Monday, November 10, 2008

Mini Business Plan

As long-time readers know, I am a believer in the value of
planning. I am convinced that any plan is better than no
plan, and that most small businesses do not spend enough
time deciding where they want to go, or grow.

Sometimes, I am told people "don't know how" to write a
business plan
! And, from a banker's perspective, that
might be true. But these same people know how to plan a
vacation, a celebration or a party. You can do this!

Begin planning for next year by reviewing this year. Start
with what you earned, and how many customers you served.
Examine your data for patterns and ask questions. The data
may be in your accounting program, in your files, or in
your appointment book, but you do have what you need to
begin planning for next year. Use that data!

Next, dream a little. How much money would you like to
make next year? How much do you want to work? Considering
your clients this year, do you want more of the same, or do
you want to make some changes? Simply decide what you want
for next year.

Then, the part that terrifies most of us. Decide how you
will make it happen. Do you need to raise your fees, do
more marketing, or learn new skills? Do you need to hire
an assistant, or up-grade equipment? Do you need a coach
to mentor you?

Planning is a three-part exercise. Start with what you
have, choose some targets for next year, and devise a plan
for getting there. Yes, you'll make mistakes, and of
course nothing will go exactly as you planned. That's
called life. It is NOT an excuse to avoid planning.

A plan will focus your time and energy. Any plan, even
notes on a scrap of paper, will give you a sense of
direction. Before the year gets away from you, write a
plan! A year from now, you'll be glad you did.

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