Just recently, I had an interesting call with Jill Crossland, Business and Life coach, on the myths and usefulness of writing a business plan. She gave me permission to print the outcome of that call. Perhaps this will help you to think differently about why you are going to all that work to write a plan!
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs didn’t have one, mine is non-traditional, some sources state that it should ‘conform to generally accepted guidelines regarding form and content’ and it is rarely possible to get funding without one. I am of course talking about business plans.
Business planning has become its own industry; books, courses and entire websites dedicated to telling you how to prepare one. In today’s fast paced, ever changing business world what is its value? Some fledgling entrepreneurs never get their business off the ground as they struggle to get their concepts down on paper within the guidelines set by governments and financial institutions. Others work so hard to stick with the plan that the completion overtakes them in motivation and resourcefulness.
This is in direct opposition to the very definition of an entrepreneur, as a person who is forward thinking, innovative and willing to be somewhat fearless.
I don’t usually work with a business at its planning stage instead I choose to coach entrepreneurs whose businesses have plateaued or are not reaching their potential. At some point though the business plan usually comes up in our discussions and I often ask the client to go back even further to that initial scrap of paper that gave birth to their business as that is so often the best place from which to reassess and rework a stuck company.
I did ask trusted colleague Personal Business Manager, Pamela Chatry for her opinion on how a business plan can work for today’s female entrepreneur.
“Traditional business plans are at odds with women and their values. They don’t speak to them.” Pamela therefore works with her clients on something she calls a “Living Business Plan”. This plan is more fluid and less structured but it does create the reality of doing business in today’s world. It incorporates vision, strategic alliances and possible best & worst case scenarios.
Pamela recommends that her clients check in with their plan once a month and that their financial advisor be included in the process. Key components such as examining customer base, marketing and a review of the financial situation can be examined and decisions made on what is working and what needs to be adjusted. From there the entrepreneur can return to her business with confidence and renewed passion for what she enjoys.
If your business is feeling stagnant or weighed down by the constraints of a rigid and old fashioned business plan; hire a business coach, manager or consultant. Find one who shares your values and takes the time to listen to you. Together you will be able to create the type of prosperous & vital business that you had intended it to be.