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Managing your Expectations - Part 3 - Where are you going and how will you get there

When starting a business, a lot of people will tell you that you need a business plan.  However, a lot of people starting a business simply start with an idea or just simply wanting to supplement their current income.  A business plan isn't something that they think is necessary.  Business plans are thought of as something that only large businesses trying to get funding need.  However, business plans can provide an important road map for even the smallest of businesses.

In a lot of cases, people spend more effort planning a dinner or lunch date, than they do on planning their business.  It starts with an invite to eat, should you invite others, what time will you meet, what restaurant will you eat at, where is the restaurant, map the location on your GPS, do you need to make reservations, how long will it take you to drive there, do you need to make arrangements for parking, how expensive is the menu, what will you wear, and how long will it take you to get ready if the dress is fancy?

However, in business, very little is thought is put into
where you want to go, and how you are going to get there.  

If you are planning a business or have already started a business, take a day, or even just an hour, to write down what your main goal is, and three possible ways to meet that goal.  If it involves recruiting people to use or sell your product, how many people do you need to contact on average before you find one of these people?  Where will you find them, and what will you say when you approach someone?  If you are selling a product outright, who are you selling this product to?  What features does this product have that would entice someone to buy.  Why should they buy from you versus your competition?

Where do you want to go with this business?  How long do you think it will take to get there?  Are there smaller goals that you will or should meet along the way to this larger goal?  What happens if you reach that goal faster, or slower? 

When you answer these questions, you are developing your business plan.  It is just like looking up directions to the restaurant.  How do you get there, and how long do you think it will take you to arrive at your destination?

If you have a goal, but you don't know how to reach that goal.  That is where mentors, peers, and coaches come in.  Ask for suggestions!  Ask for tips!  Ask for help!  When you have small actions to take that you know are leading you to bigger goals, that is how you stay motivated to work on your business, even when you don't have a large client base or are making money. 

When you have expectations for yourself and your business but no business plan, that is when people fail.  A business plan is your personalized road map to meet the expectations you have for your business.  It doesn't need to be fancy, it may just simply be a bulleted list that is in the front of your planner.  It should contain both small steps and large steps that you need to do to reach your business goals.

Having expectations with no plan to reach them, is a recipe for failure.


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