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Your Not-a-Business-Plan “Plan” for your Business

The good news: If you’re starting a business with your own green, you don’t need a fancy schmanzy business plan.

The bad other news: I know you’re a rebel & a non-conformist, but if you want this thing to happen, you still need a freakin’ plan!

What you should know about business plans

In Part 1, I asked if you can really have a business plan without writing a…um…business plan.  You should definitely read that & come back to this. But, if you’re too eager for the how-to, here are the Cliffnotes from Part 1:

  1. Don’t crank out a factory-made plan and think you did any kind of planning.
  2. Typically, the only time you need a formal business plan is when you’re asking for money.
  3. Even though you don’t need a glossy, grammatically correct plan, you still need to know how all these moving parts will fit together.

Don’t Panic

This so-not-a-business-plan “plan” is the common sense approach to starting your business.

You may already have some of this stuff scattered around your world.  Until recently, mine lived in 2 different spiral notebooks, on the back of an envelope, a few pieces of folded & well-loved paper, in Evernote, in Google Docs and in

At some point, I decided it was easier to consolidate it all.  But the point is, you don’t have to.

This should be painless & organic. It should give you forward momentum.  So, do what feels natural to you whether that looks like my organized chaos or more like something that’s actually organized. Words, pictures, stories, bullets, do what works for you.

Enough with the chit chat. Let’s get to it!

What everybody oughta know about their business

1. Why?

What is the purpose of all of this?  I’ve actually written a whole e-book about creating a family-centered vision for your business because this is such an important step.

Think about your “why.”

Starting a business is hard! And stressful. And overwhelming. And humbling.   All of this begs the question:

Why in the world are you doing this to yourself?

What would you like the end result to be?  There is no “right” answer here, but the wrong answer is “more money.”  If that’s your answer, then ask yourself one more question:

Why do I want more money?

Is it to have the freedom to home educate your kids? To travel with (and without) the kids? To have a less stressful, more well-blended life?

Aside from money, what would you like to achieve?

A simple, independent life?  The respect & admiration of your peers? A legacy for your kids?

You don’t have to nail down the perfect answer today, but do give this question some considerable brain time…and heart time.

2. What?

What product or service are you going to offer?  And, just as an FYI, most people who’ve tried it have found that you can’t pay the bills by selling warm fuzzy feelings.

If you’re going into business, you need to have something to sell. If you’re starting a non-profit, you need to have something to offer clients.

3. Who?

Who are the people that will buy what you’re selling.  Did you see the bold italics there? Really, how could you miss them?

I’m not talking about the people who will totally “get” you. Or the people who agree there’s a need for what you’re selling. Or the people who think what you’re selling is really neat.

You want to know who will actually open their wallets and give you some of their hard-earned cashy money for your product or service?

Even though you’re not in business to make money; if you’re not making money, you will go out of business.

4. Where? x2

  1. Where will you find these people who will give you said cashy money?
  2. Where will you set up shop? With a website? With a physical storefront? In your basement? Where?

5. When?

When will you do this? What’s the timeline?  Read this to see how to develop a simple strategic plan (which is biz-talk for creating a step-by-step process that will take you from here to there).

6. How?

How are you going to make money?

Um, don’t look at me like that. Seriously. How? You’d be surprised how many people forget to consider this part.

I’ll repeat:

Even though you’re not in business to make money; if you’re not making money, you will go out of business.

7. How much? x 4

  1. How much is it going to cost to get started?
  2. How much is this business going to cost to operate every month?
  3. How much can you expect to make in sales?
  4. Is that enough to cover your costs and pay the bills?

These are obviously some of the most important questions to ask. You don’t have to use a calculator or a spreadsheet. You can make intelligent guesses about these numbers and do the math in your spiral…or on the back of an envelope.

This is also, hands-down the scariest for almost every single person out there.  And not because the math is so hard. It’s not.

We avoid this because, once we have numbers, it all becomes so real.  They might break our favorite rose-colored glasses!

Which is why…and this happens way too often…people chose to go forward with blinders on not knowing the answers to these questions, and at a huge risk to their family’s quality of life.

But, what if they didn’t?

What if they did the numbers before they were drowning…and found out this idea of theirs ain’t so great?  How many tears, mortgages and marriages would that save?

Sure it sucks to find out the numbers suck. But it’s not bad news at all!

It just means you were looking down the wrong path to get to your “why”. Keep your why and keep looking for another path. You’ll find the right one.

99 and 3/4 percent guaranteed!

Be sure to read Part 1:Can you really have a business plan without writing a…um…business plan?


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  1. Can you really have a business plan without writing a…um…business plan? | BrainyFeet - June 15, 2011

    […] So, be sure to tune in next time for Part 2: Your So-Not-a-Business-Plan “Plan” for your Business. […]

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