How To Make a Mess of Your Annual Business Plan

Fact: most small businesses have no annual plan. Not one word. In many cases, the owner has tried to make a plan, but it didn’t work out. The plan didn’t fit, not a bit.

Does that sound like anyone you know?

Maybe they got a library book on business planning or took a class. Forget it. Here is all you need to create the plan you’ll never use.

(Or you could just imagine that there is a different way, a better way, to develop a business plan that works for your small business, one you’ll actually use, to make this a remarkable year. You decide.)

Rule: Make it really long.

A good business plan can be used to block your office door shut in case of zombie invasion. Make it hefty. Remember: zombie-stopper.

(Or you could create a plan that takes just a page or two, that you’ll use throughout the year. You’ll have to stop the zombies some other way.)

Rule: Don’t bother developing a vision of what your business is about

yoga business womanVision statement? Blah-blah-blah. Don’t waste your time. Put down a revenue number. Now put down a much bigger one. Remember those coaches who show you stock photos of a computer with dollars shooting out in all directions? Or the woman sitting on the beach in her business suit with her computer? That’s what you should aim for.

(There is a way that your business connects with your larger life purpose. You just need a little help to uncover it and let it guide you. By the way, do you know why that woman is wearing her suit on the beach??)

 Rule: Keep a sharp line between your business life and your non-business life.

If you’re a mom-preneur with a Very Small Business plus kiddos at home, ignore the fact that you have to take your child to school. Or maybe you are managing a home renovation, or you manage your own rental property. Maybe you have two businesses. Or you’re caring for an elderly parent.

Tough. Plan to be at your desk and working by 8:30 and expect yourself to work a full eight-hour day or more every day. Feeling frustrated and frazzled? Well, isn’t that just the price of a successful small business?

(Or you could use a planning process that treats you like a whole person. Just a thought.)

Rule: Whatever you did last year, plan to make it bigger, do it more, make it grow.

If you wrote a book last year, write two this year. If you spoke at four conferences, shoot for 12. Two employees? Plan to hire a few more. Served 40 clients? Bag 60. Because, really, what else is there to write in your plan?

(This one is tricky. Because growth is a good thing in a business. Remember, though, that there are multiple ways to grow.  Some will wear you out and others will stretch you in a healthy way.)

Rule: Focus is for sissies!

You CAN have it all, do it all, be it all, all at once. Or else.

(Or you could plan to focus your efforts, so you get to experience the success and satisfaction that comes with doing something very well.)

Rule: Spend a lot of time on competitive analysis and five-year projections

Because it’s what they taught you in that business planning class.

(Or you could make a plan that recognizes your uniqueness and works with it rather than trying to wipe it out.)

Now you’re on your way to spending a whole lot of time on a plan that won’t give you back any time. Won’t give you more ease and satisfaction in your business. Won’t give you more success. Congratu – freakin’ – lations.

(Are you serious about making a plan for your Very Small Business?  I offer a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to introduce you to my Plan To Thrive program. Go ahead. Take me up on it by booking your consultation now – just click here. Or you could just read that planning book again.)

Photo used by license from, © IvanMikhaylov


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