I’m going to let you in on a little secret:
We’ve never written a formal business plan for Elysian Fields.
This might seem like the proverbial cobbler whose children have no shoes ( or however that saying goes ), however, while we have never written a formal business plan, we actually plan the business at least 4 times a year. Near the end of every quarter, I block off time to retreat for at least a day or two, where I step back and look at how things are going, and plot the quarter ahead. This is usually when new ideas are hatched, services are born or adjusted, and I ensure we have a clear plan for my team to execute.
I hear all the time from successful business owners, who have steady revenue, are growing, and feel a bit haunted by the fact that they’ve never written a Business Plan. And the conversation I end up having 95% of the time is something along the lines of:
Please don’t bother.
Confused yet? Here’s where you might be like, hold up Strathmann, didn’t you just say you plan four-frickin-times a year? But you’re telling me not to write a business plan?
There are some very specific, and very important, circumstances under which you absolutely need a diamond sharp, polished, formal Business Plan with a capital B, capital P. They are nearly all related to raising capital, seeking investment, etc…
Everyone else needs a strategy, to nail down plans to match that strategy, and to understand how to execute that plan. You need a living, breathing roadmap to your unique path to success and growth and to feel confident in the foundation you’ve built for yourself. And you need to know how to repeat that process, if not four times a year, at least once a year.
What I’ve found over the years is that the idea of a capital B, capital P Business Plan can get in the way of learning strategy and understanding how to execute strategy as a repeatable process. It’s easy to become obsessed with the document itself, and miss the bigger picture of why you’re planning in the first place. Most of the components of a formal business plan need to be included in your planning:
- Do you have clearly articulated Mission / Vision / Values?
- Do you understand who your best customer/client is and how best to connect with them?
- Do the things/services/products you sell make sense, work together, and serve your customer?
- Do you have your revenue and expenses on lock down so you can both manage cash flow and plan for growth?
- Have you articulated your long and near-term goals, and do you know how to turn them into action?
These are not questions that you answer once and call it a day. Your business will change, the market will change, your customer will change, which is why you need to understand how these elements form the foundation for your business. How often you revisit these question and engage in the process of planning depends on how growth-oriented you are, and, how well your business is doing.
If you feel uneasy about your revenue, or confused about how to connect with customers, or unsure if what you are selling makes sense, those are signs that it’s time to dig in.
If you read this felt in your gut that you don’t know the answers to all of the questions above, then I’m excited to tell you about the new name and update to our signature business development course. It’s one of the best ways to nail down all the core elements of your business, whether you’re just getting started with a solid idea, or whether you’ve been in business for awhile and are long overdue to set your foundation.
Formerly called Business Plan Boot Camp, now called: Basecamp: Building your business foundation.
What we’ve essentially done is bring the name and curriculum up to speed with our evolved approach to the course. We’ve dropped the “business plan” bit in the name as well, to reflect a foundational, strategy and skill-building approach that we’ve honed in the past 4 years of teaching Boot Camp.
So, instead of writing a mission statement because it says so in the Business Plan Template Table of Contents, we’re going to show you what a mission statement does in and for your business; how it creates a foundation for all future decisions you will make, especially as the decisions get bigger and tougher.
We’ll do the same thing will all the core components you need to consider for your business, and then wrap the process with a solid framework for execution.
After four years of teaching this course, I can tell you it’s a game-changer for participants.
We start April 12.
PS. Applications are open through April 7, but we have limited space ( and have pre-sold to a couple people who were chomping at the bit ); if you’re considering it, I urge you not to wait to apply. There’s no obligation to apply, we’ll follow up to confirm payment once we ensure we know we can support your success.
I’m also happy to chat about whether it’s a good fit for you. Drop a line and we can schedule a time to talk.