Since you were in school, every business class taught you you’re supposed to have a business plan to start your business. Even your mentors and counselors told you you’re supposed to write a business plan. Well, I’m here to tell you they’re all wrong. Dead wrong. Want to Start Your Business in 2017? Don’t Bother With a Business Plan.
You’ve got this great idea that you don’t want to share too soon and you’re also concerned about ‘incubating’ it juuust right. It’s a GREAT idea and you want to make sure it gets developed RIGHT! Right?
How do you do that? How do you develop an idea AND keep it secret?
You pull out a keyboard (or pen and paper) and you start writing about it. You write down all the details that will take your idea from concept to perfection. And maybe later, with this business plan, you’ll get funded. THEN you can REALLY grow your business and quit you job and live out your dreams…
That’s exactly how it happens in the classroom and in the movies. Unfortunately, that’s not how it happens in real life.
Starting a business is a very fast-paced, expensive and sometimes messy process. If you’ve never done it before you’re in for an awakening of just how much it’s going to ask of you. And much of it has nothing directly to do with the product or service you’re offering; insurance, contractors, accounting, taxes… Starting a business will test you on levels you never imagined but the ultimate goal is to give your idea life. Above everything, your ONLY goal is to give your idea life.
You shouldn’t spend one minute on anything that is not directly related to bringing your idea to life.
What about the adage “fail to plan, plan to fail”? Isn’t a business plan a plan to succeed? Nope. A business plan is not a ‘plan’ at all. A business plan is the DOCUMENTATION of a plan written for someone else. Someone who aint even interested in you right now. By the time you get your idea to market things will probably look NOTHING like your original vision. So you’ll have to go back and rewrite your business plan, or should I say go back and re-document your path. And don’t EVEN get me started talking about pro forma financials…
A business plan expects you to have the answers, but in the beginning even YOU don’t have the answers. How are you supposed to write out a formal plan, which requires having answers about a journey that you haven’t embarked on yet?!? Your teachers tell you to guestimate (pro forma), I say don’t bother.
So how do you stay on track? Write a strategy document. A short, to-the-point, lightweight document that maps out the key elements for progress that will keep your vision on track but won’t consume your valuable time. You should be able to reference it as you progress and make adjustments on the fly. Nothing cumbersome, just enough to keep yourself honest. I’ll be posting a copy of the one I created so be sure to join our mailing list to be notified when its ready.
For some, the exercise of writing a business plan can feel rewarding but can actually be a comfortable place to hide. Writing it feels like a ‘legitimate’ task but it really enables you to avoid the things you SHOULD be doing. Let it go. Spend your time giving your idea life. A business plan won’t give you feedback, it won’t teach you about your market and it won’t give you experience. It’ll keep you busy though. It’ll let you avoid your fear of failure and it’ll keep your idea safe.
Want to Start Your Business in 2017? Forget being safe! Let it go. It’s the child you created that has to crawl, walk, then fly on its own. You created it, but its not yours. Not if you really want it to fly.
Let go of the need to protect your idea and replace it with the need to empower your idea. Get to work building!
Attacking a large venture can be intimidating and can create a need to over-prepare. The most important thing is to start. Don’t obsess over the perfect conditions, just start. The details can happen later.
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