Your business day has just begun and you quickly whip out your clearly written plans. Pardon? Did you say you don’t have a written business plan? Then join the club, ‘Business Owners Without Plans’. The main problem this club faces is that the majority of it members’ businesses are likely to fail. Business failure rate is high and a crucial reason for this is lack of planning.
If you belong to this group and I did once, you’re probably an entrepreneur or a creative person. The idea of planning feels boring to you, seems unnecessary and involves a lot of detail. And you’d rather be doing other more interesting things. Your way of working is probably a lot more spontaneous, exciting and in the flow so you don’t want to be restricted with plans. However, without plans you can to easily end up very unfocused, not achieving the results you desire and ultimately face the failure of your business.
So, what’s your reason for not having business plans? Besides the usual reasons, like not having sufficient time to plan, not knowing how to do it or where to begin, perhaps you think that planning doesn’t fit in with your entrepreneurial and creative spirit. After all, this is who you are and you don’t want to lose this. Now fear begins to surface; fear that you many need to change personally or fear of failure. While plans stay in your head, it’s not so frightening and real. Putting them in writing, brings them closer to fruition and although you may say this is what you want, is it really if you’re not willing to commit them to paper. Planning your business takes it from being a hobby to a fully-fledged business. Although a lot of people would say that they operate their business as a business, in reality most operate them as hobbies and dont take them seriously. Then they wonder why they’re not being very successful and getting results.
I feel one of the problems for creative and entrepreneurial people is that when they consider business plans the picture that spring to mind is of hours pouring over enormous pages of details. That’s enough to turn them straight off. However, it doesn’t need to be that way. There is a way to develop plans for your business, and to be creative and entrepreneurial at the same time. These informal business plans are ones that you’ll use yourself. If you need a business plan for outsiders, such as your bank or investors then this approach might not be for you. It could however be a good process to get your formal business plan started.
Instead of thinking that you need to commit hours to working on your business plans, I invite you to start with just five minutes. Now, without any thought of the appropriate way to do it, just write down the things that first come into your head for your business. Simply capture any goals, strategies, problems, your current situation and positioning. Writing down your plans, clarifies, organises and prioritises them, and clears vital space in your head.
The next step is to tap into your strengths as an entrepreneur or creative person. You’re probably fantastic at coming up with ideas and solutions, and may well be intuitive. So, you’ll tap into all of these using the power of questions. You’ll use questions to come up with answers and solutions that you’ll put into your business plan. Your business plan need only be a straightforward review of your present situation, your strategies, resources and goals. Nothing complicated or too detailed.
Here are some questions to obtain you started:
What is the current business situation?
What goals do you have for your business?
What problems and challenges is your business currently facing?
What strategies are you using?
What strategies do you need to use?
What resources and opportunities do you have available?
Okay, so having spent five minutes on your business plans, I now invite you to make a commitment of five minutes each business day and continue working on your business plans. Once you’ve responded to the above questions, put on your creative and entrepreneurial hat, and come up with your own thought provoking questions to answer. Take your creative and entrepreneurial spirit, and use this to perfect plans for your business that keep you focused and producing the results you want. Once you start laying down some plans for your business and experience the benefits of doing this, you’ll find it easier to continue. The most important step is getting started.
As an entrepreneur or creative, what will it take for you to begin putting some of your business plans onto paper?
What planning for your business do you currently do?
What further planning do you need to do? ie. Sales, marketing, business development.
What will it take to start writing down your business plans?