3 Prongs to a Successful Business Plan
So, let me show you a simple way to start your business engine with a master key that fits any business model. This master key is for you, not for outsiders (YOU have to buy into your own business plan, otherwise nobody else would). To visualize this, let’s imagine your business plan is one of those classic old fashion keys with three prongs to it.
The First prong of your Business Plan is called Vision. Do you remember your vision when you started this business? Is that still on the horizon? Unfortunately, most small business owners have forgotten this, and do can you guess why? Because of two main challenges: They are short in cash, and they don’t have enough help.
So what do they do? Often times, they have to deal with day to day chores, juggling the rent, payroll, insurance, and other expenses. Let me go back, there’s nothing wrong with this, because that’s part of small business thing. You have to be involved in every step of the process! But you need to look at your time and say, do I need to spend 5 hours to do the payroll when someone else can do it properly in one hour for less than $50? Can I spend that 5 hours doing what I’m good at or work at minimum wage to save my business. You get the picture? Most small businesses get tangled up with those threads that tied down Gulliver in the island of small businesses. Break loose and don’t be afraid of the little needles that may appear as spears.
To be consumed in small business affairs can blur your vision. When you are looking at your feet you can’t run as fast. Your Vision has to be always at the horizon—the farthest you can see; this is where you can keep your eyes on.
The next prong in your Business plan is Mission.
If vision shows what you are going to be, Mission shows what you need to do to get there. In other words, if your vision is to BE, your mission is to do things to get you there. To do, to be! In a way, if a kid wants to become a doctor, he or she needs to study hard, have a lot of interest in biology, and get into a good medical school. By studying hard, and some support, he or she will realize that dream or vision. In short, Mission is what you need to DO to BE what you wanted to BE. Remember Frank Sinatra’s Stranger in the Night, Do be do be do? To be is to do-- and vice versa.
Yes, Mission is about what you should do to get to where you are going. Yet, most entrepreneurs get so mixed with the mechanics of the business, such as bookkeeping, marketing, operating and so forth, that they don’t DO what they are supposed to be doing. Some go through a struggle to do their taxes just because they got some good tax software. Let me confess to you something, I got a great guitar a few years ago, and I love music, but I’m not going to start a band anytime soon! I wouldn’t even play at a party for free. I have to invest time or I have to hire a guitar player. Look at it this way. You will pay a plumber $200 for an hour work before you get under the sink and mess up the whole house, don’t you?
The third prong to your successful Business Plan is the process, because, busywork is one of the worst enemies of entrepreneurs. Busywork is like running on a treadmill; if you have intention to go 10 miles from point A to point B, that wouldn’t help you there.
Figure up a good procedure to take you a step by step in your mission to take you toward your goal. Procedures tell you the order of things. You can set some short term goals to show where you are going: If you need $120,000 extra in a year, set a goal of $10,000 a month and see if you can do it. Then set these benchmarks, and let your employees enjoy seeing what they have achieved.
Yes, I added a new thing to the mix (staff). You can’t do everything by yourself; you definitely want to have your staff connected to the vision, and know what they need to DO, they will care more about their work.
Let me paraphrase what General Patton once said: All you need to do is tell them what they need to do and by when, not how to do it. Let them surprise you.
Here’s the thing: You are the entrepreneur and hopefully you did not start the business only to be a boss, or a Godfather in there. You saw a need and you came up with a new device or a new way do things, you know how to generate income, to build a better future, and do all the good deeds you wanted to do. Let everyone around the assembly belt do what they know how to do and let the Quality Control check every step. Try to focus on the market needs in a big way.