In This Episode
One of the things we fight in our day jobs as business coaches is the never ending poor advice given to small business owners. Perhaps the biggest offense with this advice is folks talking about business plans. It might sound something like, “All you need is a business plan to get started.” Well intentioned advice. But what does this really mean?
If you Google the term “business plans” you will be inundated with millions of search results. The most popular results offer all kinds of free business plan templates that are simple fill in the blank forms. Almost reminds me of Mad Libs where depending on who fills it out the results will be significantly different. Even these plug and play templates can be a bit overwhelming and confusing. I mean, why does someone need to write a business plan anyway?
If you’re just starting out, we usually like to start with our 3 Circles to provide a framework for a business idea. The 3 Circles that summarize any organization are:
- Product/Service: start here with having a good definition of what your Product/Service is and what it provides. We’re constantly amazed at how many people looking to start a business cannot clearly describe their Product/Service.
- Marketing/Sales: once you get the Product/Service defined it’s time to figure out who the Market is for this thing. Who’s going to buy your Product/Service? This is known as your Target Market. What do you know about your Target Market? Why should they buy your Product/Service vs. the competition? How are you planning to get in front of your Target Market? Are you creating a new Market or is there competition? These and many more items have to happen before you get the chance to have your first Sale.
- Administration: once the Sales start rolling in is when this next circle becomes critically important to keep track of all the activity and who is doing what. This includes things like your People, Numbers, and Planning. But you don’t start with this until you have a better definition of the first two circles.
We bring this up to help you understand where you should be putting your time and efforts when first starting out. Prioritizing is a key success factor for most small business owners. Our 3 Circles provides a simple framework for what to focus on to start.
Once the simple framework of the 3 Circles has been addressed, then you can start pulling together a more formalized business plan. Instead of using some fill in the blank template, we suggest folks use our 7 Keys to Success as a guide for what to be working on and helps you focus on the Keys that need the most love and attention. So if you’ve been told to pull together a business plan, head over to our 3 Circles and 7 Keys to Success pages (see links below) and start working on the right things vs. spending your time trying to format a pie chart in a business plan where you aren’t sure what to fill in first or what’s most important. Instead, we’ll get you focused on things to help you better organize your thoughts and prioritize your actions!