keep it realistic. While we would all love to millionaires within the next 5 years it might be better for you to focus on a goal that seems more realistic to you and is therefore easier for your brain to accept and ultimately easier for you to achieve.
Now all you need to do is think about how you can get from point A to point B. How many steps are there in between? Consider what it’s going to take for you to get to each phase of your plan. Jot down just a few words to flesh your plan and before you know it you have the workable outline of your business plan which you can expand upon if you wish or just keep it as it is.
Keep it close at hand, maybe even put it up on the wall in your work space. If you have written a step by step plan then make sure you cross off each step as you achieve it to remind yourself of how well you are doing. Or use it as a bit of self motivation when you’re having one of those off days.
However you decide to write and implement your own business plan, having one laid out in your own terms is a sure-fire way to increase your chances of success.
It’s much easier to get somewhere you’ve never been before if you have a map showing you the way.