Rethinking Your Business Plan? Be Sure to Include This

If you’re wise, you’ll be rethinking your business plan right now. We’re in the midst of a significant disruption of business, and every business is affected.

Do you find yourself reacting to what is happening day-to-day because of all the uncertainty? Creating a new plan, instead of reacting, is a more effective way of managing this disruption.

That plan doesn’t have to be 5 years or even 1 year into the future. In fact, I recommend something quite short-term, 3 months, to plant you firmly in the present.

I’m guiding my own clients in development of their 3-month plans. I’ve created a 3-month plan for my business too. This planning creates an opening to look at immediate opportunities, and to be creative and innovative about new opportunities or pivots for your business.

The bakery with a hot table that now sells farm-fresh vegetables. The app developed by a biotech company to track new cases. The sharing of customer service folks with an online business to keep their people employed. All these creative pivots came out of short-term planning.

Are you stalled because you feel you have to have it all figured out and that doesn’t seem possible, even for the next 3 months? Let’s be real: this situation is new to everyone, and we’re all in the process of figuring out what’s next.

That said, it doesn’t mean doing nothing is the remedy. You can ask for good mentoring from an experienced business person, someone like me and others who’ve been through ups and downs.

You can also ask good questions of your clients and prospects. Be creative in how you could address what they need. Think and feel your way through your options.

It’s time to be resourceful, and planning will help put a clearer direction on your days. It’s the planning that is clarifying just as much as, if not more than, the plan.

A short-term plan doesn’t mean that you don’t look at the longer-term implications of your plan, especially financially. Do that too before you commit to your new 3-month plan.

But how do you create a new plan, even a 3-month one, that isn’t just one big reaction? You and your business could be sent far off track by a plan that just looks at what’s in front of you right now. It can make it even harder to recover.

That’s where a focus on your business’ impact comes in. Your Impact Purpose is a single statement that is high-level, overarching. It’s more than mission, more than purpose, even more than your Why. It’s a dynamic interplay between you/your business and the contribution you’re making.

Your Impact Purpose is where you and your business meet the world and contribute to making it better for all of us. Just what we need right now. And honestly? We always need that exchange between self and others.

Your Impact Purpose is rooted firmly in your values, so a focus on impact means you stay true to what’s important to you.

With your Impact Purpose as your guide, you can shift plans quickly if need be, and still stay on track. How your impact unfolds in your business doesn’t have to follow just one path. That’s why it’s such an effective focus in highly changeable times like these.

It can be scary to re-examine where your business is going. Running projected financials if trends continue may take some deep breaths to contemplate.

If your impact scares you, you may have some difficulty dealing with the rapid changes you are facing. I know my own fears of visibility kick up whenever I increase my impact.

You don’t have to let any of that stop you. This is an opportunity to reimagine what your future and the world’s future can look like.

When you do, you can take that opportunity to reimagine the role you can play as a leader. I find myself braver than I’ve ever been in being present to ways I can support and inspire you with my own leadership, even though I’m still afraid of being more visible. That may be true for you too: you’re also seeing ways to serve your clients, and doing it with courage.

Would you like to have a guiding light for your business right now? You can. Clarify your Impact Purpose, and use it to pull you forward.

The future may not be looking the way you thought it would. That doesn’t mean it’s not an opportunity for your business to have more impact. It’s an opportunity for you to lead in new ways.

When you sit down to rethink your business plans, what’s guiding you?

5 Keys To A Successful Mindset In Business

When it comes to having success in business, it might well be that your mindset has more to do with your success or failure than you realize. You also may have a negative mindset and not be aware of it. Here are some keys to achieving and keeping a successful business mindset.

1. Focus

Focus is definitely a key to a successful mindset. Continually remind yourself of what your business is about, what its purpose is, and why you’re doing it. Keep focusing on your goals by having them somewhere that you can see them.

2. Self-assessment

To achieve a successful mindset, you need to ferret out that negative mindset you may not even know you have. Here are some things to watch out for that may indicate a negative mindset:

  • Having excessive back-up plans and being over-cautious may mean you are doubtful about your success. Safety nets are understandable, but they can become a tempting escape when things are less than perfect. To be successful, you need to press through those imperfect times, not run from them.
  • Believe you deserve it. You may think that you really don’t deserve to succeed in business. You just aren’t “that type.” To be successful, though, you need to believe you are that type!
  • Uncertainty can be a manifestation of a negative mindset – you are not sure of yourself. There are resources out there; you can learn what you need to succeed. You just have to go for it.

3. Think Like an Entrepreneur

If you are starting your own business, it won’t work to think like an employee. You need to think like your own boss! This means the freedom and responsibilities that come with being the head of a business.

4. Believe In Your Product or Service

Whether you are selling something for a company or something of your own creation, you need to really love and believe in the product to succeed. If you are offering a service, you need to believe that you are offering something unique and excellent. Keep that mindset that says your product or service is absolutely worth it.

5. Not “I’ll Try”

If someone asked you if you plan to succeed in business, would you say, “I’ll try”? Then you have a negative mindset! You need to think more along the lines of “I will” or “I can.” Thinking “I’ll try” is a non-committal mindset that is not conducive to success.

Don’t Write That Business Plan!

Stop writing that business plan! You don’t need it. There are only two reasons to go through the hullabaloo of writing a business plan: To raise financing or to go on an ego trip.

What else is there? Well, there are internal studies of all sorts, some with great diagrams and lots of verbiage. But those aren’t “business plans”.

No. A “business plan” means Money.

Counselors at government offices and college campuses repeat the “do a business plan” mantra like it is real. It’s not real. It’s not even being honest. When I counsel prospective business owners, I ask two questions:

1. Where are you now?

2. What direction are you headed?

Those are not always easy to answer. But that is what you need to know before you build your business.

Beginning a business means that you need a direction, not a specific goal. Our world changes so rapidly that the future is a moving target. Being able to adapt to changing conditions and reassess your marketing virtually daily is vastly more important than saying “I need 100 customers a day to be successful.”

Most business owners do need to do background work on potential clients, or registering a patent, or any number of issues. And, yes, the ELEMENTS of a business plan need to be completed.

You do need to do basic research on your market, and know – really KNOW – that the market is there.

You do need to research your competition and pinpoint why your company is better.

You do need to run some pretty good numbers. Figure out how much it is going to take, and make sure you’ve got it.

You really need to keep on top of your market niche. There are so many changes in the marketplace every single day that no business person can afford to get lackadaisical.

But if you don’t need to write a business plan unless you plan on raising financing. If you are not planning on raising financing soon, don’t do it. You are wasting valuable time you should be spending on your business.

Putting together a business plan is different that just having all the information in your head, or in your desk drawer. The business plan is a persuasive document designed to convince lenders that you’ve got a great business. It is a sales tool. It is constructed with a nod to graphics and layout, as well as to information.

A business plan is not comprehensive. It can’t be. It should only be about 20-25 pages, and you just can’t put everything in that space. It is selective in its disclosures, those disclosures being basically in favor of the business. It is a document that tells lenders and investors:

~ Why this is a great business;

~ Who is on the team;

~ Why the market is strong;

~ Why the pricing is right;

and most importantly,

~ How the lender/investor is going to make money.

“Knowing” this yourself is one thing. Convincing a lender is another issue entirely. And that is why you write a business plan..