Does Your Business Have Vision?
A couple of weeks ago, for the first time in two years and for no reason other than to entertain a moment of boredom, I plucked my business plan from the bookshelf to review.
As I’m reading and mentally commending myself for its painstaking detail, I am struck by a thought: Fancy having invested so much into the research, planning and execution of this document only to have it sit here unused on my bookshelf. I mean really, why bother writing one at all if only for the sake of telling others that you’ve written one? Admittedly, it does always bring me this secret joy when I hear another business owner admit that they never bothered with it. I get a little swell of pride that accompanies the thought that, in having personally made the effort to write one, it somehow makes me a better business operator than them. And let’s face it – I’ve enjoyed these ego-fist-bumps on many occasions because the truth is that hardly anyone has written a business plan.
If I think back to my reasons for wanting to create one – it wasn’t so that I could eventually flaunt its existence as a means to fluff my own tail feathers – it was because I had originally considered applying for finance and wanted to be able to demonstrate that the business concept was a viable and serious endeavour. I never actually ended up needing to apply for funding, but the exercise was not a waste… not by any means. By the simple process of addressing each facet of the business, I was able to clearly define operational aspects that I would not have considered otherwise. The exercise, I believe, helped me to hit the ground running.
It was only a few days after I reacquainted myself with my old business plan when a client gifted me the book, by Philip Brooker. Coincidently, the primary focus of the book was on addressing one’s business vision and mapping out a strategy to ultimately fulfil that vision. Normally I struggle to read books of this nature – I find them boring, unengaging (and yet despite the fact, I continue to fill my bookshelves with them… as if simply owning the book will gift me with the smarts contained within). This book, however, was one that I read from start to finish in just under a week. I do wonder though – if it were given to me on any other day - would it have gone straight into the bookshelf unread if it hadn’t coincided with the rediscovery of my business plan? I don’t think I’ll ever really know. Guaranteed Success
Armed with the insight I’d gleaned from the book, the first thing I did – the first thing any business owner should ever do - was to confirm the vision for my business. I couldn’t quite believe that, with all the detail I’d put into my business plan (which, admittedly, included goal-setting for the sake of goal-setting), I hadn’t actually articulated the vision for my business. I recounted a line from Philip Brooker in Guaranteed Success: “If you could wave a magic wand to create the ideal business, what would it look like?”
Interestingly, I thought that defining a vision for my business would be incredibly difficult to do – but with that one simple question, I found it assembled itself on the page easily and without effort. And later, with just as much ease, I began to establish clear strategies to propel me toward achieving that vision. But, of course, a clearly defined strategy is not something you simply “set and forget”. It requires regular attention. With this in mind, I scheduled reoccurring monthly appointments in my calendar titled, Strategic Planning. This time will be exclusively dedicated to tending to the business plan; to treat it not as a static object, but a living and evolving entity.
In closing: if you’ve got an old business plan floating around somewhere, why not reacquaint yourself with it? I’m sure, like me, it’s been sitting around unloved for quite some time. And if you don’t have one, put it at the very top of your To-Do list. Everyone has a vision for success – I mean, it’s the whole reason we’re in business - but until you are able to clearly articulate it within a written plan, it’s unlikely that you will ever achieve it.
At the very least, write yourself a business plan so that you can tell other business owners that you’ve done it. Your ego will thank you later. Trust me.
© 2017 Jesse Brjoz