The topic of having a business plan or, more importantly, a vision for your business is always on my agenda with clients. They are not necessarily the same thing. Your vision must come first and from there you can start to create the plan of how you are going to achieve it, and the monitoring systems to keep you on track.
I’m working with a young woman who is starting her own business and wants to do it right from the outset. She says she has observed it done well and done badly and she knows how she wants her own business to go.
The difficulty arises when we try to put things in action. As a start-up, I know she will find this a challenge. Not because she’s not able, no. She very definitely is. Our observer/critic is highly developed in us, but getting up and doing it yourself is quite another thing. She’s going to need a team around her so I will encourage her to recruit the best person for each role in his company, not form the role around the personalities she might attract.
She has involved me in the discussions about her new business and I have been very supportive and encouraging because I know she has a good business idea, a lucrative market, plenty of energy and the ability to work hard. She’s intelligent and a natural entrepreneur. But most importantly of all, she has the ability to ask others more experienced than herself for their help and advice and is open enough to listen and act upon it, tempering it always with her own strong sense of how things should be in her own business.
We are brainstorming the name of the new business and it’s at a very exciting stage. She has a strong core purpose and I will make it my first priority to ensure she has a vision of how her business will serve her life, not consume it.
And if you are already in business for yourself and it’s not going as well as it might, this visioning stuff doesn’t only work for start-ups, it’s essential for any well run business. It’s never too late to start to create a vision for yourself and modify it any time it no longer compels you.
How to do it? Take the day off. Get right away from the business and quite simply draw up a master plan for your life, then work out what would need to happen in your business for it to support you in this plan.
In your vision of your business, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What sort of a leader will you be?
- Would your business be bigger, or smaller?
- Would you work harder, or smarter?
- How can you put in place fantastic strategies for sales and marketing, customer service, management and money?
- Would you employ more staff, or streamline? How do you hire? Around the role, or around the personality of people already on your team? Should some hard decisions be made in this area? What is your people strategy?
- What’s right about your business, and what needs fixing?
- How much money motivates you?
- Where is your business based, do you work from there or manage from afar? What communications tools do you need to do this well?
- Could you replicate it easily for even greater profits?
- What is your exit strategy? Your core purpose? Your mission statement? Why are you doing it?
Is there an easier way which offers better returns on your investment, both of capital and time, and frees you up to spend time dancing, singing and swimming or whatever your own joys are. Family, friends and farmyard? Sailboat, fishing and dozing in a deckchair?
I offer these simple ideas of what an ideal life looks like and I ask… need it be any more complicated than that?
If you’d like some help with this sort of thinking/visioning/planning, why not book yourself in to spend a long afternoon here with me in South London in one of my Time To Think sessions?