26 Oct “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem”
The title may not make sense to you, but this Kenny Chesney song just came into my head as I pondered the problem of “no business plan,” “no budget,” “no schedule.” Starting a new business is exciting. Entrepreneurs have “passion” which is just what’s needed to energize everyone involved to get it off the ground. “Planning” becomes the least exciting and consequently the least enjoyable part of the project. As a matter of fact, in the planning process— you may even discover that the business you are about to launch is doomed from the start or just a bad idea. Financial and operational planning can indeed stop you in your tracks. And rightly so.
Problem is….this doesn’t sit well with “passion.” For some, it takes the air right out of their balloons. But I’m about to give you THREE GREAT REASONS to create that all-important Business Plan, even before you tell a single soul about what you would like to do and before you hire a single person to perform any particular job.
A written Business Plan is as important to the success of your new business as an architectural drawing is for a builder of a house. Without a plan, a builder won’t know how many “rooms” your house should have, how many levels, how big, how small, and whether it will fit the needs of the family who will live within the home, or whether the homeowner will be able to afford it. But unfortunately, although in these days of building codes and standards, a house cannot be built without a written plan, business owners can launch businesses without a business plan and they do it all the time. But most do so with a great deal of fear and trepidation.
REASON #1: CONFIDENCE
Business Planning mitigates this fear and replaces it with CONFIDENCE. Armed with financial data, market data, competitive intelligence, marketing strategy and operational framework, including a budget, an entrepreneur can confidently proceed, knowing that the plan may change, but that from the get-go, the road ahead is clear. Alternatively, making it up as you go along creates more uncertainty and stress than anyone needs. But ironically it’s this very fear that can create the excitement, it’s an adrenaline rush that you feel when you parachute out of airplanes and you are free-falling to earth. Now I’d never jump from a plane, but I’m suggesting that if you need that kind of stimulation in life, go ahead and jump, do zip-lining, skiing, or mountain climbing for that kind of rush. Starting a business is best done in a sober mood. And the confidence of “knowing” where you are going will spread to those who support you and this strong start will create….
REASON #2: MOMENTUM.
Many new businesses are plagued with the “start and stall” phenomenon that results from attempting to launch an unplanned venture. As new projects are started, the lack of information, data, finances, resources will rear its ugly head and smack you right in the face. With each setback, you’ll need to stop, get what you need, then pick up again and go on……start, stop, stall, start again. Those working with you may be distracted while waiting, and you may lose their attention or they may even take on other work, assuming the “stop” or pause is a “game-over” signal. On the other hand, with a Business Plan, the MOMENTUM you gain from having everyone involved armed with your mission, vision, goals, objectives, timeline, budget, and strategy….is an awesome power. Stopping this type of effort is like trying to stop a moving train. Only a major obstacle will distract you and everything will move more smoothly and progress quite quickly—as we all know, time is money. The ROI or return on your initial investment is something you may not want to postpone as you go through the stop-stall-start stages of an unplanned venture. And the principle goal of any business is to make money, so with CONFIDENCE and MOMENTUM, you are poised for….
REASON #3: SUCCESS.
Nothing is better for the future of a new business than those initial small SUCCESSES. With planning comes a high probability for success because the business plan has the research that contains the data or “proof” that you are on the right track, that there is a market for your idea or product, and that there are effective ways to price, distribute and promote what you have to sell in order to garner your anticipated share of the market that you defined in the plan. Market testing (also part of an effective business plan) is a great tool because a test will either give you that initial success that will fuel more CONFIDENCE and enable you to experience the CONFIDENCE—MOMENTUM—SUCCESS cycle once again, or it will give you the signal to adjust the plan to ensure SUCCESS by strengthening any weaknesses and addressing any unanticipated threats before they strike.
So if you are a passionate entrepreneur thinking of starting a new business, please stop and plan.
On the other hand, if you need a BREAK from business and would rather “chill” than work at creating a business plan, then please…. take a vacation and don’t forget to take your Ipod along to listen to Kenny Chesney’s song…..
“Want a towel on a chair in the sand by the sea
Want to look thru my shades and see you there with me
Want to soak up life for a while
In laid back mode
No boss, no polite, no stress, no dress code”
“No shoes, no shirt, no problems
Blues what blues hey I forgot them
The sun and the sand and a drink in my hand with no bottom
And no shoes, no shirt, and no problems….”
master the technology, conquer your market.