Don’t Write a Business Plan
We’ve all heard it – Do you have a business plan?
Before you go into business/apply for a loan/negotiate a lease/pitch suppliers/obtain partners/sweep the floor you should write a business plan.
I hate that. Really, it’s like a freezing cold shower.
In my rational mind, I know it to be true – the business plan is the FUNDAMENTAL starting point. It makes your concept official, fleshes out your idea, makes you accountable to something, forces you to think about the things you’re SUPPOSED to think about before dedicating time, money, brainpower.
BUT, it takes the new venture euphoria, weighs it down and says – Phhhhf! Way more fun to design the new business cards! Be careful with this euphoria – it drives the blood, sweat, tears, vast amounts of debt, sleepless nights and innovation that differentiate between success and failure. To plan your euphoria is such a downer. It’s like asking someone to draft a prenup on the third date. I don’t want to mitigate risk; I’m just trying to be in love here!
Oh, and by the way. This applies to you too – intrapreneurs or entrepreneurs already in business. If you’re here, it means there is something you’d like to improve and chances are it stems back to the fact you don’t have a plan. You could hire me to come do this for you or you could start here.
I’m going to give you an escape route out of this dreaded chore. Don’t worry, it doesn’t involve a 60 page template.
How to Not Create a Formal Business Plan
Buy a five subject notebook, the kind you would buy for a schoolkid. It should be dedicated to this task. Otherwise, I give you no other restrictions – pink, unlined, embossed. Doesn’t matter. Label the dividers:
The purpose of this notebook is to capture all the idea bees that have been swarming around in your head into a usable third dimension format. It doesn’t have to be pretty or formal – you can add images, magazine cut outs, staple computer printouts in there (or use the pockets in each divider if you splurged), doodle, write illegibly. It doesn’t matter what kind of notebook you choose. Any one will do.
STOP OVERTHINKING IT! You’ve already groaning inside and filing this away for later when you’re making money/official/been doing it a year/have an actual shop/traffic/sales because it SOUNDS like it’s going to be painful. C’mon now, people, as Nike says, JUST DO IT. And yes, that was probably in their business plan. Once you have the notebook, we’ll talk about how you can make that into something that resembles a plan. The only way to do this step wrong is not to do it at all.
Because I know you want the easy way out, I created a formal version of this notebook (including hints and charts) in 8.5 x 11 or book size. You can buy it now and it will appear at your house in a week or so. In addition to the sections outlined here, I’ve also included a when, how much and next steps section that may be helpful.
That’s it. Step one. Get a notebook. Stop worrying what’s going to happen in step two.
Once you HAVE a notebook, move on to step two.