I’m an avid planner. But, more so, I’m a relentless doer.
You ask, why is this important? How does this relate to me?
Consider this: A few months ago, I was approached by a mentee – a grad student who is starting her own consulting firm. It’s important, for the sake of this story, to know she’s not your “traditional” grad student. She already has five years of good, solid experience in her field.
So when she asked me for advise on developing a business plan, I told her not to bother. Well, not exactly, but here’s the deal. I have written a number of business plans over the years, not only for myself, but also on behalf of clients. And I have seen many clients present plans they’ve written themselves or hired out. More times than not, the outlay of time or money is wasted.
There are two reasons “why,” in many cases, investing so much time and energy toward developing the “perfect” business plan isn’t the best way to devote your resources:
- Too many people rubber stamp the process. If you’re modeling your business after another plan or paying someone to develop a document to fulfill some perceived expectation, it’s not really YOUR plan. Creative value is lost. Your language | brand | personality is absent. For a business plan to have value, it must contain your authentic voice. And it must stay “alive” within your company.
- Unless you’re after VC or other funding, there are other, more valuable ways to spend your time. In other words, instead of planning, you could be DOING your business – promoting it, instead of belaboring the planning stage.
At heart, business plans help to define your business model and client market space. In the case of my grad student friend, she knew her would-be business and clients well. This is often the case – many times “planning” is just another way to procrastinate – to delay the scariest part of the business start-up process – the actual start!
Though planning is a vital step, of course, I would rather you spend nine days “doing” and one day planning as opposed to two weeks agonizing over writing the elusive “perfect” business plan.
Ask yourself: What are your motivations for crafting such a plan?
Chances are, you simply don’t want to step off the board because you’re afraid you’ll belly-flop.
Step out. Do something. Anything. Make that dive.
Stepping out is the only way you’ll make a big splash … Now, go get ‘em!