Planning a Business Without a Plan?

January 10th, 2009 by | Print

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How often do you find yourself driving for hours and suddenly realize that you don’t know where you are going or why you got in the car in the first place? What if you realized that you were making this same senseless journey every day and you were using a leased vehicle with significant financial penalties for going over your mileage? And gas was still at $4 a gallon?

 

Let’s do a quick calculation on what the average driver in the States spends on gas in a year.

 

12,000 miles / 25 MPG  =  480 gallons  x  $2.00/gallon  =  $960 for gas a year

 

What if you only had an annual budget of $500 for the same scenario? How many site seeing scenic drives would you plan on taking? How often do you think you would jump in the car and then figure out the why and where of your journey?

 

I bet that you would start planning your trips. If you didn’t, you would put yourself at high risk for wasting time and money and burning through your budget before you even made it through the summer. Do you like walking to the store during the winter where you live?

 

So if you agree with this logic, why would you launch your solopreneur venture without a plan?

 

Oh, you have a plan, but most of it is in your head, you’re too proud to ask for directions and you will figure it out as you go? Or is it because plans are only needed if you are looking to bring in investors and you plan on using your own money?

 

As a solopreneur, you don’t have a partner sitting shotgun navigating where to go or helping pay for the gas to get there. You could get an investor.

 

Here is an outline of what an investor would want to see in your plan:

 

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Description
  • Product and / or Service Description
  • Market Analysis
  • Marketing and Sales Plan
  • Financial Summary

 

Q: Which of these can you take out of your plan to save some time if you aren’t looking for other people’s money?

 

A: None. Do you like throwing away your money more than someone else’s?

 

As your clarity and definition of any of these topics decreases, your risk for failure increases – regardless of whose money is funding your venture. If you can’t define these aspects of your business to yourself, how can you define them for your customers?

 

I do believe that time is always of the essence. As your financial risk increases so should the detail in your plan increase. Don’t spend a month perfecting a plan for a $5 startup lemonade stand. However, if you stand to lose everything if your idea doesn’t pan out, I highly recommend that you take the time to detail your plan.

 

Having a plan BEFORE you start your venture is ideal. If you don’t have one, find a safe place to pull over and figure out where you are going, why you are going there, when you hope to get there, and how you are going to pay for it.

 

Otherwise you may end up out in the middle of nowhere with the needle on “Empty”.

 

All The Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide

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One Response to “Planning a Business Without a Plan?”

  1. Internet Marketing Says:

    Every time i come here I am not dissapointed, nice post

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