Evergreen and Everlasting!
Warning, this week’s evergreen and everlasting might be a little dry.
Business Plans, I hate writing business plans! In fact, I might be writing this newsletter to avoid revamping and finishing my business plan for yet another day in a row. Because let’s face it there is always plenty of things we must get done. So, I can tell myself I’m diligently checking things off my to-do list. Meanwhile, I’m casually ignoring the business plan that is looming over my head.
Why do we even need them? I would love to blame it on my mentor just giving me busy work. But I know business plans are very important. Especially if I want my business to be successful. This will never change. As Ben Franklin once said, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
And it’s true. Business plans give you the framework to organize your thoughts and ideas into one document. Especially as an entrepreneur, having a plan in place helps set short term and long-term goals. It also spotlights concerns you may have missed. Honestly, if you’re a 1099 employee or in a commission-based line of work under another employer’s name, having a business plan will be ideal for you too.
There are many other reasons to write a plan:
- Raise money for your business.
- Keep you on track.
- Identify what’s working and not.
- Communicate more clearly with people.
- Reflection back on purpose.
- Understand your competition.
- Know your customer and market.
- Reduce risk.
- Attract interest.
Most importantly though, it’s key to strategize your plan for growth. A business plan will help you assess financial standings and needs. The ladder for me is the worst and best part. Outlining the numbers is scary, as costs easily rack up. As painful as the “cost” column can be, it is a necessary evil to properly scale your growth. This is where I left off on my plan. Unfortunately, I know that if I don’t finish this portion, my funding will fall short and I will not grow my business.
If you don’t already know, there are four major components to a business plan: executive summary, marketing plan, key roles, and the financial plan.
Each of the four sections includes a ton of details which do not need to be need outlined here. There are great templates available for free. For instance, Score.org is a great resource.
Many people suggest starting your plan in the middle, then completing the executive summary and then hit up the financial plan. This is interesting advice. I start at the top and work my way down. Then I work from the bottom up again. Sure, it takes me more time, but I feel like I am more thorough.
By the way, the unfinished portion of my business plan is the section most often left incomplete… the financial planning. I have the same lame excuse as everyone else… the financial portion is intimidating and it’s difficult to write – especially when numbers are not your forte.
I’m confident now that I’ve announced my shortcoming to everyone that it will be done by the week’s end. AND sent to my mentor for review.