Smart and Savvy Tip:
My partner and I like things short and sweet: "gimme the facts, ma’am, just the facts." So it is no surprise that we brought The One Page Business Plan by Jim Horan with us on our Blog Squad working retreat in Ajijic, Mexico last week.
Included in the book is an interactive CD so you can load templates for doing your biz plan onto your laptop or desktop.
Why is this important? If you’re like many entrepreneurs, you shoot first, then figure out what works and what doesn’t. Sound familiar? Business owners, especially solo professionals, need a way to test ideas without having to put cash or business
relationships at high risk. This is a way to do just that.
The One Page Business Plan will get your ideas onto paper, and helps with 5 types of exercises:
- Brainstorming – generate new ideas by considering provocative questions
- Research – gather information from external sources
- Focusing – prioritize ideas and concepts
- Summarizing – condensing, final prioritizing and editing
- Feedback – solicit objective feedback from trusted advisers
Personally, I found the provocative questions helpful in narrowing and clarifying our statements about vision, mission, and values. This makes the marketing plan easier because we have a clear picture of our "raison d’etre."
For example, we are working on a tag line for our Blog Squad business, which goes like this:
"The Blog Squad:
..attract and connect with clients using simple online tools."
There is no right or wrong way to do a business plan. Your business will always be evolving anyway. Your plan should evolve with you and your business. But as they say, you can’t get to where you’re going if you don’t know where you want to be.
Business plans don’t have to be complex. No business is too small to have a plan. Just make sure it is relevant and real.
Get The One Page Business Plan by Jim Horan and work through the templates to determine your core values, mission and objectives.
If you want the "cliff notes" version, make a list of the following steps and write statements for each:
- Vision: How do you visualize your company in the future?
- Mission: Why does this business exist?
- Objectives: What accomplishments must this business achieve within one year to be successful?
- Strategies: How will this business be built and managed over time?
- Plans: What specific projects and actions will be taken this year to achieve the objectives?
Want to see pictures of our idyllic retreat location? See the Ajijic photo album.