Here’s the value of the term “business plan” – absolutely nothing. I’m not pulling your chain here trying to get you all worked up – I’m being serious.
Entrepreneurs, consultants and other business owners often think they have a business plan when they really don’t.
They talk about these great ideas, how they’ll achieve this, knock this competitor out – but it’s all talk. Mind you it is one step further ahead than just thinking about your plan in that noggin of yours.
A business plan is your map to success
You see the goal of this document isn’t to set it in stone. Quite the opposite. The goal of a consulting business plan is to show your intentions and to get you thinking about how’ll you’ll accomplish them and overcome any challenges that may pop up along the way.
When done properly it allows you to go back from time to time to check in on your progress. Having a gut feeling that you’re doing well is fine, but “doing well” can mean different things to different people – and that’s why having your goals and plans written down on paper ensures you’re really on track and making real progress – not just progress in your mind.
Many people don’t even get started on their plans because the thought of writing down all those details seems daunting. Well you know what, if you can’t take the time to think through your plan and write it down on paper – you’re chances of reaching real success are slim.
What a ridiculous myth
The idea that your plan has to be pages and pages of legalese and technicalese (is that last one a new word?) is unfounded. Even from an investors perspective the business plan is never meant to cover every nano-sized step your business will take. Investors are looking to see that you’ve done your homework, that there is true potential and that you understand the risks.
Different plans suit different kinds of businesses, for some a one-page summary of the main goals, opportunities, challenges, competitors, etc will suffice. For others 10 pages with financial charts will be required. Rarely will a plan longer than this be useful. If yours is longer take a close look to ensure that what you have written down is meaningful – if it is fine, if not get rid of it. There’s no rule to the number of pages.
Putting it all together
If you don’t have a plan for your business right now, brew a cup of java and get cracking. The value isn’t just in the completed document, it’s the process of creating the biz plan that gets you thinking and seeing new opportunities. Put the two benefits together and it’s a no brainer.
Now, if you find it a challenge to get started, if you haven’t already, sign up for our “Free Consulting Toolkit” – that we’ve put together and you’ll have a template with everything you need to get started.