The 3 WORST Reasons People Start a Business Without a Plan
Do you wish you had started that business you’ve been dreaming about for the last couple of years?
What’s holding you back?
Just think about where you’d be today if you had pulled the trigger this time last year. How many opportunities would you have created, how happy you would have been?
Ladies, you know the hard truth.
You can’t just WISH yourself into being an entrepreneur.
Let me tell you about my biggest failure as an entrepreneur…
I had a GREAT idea…(you’ve been there, right?) I created a series of Homework Boxes through my company Moms Made Easy to help women connect with their children in an educational way. My idea filled a definite need, had an enthusiastic audience, and I was able to manufacture them with very little start up cost.
After presenting to Home Shopping Network and securing an exclusive deal, I just knew I was on my way to bank-breaking success!
HSN didn’t sell products for children, but they believed my product was a great way to break into the market. My Homework Boxes were set to be a game changer.
But it failed.
I had no plan for scaling.
You see, I hadn’t created a business plan. I was so cocky. I just assumed that since I had a great idea, everything would fall into place. I had built other businesses before...but direct sales? It turned out to be a completely different type of business. Once the orders started coming in, I had no way of monitoring and projecting growth, scaling for demand, and holding the business to a profitable goal.
I was afraid to ask for help. And because of it, the business failed hard.
I want you to know that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed starting a business. I was afraid to create a business plan. I figured, I had already had success before. How hard could direct sales be? Once the sales start pouring in I figured “I can restructure and figure out the details later!”
The truth is this: 80% of new businesses crash and burn within the first 18 months of operation.
It’s time to stop wishing and create a strategy for success. I’m talking about sitting down and getting everything together to focus your ideas and map out what’s next.
A business plan.
The business owners that make it, the ones who continue to thrive no matter the economy or competition, do ONE THING better than everyone else…
A lot of people like to dream about business. But you’re here because you want to DO business. So why are you on the fence about making a business plan?
Over the last decade of coaching, here are the top three excuses I hear:
#1. “People just don’t understand. I don’t need negativity. I don’t want anyone to ruin my idea.”
This is dangerous. And common.
I understand how fragile and exciting new ideas can be...and how it feels when someone you confide in doesn’t ‘get it’.
The problem is this: Either they’re not on board because your idea isn’t great...or because you haven’t done a great job communicating it.
A lot of businesses start as ‘good ideas’. And just as many fail every year.
If your idea isn’t great...you’re setting yourself up for failure.
This is EXACTLY what happened to one of my clients, Samantha.
Samantha had an idea to create a stylish and specialized date calendar specifically targeted to moms. It had all of the templates a modern woman needed to coordinate the overwhelming schedules of her family’s activities, complete with color coded and preprinted stickers to make organization a breeze.
But her friends and family weren’t warm to the idea. They wanted to support her, of course, but they just weren’t excited about the idea...and couldn’t put their finger on “why”. Samantha felt hurt and, because of the negativity, the idea never got off the ground.
But here’s the thing: the idea wasn’t BAD.
Had Samantha done a little more research and created a business plan, she would have realized her concept was great, but her execution was off. Just months after Samantha gave up on her dream, an App hit the market with all of the same attributes she had worked on her for printed date calendar.
It wasn’t that moms didn’t need what she had created...it was the wrong format!
That’s where a business plan comes in. A business plan can turn good ideas into GREAT IDEAS.
A business plan brings focus to your idea.
It will hard numbers about what to expect and the insight you need to refine a working idea into one that works from the first day you open.
What if people ruining your fantasy because they just don’t get it?
It might not be your idea...it might be the way you’re talking about it.
A business plan can help with that, too, by acting as an amazing communication tool.
Solid business plans empower you to get the support you need to get started.
And, I’m not just talking about winning over mom.
A great business plan is essential when it comes to pitching out-of-the-box ideas to investors, potential partners, AND your CLIENTS! You will be able to refine how YOU communicate your idea so that people not only ‘get it’- they LOVE it.
#2. “It feels overwhelming. I just want to get started!”
Go-getters are nodding at this one. Enough with the paperwork and projections...let’s get some Facebook Ads up and start rolling!
Sitting down and creating a giant document that outlines your next few years of business can be daunting. I mean, how realistic is it really to even know what’s going to happen five years down the road? A LOT can change.
And, if you’re used to just “winging it”, creating a projected income statement or a competitor analysis sounds like an unnecessary waste of time. #Boring.
Here’s the thing: if you want success, you have to be able to adapt.
My client, Alyssa, discovered this first hand after two years of running a business focused on customizing kitchen appliances.
Alyssa’s business was technically a success. It was turning a profit and receiving a lot of positive feedback from her market. She was frustrated though. After two years of hard work, she still wasn’t bringing in enough money to quit her day job and work on her passion full time.
We worked together to create a business plan and discovered immediately that she wasn’t using her marketing and advertising budget wisely. Alyssa was focusing on attending costly trade shows and conventions to piecemeal orders together. It was eating up nearly all of her profits and not delivering the growth she needed to go full time.
Her business plan was a lifesaver. She adapted immediately, dropped the trade shows, and focused on targeting online sales. Now, she works full time as her own boss, makes a six figure income, and is on the verge of a partnership with a major appliance retailer as their exclusive “Customizing Queen.”
What a difference! And, it’s ALL because of her business plan.
This a counterintuitive secret great entrepreneurs know. A business plan doesn’t limit ideas, it gives them the fuel they need to survive long term. Writing a guide gives you the confidence to not only create a successful business- but know WHEN and HOW to make changes.
Your business will never exactly follow a plan, but having a plan forces you to look at all of the options. This gives you an edge when it’s time to break into a new market, outlast copy-cat competitors, and adapt to changing trends.
#3. “What If It Doesn’t Sound Professional? What If Everything I Write Is Wrong? What If They Think I’m Stupid?!”
Let’s stop worrying about “they” for a second and focus on YOU.
You have a great idea, don’t you? You’ve got talent or skill, some passion that drives this idea. You really believe people need this business, right?
Then forget about ‘them’. They are stuck on the sidelines waiting for someone like you to set the trend. YOU have what it takes.
Listen, first: imposter syndrome is normal. It shouldn’t stop you from doing the most important thing you need to do to succeed (i.e. making a plan).
Second: It’s delusional to think you have to have a degree in EVERY aspect of your business for it to work.
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, didn’t know how to sew. Joy Mangano doesn’t engineer the products she sells on HSN.
Successful entrepreneurs NEVER work alone! We all have a network of colleagues, professionals, mentors that we either ask for guidance or flat-out hire to do what we suck at.
Never taken an accounting class? Don’t know where to even begin writing financials for your business plan..it okay! Find someone who can help.
Can’t draw a stick figure to save your life? Much less a logo for your venture? There are plenty of people who can help you create a kick ass design for your brand.
Repeat after me: I don’t need to do it all.
No one is going to think you’re ‘less than’ when you ask for help.
That’s why working on a business plan is so important. It helps you identify where you need support BEFORE you start, saving you thousands of dollars and countless hours of frustration.
Planning is the entrepreneur’s best friend. A well-considered business plan is your best approach to thriving in today’s business climate.
Looking to get started? Huge programs and books about business planning can make it feel like if you aren’t already an expert you might as well give up.
Start small. Getting a solid framework in place will make filling in all the details of your business plan MUCH less overwhelming.
Ready to get started?
Download my free business launch checklist HERE. < Link to free download, Business Launch Checklist >
It’s an easy quick guide to help you get the basics in place, and set you on the path to success.