Are You on a Road to Nowhere?

Are You on a Road to Nowhere?

A friend of mine posted the above photo on Facebook and I just had to share it.

And it immediately reminded me of this:

“If you stay on the road you are on, you will end up where you are going.”

Chinese Proverb

So I gotta ask you: what road is your business on? Every business, no matter what size, has to have a plan. Or a road map, if you will.

Even if your office desk is your kitchen table (hey, that’s where I started!), you still need to know where your business is headed and then create action steps to actually get you there.

But here’s the sad fact: Only about 1 in 10 solo entrepreneurs have prepared a written business plan or goals. (And by now you do understand that as a private practice owner, coach or consultant, you are an entrepreneur, right?).

I believe that the #1 place to start building a sustainable and successful business is by having a strategic plan that you can follow like a virtual blueprint.

Here as just some of the questions you need to be able to answer for your business:

  1. What is your business all about?
  2. Who is your ideal client?
  3. What are the challenges and struggles that your business solves for them?
  4. What tangible goals are you heading toward; in 30 days, in 90 days, in 6 months? (This could be # of new clients, launching a program, finishing a product, etc.).
  5. What are your income goals, short and long term?
  6. What tasks and actions are required, and by when, to accomplish these goals?

Having a written plan gives you clarity and focus. And therefore you will actually accomplish your goals faster and more easily. Not only that, it gives you measurable objectives so you can evaluate how your business is doing. If something isn’t working as you’d hoped, how can you adjust the plan?

And, perhaps most importantly, having a tangible vision will give you enthusiasm and drive to take your business to the next level… especially at those times when your facing a new challenge or stretching out of your comfort zone.

An “Official Business Plan” can sound kinda ominous. So let me bust a few myths about them right now:

MYTH: I have to buy expensive business plan software before I start.

TRUTH: I started with a yellow legal pad and a pencil. Any word processor will do.

MYTH: My business plan needs to be perfect (and 40 pages long with a nice cover) before I can move forward.

TRUTH: This is a living, evolving document that will change as you and your business grow. So don’t try to “get it right”, just make a start now.

MYTH: I have to do everything on my plan or else I’m a failure.

TRUTH: This is a road map.  And sometimes there are detours and side trips. Use the “80/20” rule and try to achieve 80% of your goals.

MYTH: My friends and family are the best sources for feedback on my plan.

TRUTH: As well meaning as they may be, those close to you are usually not the best way to get honest, objective guidance. There are books and websites with info on small business plans and a coach or mentor can be invaluable.

Here’s my challenge: take 30 minutes to sit down and begin to craft a business plan for yourself. And if you already have a plan, dig it out and evaluate how the plan is going and make adjustments to make sure that you end up where you want to go!

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