What is one of the first things people say you need before going into business? A business plan. The basis of this statement is that the business plan is supposed to be instrumental in guiding your business's path towards continual growth. Also, the business plan is supposed to establish that you are serious about your business and have put a great deal of thought into its existence and operations. It is the traditional method of business forecasting that is still accepted as the standard blueprint of planning, even though entrepreneurship is supposed to be unconventional by nature.
Truthfully though, in my honest opinion, the business plan is outdated for today's entrepreneurship. Today's entrepreneurship is so rapid and not as controlled as it once was. Today's entrepreneurship is also accessible for anyone to participate within it and thrive. What is important about these last two statements is that the easy access of entrepreneurship has made it easy for anyone to become an entrepreneur but also in turn has made it harder for people to succeed as an entrepreneur. This is due to how hard it is to get noticed amongst the flooded entries into the competitive landscape of entrepreneurship.
So how do you differentiate yourself? By writing an in-depth business plan? No! You do so by developing an effective Strategy Plan.
What is a strategy plan? A Strategy Plan is a framework of effective actions constructed to firmly fit your business model in order to produce successful results. It sounds similar to a business plan but the difference is that with a Strategy Plan you are actively working within your plan as you go. With a business plan its history, research and a little wishful thinking all blended together. But, just because you write it down does not mean it's going to occur. You most likely are going to put it away to never be analyzed again until "needed" again for a business loan or some sort of investment.
A Strategy Plan forces you to actually do what you say because it cannot move forward without actual progression being produced. There is no half stepping allowed or time allocated towards being lax and to procrastinate. You actually have to be working towards completing those initiatives that are outlined or else the strategy plan loses its purpose. The reason you choose to pursue the course of the Strategy Plan is to stay committed to the plan of action rather than just talking about what you are going to do.
So how does the Strategy Plan work?
1) Determine Your Vision.
The vision is the foundation of your Strategy Plan and should accurately illustrate what you are working towards achieving. The vision serves the purpose of keeping you on the right track so that you are actively moving forward. Your vision should evoke passion and make you want to work hard in order to achieve what you desire.
2) Create Goals & Initiatives.
Goals and initiatives are checkpoints which keep you in line with the bigger picture of the vision. As each initiative is completed and goal is met, you verify that your Strategy Plan is effective in its process. This keeps you constantly busy and works to ensure that your mind is focused on the task at hand. Therefore, your mind is not wandering in ten different areas which is what happens with most entrepreneurs. Staying focused and remaining productive increases your likelihood for success and success is the ultimate goal of the Strategy Plan.
3) Outline the Overall Strategy Plan.
The Strategy Plan is the binding glue that holds this all together. In order for this to all work the Strategy Plan has to be in sync and operate upon a flowing formula. This means connecting all the pieces of the working process in order to produce an organization of effective flowing actions within the Strategy Plan. What is being done at this stage is placing yourself into the preparation for execution. Every aspect of your Strategy Plan has been laid out, you determined the flow of action and now you begin implementing your design.
The Strategy Plan is useless if it does not work to produce results. What has been planned, talked about and analyzed now needs to be accomplished. Of course tweaks and revisions will occur but as long as you are progressively moving forward, the action of reorganizing is not a setback. The point of this process is to execute and elevate beyond your past and present state of business affairs. You are building towards the future and creating longevity.
If you do not have a Strategy Plan in place, I definitely recommend that you put one together. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough. Don't be one of those entrepreneurs who lack the foresight on what it takes to be successful within their business.
Feel free to add any comments of agreement or disagreement.