“The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen”.
Almost four years ago I was helping a friend of mine at a Flea Market. I had closed my own business about a year before and had taken a job in a bank. I am sure all of you entrepreneurs realize I was in a bad way. Once you work for yourself it is stifling to go back to a 9-5. I had always wanted a retail business and midway through the day I had an idea. A brilliant, bright, shiny idea to open a Mobile Boutique. By days end with the help of said friend’s mate I had a name.
I had the next day off from work so I wrote a business plan. Yes, I did it. I wrote a mission statement, basic financials and who my target customer was. It was not perfect. But I had one and I check it every year at least once to fix, adjust or add to it. I look at my plan as a living document that like any self-employed person is flexible. It helped me GREATLY in keeping me on task, keeping my expenses for start-up in check and keeping me on target with my marketing and sales. I no longer have my wonderful Dodge Sprinter Van as I have grown and am now in a brick and mortar (there is something to be said for shelter) and my business plan has adapted to that change too with ease.
Thoughts are not concrete and the simple practice of taking them out of our heads and putting them onto paper, electronic or pulp, creates and maintains our paths.
The idea of writing a business plan can create a glassy eye look but it is SO important. I mean when was the last time you went on vacation without some kind of itinerary?
I watched a video a while back that mentioned a business plan takes up to 80 hours to write and this expert could hone that down to 10. 10?! I don’t have time for that. I wrote mine in outline form first and then quickly added numbers etc. It started as one page and now is two which suits me just fine. As I mentioned it is and can be updated as needed.
“A more practical approach, they say, for entrepreneurs who aren’t seeking external start-up financing from venture capitalists or angel investors, is to write a “back-of-the-envelope” plan with basic financial projections, such as cash flow, and fine-tune the business model after launching the business.” Do Start Ups Really Need Formal Business Plans? The critics of formal planning contend that it runs counter to what’s at the heart of the entrepreneurial spirit: the ability to learn and adapt through experience. And there’s a growing body of research supporting the notion that formal planning may not make much difference.”
My business plan or plans as I have more than one business include the following:
1. A Mission Statement
2. My Target Customer – what niche/need am I filling
3, My Financials – Start up costs, maintenance, reinvesting dollars
4. Projected Sales
5. Projected Income – YOU HAVE TO PAY YOURSELF
6. Vendors – Who, What, How much
The point is having a plan can help you make and has helped me make better decisions.
“Remember Rhonda’s Rule: If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know when you’re lost.” Rhonda Abrams
So get going and write it down! It can be as formal or creative as you wish – just do it.
For Your Reading Pleasure