I was at a networking lunch recently, listening to someone teach about business planning. “every business needs a business plan” they said and then went on to explain what a business plan includes.
It was the typical stuff:
- market analysis
I was looking around the room at these women, most of whom were network marketers or had very small businesses, wanting to stand up and shout:
“You don’t need a business plan!”
Or at least not the kind of traditional business plan the presenter was talking about. For most small businesses, wasting the precious resources of time and energy in doing all of that research and writing is a colossal waste of time. The business plan is no sooner finished than it’s put on a shelf somewhere never to be looked at again.
Why? Because the real world rarely goes according to plan.
In the real world of small business, it’s a game of developing and implementing new strategies to see what works and what doesn’t as your business grows. And those strategies rarely show up in that first business plan.
There’s one small caveat here. If your start-up needs a grant or loan to get started or if your small business needs an infusion of capital to take it to the next level, you’ll need one of these formal business plans to satisfy the bank or lending institution’s due diligence. If that’s where you’re at, what I’m about to say may not apply.
But if you aren’t seeking outside financial support, here’s the deal.
To begin growing a successful small business the key is knowing with every fiber of your being and being able to clearly articulate these key points:
- Purpose: why does your business exist?
- Leadership: what does leadership look like for your business?
- Vision: what will your successful business look like? where are you going? what meaningful change are you creating in the world?
- Community of support: who needs to be on board to help your business be successful? who needs to be on board so you are personally successful in your business?
- Community you support: who do you serve? who needs your products or services to improve their lives or solve their problems?
- Management: what do you know you need to do to manage your business? what products or services do you offer?
- Environment: what do you need to know and be aware of about the environment you are operating in? How are you prepared to be responsive to changes in this environment?
These are simple questions to answer for yourself about your business, though coming to clear and articulate answers can be a challenge. They allow you to put together a simple plan for creating or upleveling your small business, without having to devote hours and hours to research that will fast become obsolete.
These are powerful questions to come back to over and over again as your business grows, to ensure you’re staying on target and to help discern your next best steps. When you are clear about the answers, you can also powerfully talk about your business and attract others to your work.
In working the Genuine Contact Way, this is the model for small business development and is based on the Medicine Wheel Tool of the Genuine Contact Program. Once you are clear about this foundation, the work becomes about creating strategies and taking action to fulfill your purpose and accomplish your vision. You have a solid framework within which to play the game of developing and implementing new strategies to see what works and what doesn’t as your business grows.
Do you have a business plan for your business? Is it something you work with in your day-to-day business planing and management? What might be the benefit of having a plan like this? Leave a reply below.