by guest author Kathryn Hocking
A few months back I was in Sydney for a Mumpreneur conference. It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with clients and meet new ones. One of the consistent things I was hearing over and over was that the Mums knew they should have a business plan but had no idea what it was or how to go about doing one.
When I think about business plans I think back to university assignments and the business plan I had to do as part of my coaching qualification. These documents were traditional, boring and very, very long.
I don’t think business plans need to be like this and I’m sure most Mumpreneur’s don’t have the time! But I am here to tell you that they can be exciting, inspiring and quite short.
I’d like to give you 5 reasons why I think developing a business plan will help give you the clarity you need in your business in 2013.
1. Business Plans get you to create a vision
Business Plans provide you with a vision for your business. One of the first things you should do is write a statement of what you want your business to be in the medium-long term (3-5 years).
Once you have a vision you can then use it as “gate review” for any opportunity or project that comes your way by asking yourself the question “does this align with my vision” or “will it help me achieve my vision”?
2. Business Plans get you to set goals
A Business Plan gets you to set goals for your business. In my business plan template I get people to set goals for the next 12 Months. These goals then act as a motivator and a measure.
For example I might say “by the end of 2013 I would like 1,000 newsletter subscribers”. This measure will keep me focused throughout the year and I can break it down into monthly increments, for example an extra 800 subscribers over 12 months = 66 subscribers a month. At the end of the year I have a clear target to measure my performance against.
3. A Business Plan gets you to set initiatives
A Business Plan gets you to set initiatives to help you achieve your vision and your annual goals. Initiatives are like mini-projects in your business.
For example in 2013 one of my initiatives is learning to use Xero financial software properly so that I can easily run accurate financial reports. This initiative will save time come tax time (one of my annual goals is to be more efficient in my business).
Having a set of initiatives for the year is a really good way to stay focused and not get sidetracked by activities that are not aligned to your vision and goals.
4. A Business Plan helps prevent excessive impulse and ‘desperation’ spending
A Business Plan can also prevent expenditure that is not necessary. We have all been there, we’ve been offered advertising, we seen a course or a flashy program and in our desperation to succeed we have purchased it without objectively thinking “is this going to help me ahieve MY vision?” or ” Is this the right fit for where I am heading?”
If you know what your vision for your business is and if you know what your annual goals and initiatives are then the business plan again acts as a gate review against unnecessary expenditure.
When you are thinking about enrolling in a course, purchasing software or systems or other business expenditure first ask yourself the question – is this going to get me closer to my vision, is this in line with my initiatives? If you answer no then I would seriously reconsider it.
5. A Business Plan gets you to look objectively at your business
A business plan helps you to review your business strategically and analytically to see what is working well and what isn’t and how best to allocate your time.
In my business plan template I look at the current business model, potential new offerings, and offerings to discontinue to determine the best business model for the future.
Sometimes looking closely at what revenue and profit each offering is bringing in can be quite enlightening. This activity also helps you to focus your time and attention on the activities that are most fruitful in your business.
"But creating a business plan seems so hard! Where do I start?"
(from karen: this is the thing i hear so often from little biz builders!)
If you would like to do a business plan in more detail for 2013 check out The Mumpreneur Success Road Map which is a one month e-course that takes you through the process step by step and provides a template that you can use year after year. And best of all you can enroll right now!
Reverie Coaching provides life and business coaching for mumpreneurs; providing support, inspiration, and mentoring to help mums become successful Mumpreneurs.