The Importance Of A Business Plan: Part One

The thrill of starting a business is often followed by a tough reality check. Pre-launch, you have a great business idea. You scurry around, busy AF, bringing it to life. It’s all-consuming and never-ending and you burn bright with a million ideas. Anything is possible.

You launch! It’s awesome. What a buzz.

And then… the grind. The beautiful blue-sky talk is over. No more fantasy – because now you’re wall-to-wall with the day-to-day. And if you haven’t planned thoroughly around what to expect and what to aim for, you’ll struggle.

Hey: no problem (this is what you’ve been striving for, after all). But you spent so long getting your ducks in a row, you never nailed down the shape of the ducks. When reality bites, it’s all a bit vague. How will those ducks handle the stream ahead? Even if they’re the right shape now, will they be afloat in six months’ time?

We had a ton of great pre-launch ideas with the previous travel business, with every expectation of making them happen. Champagne yacht rides? Sure! Texas rodeo events? Yessiree! But as soon as we were officially up and running, we realised there was a different pressure: to produce results.

If you’re wondering what your post-launch business strategy should look like, don’t panic. Here’s how we did it with the multi-million-pound travel biz. Let me show you the plan.…

I can’t.

We didn’t have one.

It was the most painful long-term mistake of my career.

Launching a business before it’s ready

We started the enterprise before it was ready: barely a website, no concrete idea of what we’d provide. Dedication, passion and legit financial backing meant we launched with credibility and enthusiasm. But there were So. Many. Hours. Wasted. We floundered about, trying stuff that we’d not imagined; course-correcting basics we’d not discussed. Two steps forward, one step back, week after week. It was exhausting.

What would I do today? I’d make that plan using some fundamental scaffolding. I can teach you all about it.

Right now, though, if you’re near either side of the start-date of your business, I’m guessing you feel insanely ‘in the moment’. The business is six inches away from your nose at all times. You know it all; you live and breathe it. But you still need a plan.

Write it down. Failure to externalise it on paper is a recipe for disaster. If nothing else, the surprise of rereading it months (or even years) later will be an eye-opener, a tool for reflection and a useful guiding light. As I’ve confessed, I wouldn’t know! I wish I did. It would’ve saved hundreds of hours in second-guessing, speculation and finger-in-the-air decisions.

Sequel coming on how to produce your plan.

Best of luck and let me know how you get on.