Thursday, March 26, 2009

More Important Than A Business Plan

Ah, I love all the great resources posted about business plans. I've referred them and used them myself. Even though I'm a marketing professional, I'm not about to reinvent the wheel unnecessarily, nor recommend my clients do it.

But what is a business plan for? In my opinion, it IS to get financing. Now, you absolutely must write down your goals and have a plan in writing. You must research and understand your business today, your potential customers, your opportunities, your challenges, etcetera, and the business planning PROCESS can do all that for you. But there are more useful documents for YOU to use for your business once the business planning process is complete.

I personally adopt a very visual approach and create maps of my entire business, and I do the same for every project I undertake. From goal setting to strategic plan to execution to evaluation... it's all diagrammed in a one page picture that is a snapshot of what I'm doing, why and how I'm going to determine the success. For most small business owners, who probably are not seeking capital, anything that they will ACTUALLY look at again once the planning done is what they need for themselves. Why? Because a plan is your map, it is your GPS. Without it, you might know where you are and you might know where you want to get, but you will not know how to get there without getting lost.

So, when it comes to planning... OH YES you need a plan. And I hope you have more than instincts and your doodles to rely on to help your business grow. But between napkin notes and business plans, I hope you also adopt something more highly functional for your day to day planning. Something that gets you motivated everytime you read it, everytime you feel overwhelmed, everytime you feel lost and confused about why you started your business in the first place. Your map shows you a clear picture of sanity amongst the challenges of the rest of your life.

I'm excited to meet a client tomorrow and show my map diagram approach. From diagrams I leap into concise, three page documents. Three pages for my entire marketing plan overview. Then three pages for each tactical element of my planning efforts. I love my pictures and three page plans.

If you'd like to learn more about my approach, feel free to complete my online survey (the purpose of it is to help me guide my own business direction... my company is new and I'm still sorting out some aspects to serve my women small business community the best way I can... the survey is guiding some key decisions). By completing the survey, you earn a free half hour, absolutely NO obligation consultation to learn more about my services and to discover my unique and fun approach to what would otherwise be the 'dreaded' planning. Hey, I'm creative too... in my own "I can't sew or knit to save my life" kind of way.

Click Here to take survey

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