It’s a Friday night, you have just walked out of work and the decision is final: “I’m done working for someone else. I have put in enough time and I have had this idea for way too long; I am going to go out on my own.” Many small businesses are born from this very moment.
But while you toy with this idea, you begin to realize starting a business is a whole another mountain to climb. And it leads to many questions, such as: Now what? How do I do this? Where do I even start?
There are a lot of self-help books out there with all kinds of advice. There are schools that provide business classes. Even a mentor is a good choice to provide helpful tips. The list of “help” options goes on and on, but which do you follow? Who do you listen to? As you research all of the available options looking for that answer, one question will continually materialize to the forefront — “What’s your plan?”
And not just “Well, I am going to bake cookies, that’s my plan.”It needs to be a well, thought out road map, start to finish, on how your new business is going to function, grow and eventually end.
Why is this important? I found some great answers in EMyth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. I highly encourage you, as a business owner, to read this book to get some of your own answers. Here is a snippet of an answer from EMyth Revisited that I often use with my clients.
“It’s up to you to dictate your business’s rate of growth the best you can by understanding the key processes that need to be performed, the key objectives that need to be achieved, the key position you are aiming your business to hold in the market place.
“By asking the right questions, such as: Where do I wish to be? When do I wish to be there? How much capital will that take? How many people, doing what work, and how? What technology will be required? How large a space will be needed, at Benchmark One, at Benchmark Two, at Benchmark Three?
“Will you be wrong at times? Will you make mistakes? Will you change your mind? Of course you will! More often than not. But, done right, you will also have contingency plans in place. Best case, worst case. And sometimes you will simply fly by the seat of your pants; you will go with the flow, follow your intuition.
“But all the while, even while you’re guessing, the key is to plan, envision, and articulate what you see in the future both for yourself and for your employees. Because if you don’t articulate it — I mean, write it down, clearly, so others can understand it — you don’t own it! And do you know that in all the years I’ve been doing this work with small business owners, out of the thousands upon thousands we’ve met, there have only been a few who had any plan at all! Nothing written, nothing committed to paper, nothing concrete at all.
“Remember,..., any plan is better than no plan at all.
Tammy Noon is a business consultant and coach, specializing in written business plans for small businesses.