Yes, you read that right. It’s time to ditch that 30-page document and put it in the bin where it belongs. Professionals agree that writing a formal business plan is not the best strategy, most especially for SMEs that have limited time and resources.
Not having a business plan doesn’t mean you’re going to spend the year, running around like a headless chicken either. You still need some sort of plan, a clear vision, and the guts to run with it. Instead of slaving over a document that will gather dust on your desk, here are better ways to kick off the year.
Don’t wait until you’re ready
The most common argument for business plans is that it helps to secure money to boost your venture. But the truth is, investors couldn’t care any less for it. If you had that kind of money to spare, would you entrust it to someone based on figures taken out of thin air? Absolutely not.
Investors don’t put money into plans, they bet their money on people. You’d be lucky if they even skim over your plan. In fact, businesses that are already up and running (even without profit) are more likely to get funding than an idea on paper—just think Shark Tank! So get started now, experiment with your niche, and the money will follow.
The future is uncertain—deal with it
Business plans are all about making assumptions. You can try to predict how your customers will react to your product or service, but at the end of the day, things can go any other way. Don’t waste time guessing. Dive in and make changes as you go.
Experience is the best teacher. Fail fast and learn how to get back in the game. There’s no way to avoid making any mistakes. Talk and interact with your customers—that’s all the research you’ll ever need.
Uncertainty can be a good thing! Success stories often start with accidents that entrepreneurs don’t anticipate. Who knows, your next failure may lead you to a better idea than what you originally planned for.
Roll with the punches
How these plans are written have remained grossly unchanged over last few decades. Now take a moment to think of how society and technology has changed. Does it make sense to use something outdated to plan the future of your business?
Running your own business means taking risks and learning to face difficulties as they come. Noticed you’ve been getting abandoned calls after-hours? Switch from voicemail to a live answering service. Receiving more orders online? Beef up your website and make the customer’s shopping experience better. Make your business more agile by not restricting yourself.
Want to add a new product or service to your line? Go ahead. Looking to branch out to a different city? Go for it. Write your goals on a piece of napkin or make it up as you go– that’s up to you. What’s important is to stop hesitating and work on your business now.
About the author
Pia Rios is head of marketing for Alltel Australia. Her expertise in digital marketing, brand, and business communications has been key in helping businesses achieve their marketing goals and bottom line.