So you have started your business and things are going really well. You are receiving rave reviews, your social media is hyper active, your PR is consistent and your clients just cannot get enough of you. Then WHAM! You come face to face with the reality of what you have created.
At the conception of your business:
- You wanted to create an amazing business
- You wanted people to want your product or service
- You wanted to be popular
- You wanted to create a better life for you and your family
- You wanted to create a legacy
- You wanted …….
and the list goes on.
So why have you suddenly hit this barrier?
The answer is simple – YOU DID NOT PLAN FOR IT AND YOUR OPTIMISM HAS TURNED INTO WORRY.
You had an idea, it is working, BUT, you have suddenly realised the full potential of what you have created, what you are doing and the impact this is and can have, and you question yourself.
- Can I do this?
- What will change?
Well, if you have a plan, you would not have been so surprised by your success. Your plan would have given you the opportunity to appreciate your accomplishments and the journey. Instead you are worried about the unknown. A plan helps to give you a level of clarity.
Of course, having a plan will not alleviate all of the problems which may crop up as you grow your business. However, what it does allow you to do is:
- begin to interrogate the possibilities of what could happen
- wrap your head around those possibilities
- be more prepared.
It allows you to continue to enjoy your growth now, but not be too anxious about the future.
I have been successful without a plan.
Flying by the seat of your pants in business; is fantastic, invigorating, exciting and inspiring. However, the full potential of what you can achieve through your business needs a little bit of strategy and organisation, and that is what a plan does for you. It helps you to organise your thoughts, actions and priorities.
Now at FP Comms we work with businesses that are, what we call, ‘Visionary Businesses’. These are businesses that are breaking ground, confident and bold. These businesses are exciting and inspiring. These businesses are run by amazing and passionate people.
These are the people that excite us, as they usually have simple solutions to make people’s lives better and that is at the core of their product and service – making people’s lives better!
However, there is a pattern that has emerged. The people behind these businesses never have a working plan and here are some valid reasons why this is the case.
- They often just want to see if the concept would work. However, as the business grows they do not take the time to step out of the day to day running of the business and dedicate it to the creating a workable plan.
- They do not think they need one, because they are not asking anyone for money.
- The formality of a business plan is too complicated and (quite honestly) boring.
- It is a waste of time
- They wrote one before because they were told to, but never used it. (So it is a constant reminder of a waste of time)
- They feel out of their comfort zone.
- They feel it will expose their flaws.
Can you answer yes to any of the above?
However, as valid as these reasons are, these are barriers that seriously need to be overcome if you want to grow your business to reflect your vision, passion and goal. Also, to reduce worry!
So here are the 3 main tips:
- Decide what you want a business plan for. Businesses plans are there to paint the picture. Your plan to raise funds through a bank would require more detail and will be more repetitive than the plan to keep you focused on your vision.
- If you are not raising finance, use your business plan to give clarity to your vision. This is what at FP Comms we call a Vision Plan. Here are some suggestions for things you should include in your Vision Plan:
- Cover page – Logo and title of the document and date.
- Summary of your business – approx. 300 words
- Why – What is your purpose?
- What – What do you do?
- Who – Who are the people you serve?
- Where- Where are your clients?
- How – How are you going to serve them?
- When – Hours of the day of service.
- Mission statement what do you want to achieve and why. This is one of the most important areas of your VISION PLAN. It is your driving force when times are dark. It highlights your purpose and helps you to stay focused.
- Business details
- All the people involved in the business
- Contact details for your business
- Legal Status
- Products and services
- Your 6 months, 1 year and 3 years plan ( 3 lines max)
- SWOT Analysis (identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
- Include your spreadsheet
- Next steps/Action Plan – Write a list of all the things you need to achieve. To get you through your 1st few hurdles. (It can be anything from better accounts to childcare to deal with your growth). Anything that impacts on your demands you need to access the best solutions.
- Set your ultimate goal – Financial, Personal, Professional, Emotional …. Then write in two lists the things that you are prepared to give up and the things you are prepared to do to achieve your goal. Then in another two columns the things you are unprepared to lose and the things you are unprepared to give up to achieve your ‘ultimate goal’ and then make an informed decision about your business.
“Your success is a daily choice. Success is NOT a destination, it is a journey and every day you can elect to be successful”
It is successful to want to run an amazing business, but you make the CHOICES for that to happen on a daily basis, therefore, your success is the action you take based on that choice. Of course it does not mean success is comfortable or falls within the status-quo of life, but it is honest.
Finally, for all you amazing business people out there, who are running great businesses without a plan, take the time to start a plan today, before you hit that brick wall. Because when you hit the wall, you could decide to give up on your vision, passion and goal based on pain and worry and not on a plan, which can give you an idea about what to expect as those challenges arise.
In addition, surround yourself with objective but supportive people. Your vision deserves your commitment and that includes seeking working with people that take pleasure in seeing your success.