Several of my clients have referred me to Celeste, who owns a well-established business. They’ve convinced her that she needs to hire me to get her business plan done so that she can be more strategic and organized. They’ve worked with me, developed their own plans and are raving fans. I’ve been assured several times that Celeste is going to call.

I’m still waiting for a call or e-mail from Celeste and it’s been months.

I recently met with another business owner needing an exit strategy, who was referred to me by three people at a networking event. She’s not sure what she wants; she doesn’t know where to focus or where to start. She’s still thinking about it.

Now, before you wonder whether I have what it takes to pursue and close a sale, let me assure you that I have a full business that is near capacity and I occasionally refer business out to an associate coach. I don’t NEED their business. They need me.

What they NEED

I know both of these business owners and they have a lot going on in their life, in their business, and in their schedules. I would bet, and in one case I know, that if I asked them to articulate a vision for where their business will be one year from today, they couldn’t tell me. Moreover, they’ve never taken the time to think about it.

When we start our businesses, we tend to get very task oriented and think about what needs to be done to build the business, what systems need to be in place, how do we keep all the balls up in the air, etc. We may set goals around those things as well like, attend 10 networking events per month, meet with 5 potential clients a week, hire a virtual assistant within 3 months, lower costs by 10%…. you know what I mean.

But then, after we are in our business for a while, we tend not to think that we actually need a business plan on an annual basis. Why is that? Why was it so important to get started; yet isn’t important midstream, or even as part of your exit strategy?

Here are the top 5 reasons I’ve found:

1. I don’t have time and it takes too long.

I’ve heard the concerns that the time spent on this type of activity is not billable, it’s not actually bringing in revenue, and it’s time taken away from ‘selling’. Owning your own business takes a lot of time, energy, effort and grit that’s for sure. It’s not for the faint of heart. However, for those that are running a business without an annual plan, I’m certain they are spending time on the wrong things, probably on too many things, and that a plan would actually simplify their life and their business. One of my clients found that she was attending conferences to attain business outside of the geographic area that she really wanted to focus on. We quickly identified several related tasks and projects, which no longer needed to be done! Cha-ching! Time back!

The tool I use for this type of business plan is called The One Page Business Plan (OPBP). It’s not 20 or 50 pages, it’s one page, concise, easy to communicate to others, and very focused. It’s worth an investment of time. You can get your first draft completed in 90 minutes suing the Point, Click, Plan tool.

2. I don’t want to spend the money.

Business owners can be very frugal, and they should be. However, this is one of those cases where you can’t afford not to invest in your business. A well-designed plan offers an excellent return on investment. We spend more time dealing with drama, firefighting, and being distracted than we spend working on our businesses. Your business deserves a well-designed and implemented annual business plan. You do too.

3. It turns out to be a bunch of fluffy words, is too complicated and then sits on a shelf.

Too many planning processes are too complex. They don’t need to be. The OPBP is simple, with simple language, simple templates and a simple process. Follow up is part of the plan, so it won’t sit on the shelf.

4. I can do it myself.

Yes you can. But will you?
And do you have the experience of putting together dozens of plans and asking the right questions to get your vision, mission and goals right for your business? It’s beneficial to have an Objective and experienced mind to work with you and develop the best plan possible. The accountability that comes with working with someone you’ve hired to ‘get it done’ is also a powerful motivator.

5. I won’t follow through.

This is another reason to hire a coach to help you through this process. Accountability and follow through are the basic tools of a coach and will be included with your plan. How better to ensure that your plan will be implemented? We also include quarterly updates with each plan so that the follow through is guaranteed. This plan won’t just sit on your shelf once you’ve completed it.

If you are curious about how this process might work for you, see more about the One Page Business Plan and Core Impact Coaching.

Check out our video workshop here.

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