The Living, Breathing Business Plan
First off, I’d like to begin by saying that it is a pleasure to a guest blogger for this site. I feel like I have learned a lot about business planning over the course of the last couple of years, since I begin this quest to start my own business. I feel honored to share any words of wisdom that I have gained from my personal business pursuit.
I went into this business planning with no experience in business plan writing, and I have been mentored by amazing teachers to get me to where I am today. I have learned a lot through my own experience and allowing myself time for the plan to marinate and evolve into what it was meant to be.
I have also learned that you don’t have to be an expert business person to write an expert business plan. It takes commitment and belief in your ideas and grand vision. Ultimately, it takes the great act of taking the leap and working at it daily, weekly even, until it is finished. One line, one paragraph, one day at a time. Eventually, you will have a finished plan in front of you.
But, is it really ever finished? I believe through my own journey, that I am constantly learning and growing and my business plan grows with me as I continue to nurture it and believe in it. I am my own audience and it acts as my own personal road map with the knowledge my road can change into a different road at any time during my travels.
Why is it Important to Update Your Business Plan as it Grows?
I believe that every entrepreneur would agree with me that this IS a constant learning and growing experience. You learn as you go. I believe as you grow, and your business grows, you need to update your plan to match that growth. There is a lot of trial and error in building a business. Things don’t usually go according to plan. We could create the perfect business plan, and we will find out later that a lot of things we had planned for, didn’t happen. Or things we didn’t plan for did happen.
I think in order to have a successful plan you must be willing to move away from it. Allow for your ideas to marinate, give it time. I believe it is important to allow for the ebbs and flows that come with establishing a true foundation.
The world will tell you need to be successful overnight, or you will fail. Not true! I gave myself permission to slow down and to trust in the timing of things and you should, too. Otherwise, you will be overwhelmed and most likely throw in the towel.
You must be able to adapt to change within your business and within yourself and update your plan as necessary. I believe we will really know when it is time. Quiet down, take the time to ask the questions and write down your ideas, and your plan will form into something of substance to offer your consumers.
What Are the Dangers of Sticking to Your Original Business Plan Instead of Updating?
If I had stuck with my original business plan, I would not have been successful.
Some things that I may have believed in while I was writing my original business plan, I do not believe in anymore. Or, better said, they are no longer part of my vision. As I change, my palette changes. I see a bigger, broader picture, and I continue to break down more of my own walls and limitations.
My business plan changes with me. If I am creating from a place of authenticity and deep connection to myself, then I have a higher chance of being successful. It is the only way I believe to be successful. Like I said earlier: I am ultimately my own audience. I adjust my plan according to my own tastes and preferences. I create from there and then that is what connects the right audience to my business in order to be successful.
Sometimes, if you plan too much, it doesn’t allow for you to take action. You must adapt and grow to consumer demand. Sometimes, the original plan just doesn’t work. This is a fast paced world, and things are constantly evolving, moving, morphing, and becoming. If we can adapt to change and recognize that nothing is permanent, then I believe we will be successful.
Danger of Not Updating Your Plan:
Business Failure: If you aren’t adapting to consumer demands, your business will fail.
Profit/Revenue Loss: Numbers change constantly. You have to be willing to adapt your plan accordingly to numbers. I have learned that numbers never lie.
Consumer Loss: If you fail to update your business plan, according to what audience you would like to attract, you are in danger of losing your audience/consumers.
Slowed Growth / Development: You risk the steady, consistent growth that comes with a business if you aren’t consistently planning and nurturing your plan.
How Often Should You Adjust / Rewrite Your Business Plan?
There is no set rule about how often you should update your business plan. I write whenever I have a new idea, or direction for my business. You should be constantly writing down your ideas so they don’t get away from you.
I know my ideas can get out of hand and overwhelm me at times. By writing them down on paper, I can see which ones are good to keep and move forward with in my plan. I use this process to rein myself in and make sure that I stay in the attitude of “less is more.” I like simplicity. I believe the simplest things are the most complex and that is what makes it beautiful. You don’t need unnecessary re-writes or updates if they take away from that simple complexity.
I also write down dreams if I feel inspired during sleep, or if I have an idea that pops into my mind during the day. I keep a notebook handy because I have learned that I am inspired in spontaneous moments. I am always willing to re-write or implement something new in any given moment. I never force inspiration. It just comes. I believe we need to look up at the horizon while also looking down at our plan for direction.
Failure Drives Success
In conclusion, I am still learning every day. My business is completely different from my vision when I originally came out of the gate. I have re-branded, re-written, and implemented better ideas. It has been with me, by my side, for three years now and at times it seemed like I would never get to that place where I felt it was right. Then, one day, I woke up knowing what I wanted it to be. I even won the Women Entrepreneur of the Year award with my first business plan.
It was a great plan, but I changed. I am excited to share my business with the world in the coming months and I am very proud of it. It has taken a lot of patience and loyalty to it. Like I said, I am no expert, but I have learned a lot about what it takes to have a great plan.
It takes action.
It takes passion.
It takes a lot of belief and faith in what you are doing, even if nobody else believes in it with you.
You might feel like it is about to fail when, really, you are right on the verge of success. Get out of your own way. Failure drives success. I am grateful for all my failures up to this point, because they are what will make me successful.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I have been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” –Michael Jordan
Check out my upcoming website: Sweat & Soul! “How much sweat does it take, to get to the soul of who you really are…..?”
Abbey Daw has been practicing yoga for sixteen years and professionally teaching for thirteen years. She is also the owner of Sweat & Soul LLC and received the Women’s Business Center’s Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2015. Abbey is also a certified level two Reiki specialist. In her spare time, Abbey enjoys spending time with her partner and friends, drinking coffee, listening to live music, writing, cooking and hiking in the beautiful mountains of Utah. She hopes to write and publish a few books one day.