By Michele Schina, serial entrepreneur and CPA
There is no question that starting and operating a business is one of the most amazing things you can do in your lifetime. There can be a level of stress associated with it as well. Maybe the business is not the only priority in your life right now; perhaps you have self-funded your business; perhaps, you aren’t sure how to prioritize your to-do list; perhaps you are supporting your family. The list can go on and on.
Excelling as a business owner is a lot like being a great athlete. It takes a dream, focus, practice and persistence. It also takes a game plan, one that is written down and reviewed regularly, with regular updates, as needed, to help ensure clarity and focus on the strategies and actions that will help you achieve your goals.
Clarity is Powerful. Why do you need a written plan? The spoken word is too fluid; when one speaks, one has a tendency to ramble. However, when you write out your plan, you spend time clearly articulating the details that will help you (and others that are working on the business with you) succeed. You then keep your plan top of mind and review it regularly.
Here are 3 steps that we highly recommend as you set out to write your business plan:
- Imagine where you want to be three or five years from now. Your drive and the intentions that you set for your business are a direct result of what you want for you. That’s why it’s so important to get this written down and dumped out of your head. Find a quiet, uninterrupted space. Take 15 minutes for yourself. Grab a notebook and ask yourself these questions: What do I want for my life? What is my purpose? Who will I be with? Where will I be? How will I feel when I achieve what I want for myself? Write down whatever comes to mind. You can go back and make changes at a later time. Consider this a ‘brain dump.’ The important part of this exercise is to get as specific as you can.
- Take inventory of where you are now. Let’s say you want to be making a salary of $250,000 three years from now and you want to own your home. How do your business finances contribute to that? Where are those finances today? How much are you currently making? Are there additional ways to enhance your savings?
- What do you have to do today to bridge that gap between what you want to achieve in three to five years versus what you have now? How will you build your business? What steps will you take? This is what I will call your blueprint for growth to take your business to the next level. Be specific, where possible.
A written business plan that you use as your internal roadmap is key to up-leveling your success and bridging the gap between what you see for yourself in the future, and what you currently have today. Clarity causes consistency. Consistency results in greater confidence.
About the Author
Michele Schina is a serial entrepreneur and CPA. She is co-owner of Beyond Strategy Partners, Inc., a strategic consulting and leadership development firm, that specializes in developing business plans using the One Page Business Plan system methodology. She is the committee lead for NAWBO’s Next Gen Committee. She is a speaker and has developed an online training course, “The Financial Excellence System Course: The 6 Keys to Mastering the Financial Excellence Method.”