- THE MAGAZINE
Congratulations, you have your own business. The American dream! However, it’s sucking the life out of you. No time, not enough money, too many headaches.
Want to fix it? You can. You can change your business – and your life. It’s a matter of thinking new thoughts and taking aligned action. But you better get going. The older we get, the faster time goes. We are just too old to waste time.
I talked to a business owner the other day. He told me he wanted to grow his company to four trucks. However, he also told me he didn’t like to move too fast and change was difficult for him.
I replied: “OK. It’s taken you 25 years to add the second truck. You are 50 years old. At this rate you will be 75 by the time you add the third truck. Really?”
I wrote a terrific book called, The Bare Bones Biz Plan. It’s a six week program for creating a winning business plan and business. I’ve been thinking: What if you didn’t want to take six weeks? What if you wanted to power it out over a weekend?
One of the reasons I wrote a business planning book in the first place is because so many people approach me with a rapid fire description of their business concept. But I can’t get my head around it and their words are all over the place. So, I ask, “What have you got written down? What can you show me?” At that point they usually just point to their head. “It’s all in here.” Well, moving the ideas to paper, to a binder, to your iPad or computer, is the start of making it real. Thought begets reality. Thought moves to material form by writing it or typing it.
What if we condensed the process of business planning? From Friday to Sunday evening, you could think about and clarify your vision for your ideal business. You could lay out the inspired action that will move you in that direction. Profitably. Without draining your time and energy for no real reward. Without creating a pile of debt. And, you could hit the ground running on Monday.
Want to help me test this? Why not clear out a weekend and follow this game plan. Prove that you can take charge of your time and commit to 48 hours of focused thought and action. If you can pull that off, you will increase your confidence that you can make sweeping changes in your life. Ready to go?
Commit to a weekend in the next month. Write in on your calendar. In blood. And communicate to all who may come looking for you that you will be on a retreat and unavailable. Arrange to have dependant family members depend on someone else for the weekend.
Here’s your agenda for the weekend:
Friday evening: Go to the office supply store or check your office for the following items:
- A one-inch three ring binder. Get a nice one. Your biz plan is going inside.
- A hundred sheets of paper. (So you can create a few drafts of each exercise.)
- A set of write-on tabs to “tab up” your biz plan. Six or eight come in a package.
Note that you could create your biz plan on your laptop, or your iPad. Whatever works for you. You want to make the biz plan easily accessible and demonstrable. For instance, if you found yourself sitting next to Warren Buffet on an airplane, could you easily whip out your biz plan and go through it with him? That could be a “readiness meets opportunity” moment for you.
Now, go to the supermarket and stock up on food for the weekend. The idea is to have simple, healthy food at the ready so that you can prep and eat without a lot of fuss.
Rise and Shine. Think and Plan.
On Saturday and Sunday, flesh out the biz plan and put it in your binder. These are the essential elements of a sound business plan. Tab up your binder accordingly. And start writing!
- The Mission: Why should this business exist? What’s the point or purpose?
- The Elevator Speech: How can you communicate to your customers what problems you solve, differently and better than anyone else?
- Your Goals: What do you want to achieve this coming year? The next?
- The Organizational Chart: Who can help? What would they do for you?
- The Financial Plan: How will this business make money and how much? How much will you need to charge to make it work?
- The Marketing Plan: How can you get enough of the right calls, at the right time, from the right customers?
- The Top 10 Projects: What projects could you energize that would help you solve your most pressing problems or capitalize on your most compelling opportunities?
- The Executive Summary: How can you communicate all this in one page? To show to investors, team members, your spouse or partner. And to help you gain clarity about what you want and how you are going to get it.
One last thing. You can’t do this wrong. If you spend two days thinking and planning, only good can come from that. We are too old to let yet another day or another year go by as we stand helplessly on the sidelines of our own lives. One weekend could make all the difference.