Practical Steps & Coaching Advice
Whether you are a genius absent-minded-professor type that needs help with the practical steps, or a stay-at-home-mom venturing out as an entrepreneur needing a starting point to turn that creative juice into an income stream, here is a basic roadmap to developing the business plan for a new start up.
Write the Vision
Seems basic but you’d be surprised how many people skip this step. Putting your business idea into words on paper will help you: 1) define it; 2) see any initial blind spots; and 3) begin to communicate succinctly. Tip: This is not the business plan. It’s the “business idea” defined.
Get out your pen and paper. Looking at the landscape; examine the start through the finish of the vision and operational cycle; understand the demand and what you’re offering whether product, service, etc.; define the approach and needs in a thorough market analysis; explore resources, infrastructure, operational models, etc. This will serve as your road map for building your projections and business plan.
From the initial draft you should have a big picture scope that gives a task list of items to go after. Expect your mapping to be updated and changed before you get closer to drawing up a final business plan.
Projecting & Planning
Based on your mapping and what you already know about the industry, niche, product, service, or market, draw up a basic outline of projections. Establish an estimated timeline, investments, resources, and operational process. Start defining them, while knowing that it has yet to be tested, vetted and confirmed.
Assumptions are not a friend. De-friend them and uninvite them; same with presumption.
Research everything and find multiple sources of confirmed factual data. Talk with others in your industries that are willing to share nonproprietary information. Ask loads of questions and dig out the details.
Trial & Error
If you are launching an invention, potential investors will want to see your test results before they will consider buying into it. Give time and careful attention to properly vetting of your product, process and services. Bypassing proper steps in this phase can be beyond costly in the long run and bigger picture. Expect that seasoned partners will not allow short cuts here.
Your vision may change, be updated and refined. Be okay with adapting. Your projections may be off. Be happy to find it out sooner than later. Your expectations may get shot down. Again, better to get this resolved on the front end. You want data and plans that have a higher chance at success than simply a bad plan that strokes an ego and leads nowhere.
Good vetting is a process and well worth the time. The research and good trial and error helps with informed decision-making and reformation. You may find from start to finish, with process, product, operations, employees, and even investors and their proposed relations, that vetting will come into play throughout the process of start up and launch. Don’t be discouraged with this, but see it as a healthy insurance plan of getting off to a solid start and secure foundation.
Rewriting the Plan
Now that you have factual information, have tested and vetted, and likely have researched every facet, you are much more informed and ready to rewrite the plan. After you have rewritten it, consider having an editor review and revise to ensure it is legible, intelligible, and grammatically accurate.
Your process and the journey of development may not exactly be along these steps. However, this outline will give you a basic understanding of how to begin and what to expect. My final coaching tip: hire an expert when and where needed.
Now here’s the real gold to this article. Allow me to break down some truths that will help you more than the outline above.
There is No Model
You probably are thinking I have lost my marbles. I am well aware of the publishing industry and online portals that would tell you the opposite. Please allow me to explain my position.
Every person, every business, every endeavor has it’s own set of variables. The dynamics in a leader’s life and development, the life cycles of niches and markets, consumer demands and changing appetites, the geographic storms whether that be tariffs or other economic strains, manufacturing shortages, operational bottlenecks, team member benefits and issues, all of these are unique and specific and have a certain degree of being uncontrollable. Life and business is dynamic, not static. We don’t need cookie-cutter plans; we need leaders who know how to lead and pioneer.
Are there practical guides and helpful tools? Sure. But I would suggest there is so much more to building a healthy foundation for a business, and it’s not purchased in subscriptions and bookcovers. It’s you, your people, your business relationships, and your process.
I have professional colleagues who have built businesses selling the model or proprietary systems they have created. I hope to forever remain friends with them and continue to have great regard for them. Friendship aside, I do not agree with their models or methods.
Purpose of Coaching vs. Self Help Guru
When systems fail, models are delinquent of dimension to address the unexpected, and gurus come to the end of their self-made brilliance, what then?
I would appeal that business provides an onramp to a thorough and customized journey of leadership development, a plumb line of character development (or character defining based on choices), and a plethora of life lessons should we capture them. In the long run, lessons learned and properly processed become a pillar for the leader and the training they will need for future business circumstances. Becoming established as a leader, rather than a manager that follows what you’re told, gives you a tool kit for navigating complex issues with wisdom and fortitude. Look at the landscape in America of industries and sectors shaking from the vacuum of solid, ethical and moral leadership. What’s needed? More models and gimmicks; or leaders with wisdom, integrity and tested character?
This is why I am an advocate for professional coaching. Coaching focuses on providing support and coaching challenge to the business leader. It addresses specific issues in real time. It encourages a business leader’s growth, problem solving and decision-making while supporting the person in the process of building a business or a team. Thus, the goal is the success of the leader on multiple levels, and not simply by selling more books or subscriptions as a coach.
An Appeal to Leadership
See the process of building business as a gold mine.Become a business leader that can be trusted. Make wise and moral decisions. Embrace the journey, moving out of a survival mode into a leadership mode. Take the time for real, genuine problem-solving and avoid bandaids that simply cover issues. Do not hide from the challenges but see their value and embrace the process circumspectly. Be intentional, especially in relationships, and do not allow yourself to hide from people or problems. Treat others how you want to be treated. Show kindness regardless of the finger in your face or rage aimed toward you. Set right foundations, and reset as often as needed. Update your file on people who are actively embracing growth and professional development. Learn to listen beyond the words.