The First Question When Writing A Business Plan
One of the first items I request when meeting with a client, is a copy of their Business Plan. This request is usually met with an element of surprise, followed by a blank stare. Those who created a plan, have either misplaced it or never finished it. Bottom line, the majority of business owners don't have a working business plan. If you don't have one, then you really need one....Now!
FREE Business Plan templates can easily be downloaded from the internet. Included in a typical template, is an Executive Summary, Company Description, Competitive and Market Analysis', Organizational Charts describing skills and job functions, Products and Services, Marketing Plan, Sales Strategy, Funding Requests, and Financial Projections.
However, one of the most important elements of a Business Plan, is always missed and needs to be the first question answered BEFORE you begin to write one. The first question is, "What do you want?" Hint, if your response is "making money" or to be "successful", then you'll need to restart this process.
If you don't know what you want on a personal and professional level, chances are, you'll expend a ton of energy getting nowhere, fast...also known as "burnout". That's because, you'll be chasing hours for dollars without the "fuel" necessary to overcome long hours, disappointments, and stress. Not understanding what you want, is like driving a car for hours trying to find an unknown destination.
Although a simple question, your answer will be complicated. It requires time and a well thought out list of wants and needs. You have to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, followed by a realistic timeline of desired goals that matches your strengths. Without knowing this, you could experience exhaustion, become resentful, stuck-in-a-rut, frustrated and directionless.
If you don't have a Business Plan, there is no better time than now, to create one. But, before you begin, answer this question first, "What do you want?"