Sounds Like A Plan.
Subscribe to Dave's Blog!
Get Dave's weekly blog post delivered to your email inbox.
Sounds Like A Plan.
If you have a business, you need a business plan.
I recently attended a couple of networking mixers. Most of the people there were new contacts to me. I spoke with two different people who told me that they had just started new businesses five weeks earlier or less. The first person I spoke with had started a new HVAC business four weeks earlier. He was 43 years old and said he had a lot of experience in that field. He had recently gotten tired of working for other people and decided to go out on his own. I asked him if he had a business plan. He said, “No.” I asked him if he knew how to sell. He said, “No.” I asked him if he knew what his margins were. He said “No.” He also didn’t know how to price his services. I asked him how he expected to get customers. He said he was hoping to find a property management company large enough to be able to keep him busy full-time doing maintenance on their properties. I did point out that any company that big probably already has a maintenance person, or even several maintenance people, already doing that work.
The second young man I met was 28 years old and decided he was going to start an international cuisine restaurant. He also asked me (and I’m not making this up) if I thought it was a good idea for him to start two businesses at the same time — at least one with a person he had never even met. I said, “There’s an old saying that goes, “If you chase two rabbits both will escape.” I encouraged him to not try to start both businesses at the same time. I also asked him if he had a business plan. He said, “No.”
Recently, one of my guest speakers, Dwight Smith, did an excellent presentation explaining that 80 to 90 % of businesses fail and virtually none of them had a business plan. Imagine you were an architect and you were tasked to put up a skyscraper. Would you ever dream of erecting a building without a blueprint? Of course not. So, why do people think it’s sensible to start a business without a business plan? It’s probably because they don’t know what goes into a plan; so, let’s go into a simple checklist that you’ll want to follow.
First of all, a business plan does not need to be long or complicated. My business plan is three pages long and I wrote it during a two-hour airplane flight from Florida to Pennsylvania before I started my business. A business plan should have the name, address, and corporate status of the business. It should have the scope of the business including the purpose of what you do and why you’re doing it. There should be a vision statement and a mission statement. You should also list the values of your business and how you intend to operate. You can list your target market and demographics. It should include projected sales (for at least the first three years), pricing, and margins. I would also include what makes you unique. List your hard assets and startup expenses.If this sounds complicated to you, then you’re not ready to start a business. You are ready, however, to start learning about a business plan. If you don’t know how to do your own, go find somebody else who’s already done it. Find a business coach. As a business owner, you’ll want to pick someone whom you know, like, and trust. Get a mentor but, whatever you do, make sure you have your plan before you plan to start a business.
Plan your work and work your plan.- Anonymous
This excerpt is taken from my Strategic Planning and Execution seminar.
Organizational Excellence III: Strategic Planning And ExecutionVIEW SEMINAR
I encourage you to go to Dave Romeo Online University and listen to the Get Organized Now! Audio program , which covers this lesson in much greater detail.