If there was one constant during my first year in business, it was that little voice in the back of my head. That voice I became an expert in pushing away or momentarily satisfying with: it’ll be okay, you’ll wing it. You know the voice I’m talking about… the one that busies your mind at 3am, shouting: YOU NEED A SOLID BUSINESS PLAN!!
Finally, the penny dropped and I knew I had two choices:
- Continue winging it and hoping everything will be okay because up to that point, things had gone fairly well.
- Have the courage to do whatever it takes to draft a Business Plan that had all the right words and numbers staring back at me. A Plan that would help to see my dreams materialise.
You’ll notice I used the word ‘courage’ there. For me, it’s a big step to put my dreams down on paper and to prove why they’re possible and how I’m going to make them happen. I’m sure many entrepreneurs share this with me: I’m a real dreamer. When I was working for others, I still remember my very long commute each morning and evening (we’re talking 3 hours all up – on a good day!). I would stare out of the tram window and imagine myself doing something that wouldn’t just earn me a comfortable living – it would help others to transform their lives.
As I said, I’m the ultimate dreamer. There’s something rather intimidating about drafting your first Business Plan because while all of the dreaming in the world has you convinced your idea is great and financially sound, that Business Plan will not lie to you. The words on the page won’t mislead you and the numbers… well, as a wordsmith, I can’t say I’m a fan of numbers but at the end of the day, the numbers can’t lie to you.
What I also realised was that trying to fill out a blank template downloaded from a website, wasn’t going to work. I’d tried this approach before and failed dismally. So, just like an athlete who’s at the top of their game, I enlisted the help of Clive Enever, a business coach. Why? Because I knew his specialty lies in business planning and after our first chat, I could be sure he wouldn’t sugar coat anything and that’s exactly what I need.
Personally, I’ve gone through a range of emotions while working on this Business Plan and it’s important we’re all honest so that those experiencing similar things push on and don’t allow the stress to get to them.
So here are 5 emotions/thoughts/feelings I’ve had during the process:
- This thought: if I ever have to look at this Business Plan again, I think I’m going to be violently ill. Yes, this poor document has been through the wringer and I’m sure those living with me think I’m possessed as I tapped away at my laptop’s keys at all hours, re-writing and tweaking paragraphs continuously. Thankfully, I’ve settled on the version I have now.
- Then there’s that optimistic vibe: all of these words are just coming to me and flowing naturally. This is really going to work!
- Followed by the inevitable thud back down to earth. Um, I’m tired. Like really Doing and thinking about all of this in-between earning a living is hard and exhausting.
- And of course, that inevitable sinking feeling: this is a lot harder and complicated than I first thought.
- Finally, there’s this nagging question too: what if the numbers don’t tell me what I want to see? As someone who would rather sit through a horror film in complete darkness alone, at midnight on Friday the 13th as opposed to look at an Excel spreadsheet, you can imagine how much this thought eats away at me.
Sure, this is all pretty honest but the transformation I’ve felt within myself since starting my Business Plan, really is priceless. Despite all of the fears and the moments when my mind screams at me, ‘go get a normal job like everyone else!’, I’m so relieved to finally have a solid foundation that tells what my vision is, what it looks like and how I’m going to actually make it happen.
If you’re fearful about taking that first step, trust me, take the plunge and you’ll be in a far better position business-wise and mentally because of it.