No Excuses | No business plan?

Part 3

How business plans actually hold back many entrepreneurs

You don't need a hundred pages of plans before you start building a business.

There are a lot of reasons you haven’t started your dream business yet.

Are you like lots of "wantrepreneurs" and think you need a seventy-page business plan in order to build a business that actually succeeds?

Well, you don't.

I’ve experienced the following scenario few times and seen it a few hundred times:

You’ve got a great business idea. Your gut tells you it’s going to be successful. And you’re totally amped up about it.

But you don’t have a lengthy business plan.

And how can you possibly quit your day job on a gut feeling? Shouldn’t you have an in-depth plan that covers all the possible ways you might screw up as an entrepreneur? A plan that talks about growth strategies, acquisition costs, and an exit strategy?

Blah.

No.

How business plans hold many entrepreneurs back

Believe it or not, this mentality is common among budding entrepreneurs.

They think the best place to start is by drafting a huge business plan with graphs, outlines, and an “executive summary.”

Most people don't even know what the heck an executive summary is—they just found some stupid article online that says their business plan needs one.

So they work for years on building a business plan…instead of building a business.

Don't waste years building a business plan instead of building a business.

They fret over every little problem that could come along. They change their business structure ten times. They worry about getting the phrasing right and the wording perfect.

And if you are planning to pitch your company to a huge group of venture capitalists, then maybe that’s a good route.

But if you’re trying to build a self-sustaining small business that allows you to live the life you want to live doing work you love to do, you need to stop stressing about a business plan and just knock it out in one day.

What I’m not saying, and what I am saying

I’m not saying that I think business plans are unimportant.

Business plans, when done right, are a great launchpad for entrepreneurs. They help us think through possible loopholes in our business and can help us reach success more quickly.

If we do them correctly.

So I’m not saying business plan are evil.

What I am saying is that, if writing your business plan is keeping you from actually building a business, then it’s time to finally jump that hurdle.

Do it this week. It shouldn’t take you more than an afternoon.

Follow Chris Guillebeau’s advice from The $100 Startup and identify (1) something your passionate about and (2) something people are willing to pay for. In the convergence of those two things, you have a business you can be excited about.

Once you know what you’re going to offer to the world, write a one-page business plan. You can add to it later.

Write a 1-page business plan. You can always add to it later.

Include what services or products you will offer the world, how much they will cost, what your profit looks like, a few ways you plan to get the word out, and a series of milestones that are easy to take over the next 6 months.

Piece of cake.

If you’ve been putting of actually starting your business because you can’t seem to build the perfect business plan, stop.

Just stop.

You can write up a one-page business plan this afternoon and start your business tomorrow morning.

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