Well, most people, I think, when they talk about a business plan are thinking this big, huge document that’s 50 pages long and includes charts and graphs and all of this stuff. But I’ve actually found that it’s much easier to think about a business plan, when you have a small business, as sort of setting the goals for your business. It’s a way to think about the future of your business, where you want to go, and it’s also a way to really think about who your customer is and how your product is going to help them. I mean, I’ve also started a couple of other businesses and every time I do, I sit down and I fill this out. I really think about where am I trying to get to because, I think, with a small business, you have to know how to pivot, and you have to know what needs to change. And when you’re just starting out, you’re kind of going with the flow, and what happens, in the beginning, is not always where you end up in the end.
I think everybody should sit down at the start of their business and at least yearly after that, if not every six months, and think about the future of their business. I don’t think that most small businesses starting out need to do the huge business plan. I think that’s great when you get to the point of needing to borrow money or find investors, that when you need to prove your financials, then it’s very important. But in the beginning, it’s more about you and what you want and what you can get out of your business. So I think the one-page business plan is perfect for that because if you take the time, it really makes you think about where you’re going.
I think that as business owners, you’re constantly learning, and you never feel like you get anywhere until you go back and look and say, “This is where I was. Oh, my God, I have come so far.” I think it really helps you to keep a positive attitude because it’s so easy to get burned out if you feel like you never get anywhere.
When it comes to investors and physical products and inventory and stuff like that, and there’s somebody at home thinking right now, “Well, there’s no way I’m ever going to get an investor. I don’t have any capital to get started. How am I ever going to get found?” You and I both know that you do not need inventory to start a business. So this business plan thing is relevant to an online business – service providers, which is what we focus on as small business owners developing skills that you can use to help others make more money, help others solve problems which is usually related to making more money, just helping people’s lives be easier recognizing their needs. So that’s what we’re focusing on at Mobe. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a physical product business. We’re highlighting several – several contributors within Mobe have or have had in the past physical product businesses. It’s absolutely a way that you can work at home. It’s just a little bit more complicated, but the point here is that a one-page business plan can work for everybody. So you recommend doing that, and when you first get started, just sit down and just kind of plan it out. It’s not like a 50-page thing. It’s just answering a series of questions to get you focused on what it is you’re doing, whom you’re going to serve, and your basic plan for getting there. It is something that you can tweak, especially in the beginning. I mean, six months to a year. I think that’s brilliant, just so you can realize how you’ve changed, how your focus has changed because you don’t always think about that. Change, I think, is the only constant, and sometimes it’s going to take six months to a year before you realize what has changed, how your focus has changed. So I just didn’t start out – maybe I put on my business plan originally who my target market was, but in due time, very soon time, it evolved. So that is really smart, and you can just keep it in a binder. You have your business plan. You put the date on there, and then the next page will be the next time, and you can just have that. It’s almost like you’re scrapbooking, and it’s just a one-page journal every three to six months when you’re first starting. It’s really cool to look back on how you’ve changed and what your goals are especially as your mindset shifts as you grow your business and see results.
We think when we go start a business that our number one goal is to make money and to solve our own problems, but the reality is when we focus on other people and solving their problems, our problems just go away naturally. And by problems, I mean financial problems. So if we want to make money, we can help other people make more money by helping alleviate problems in their business. You solve actual problems for other people, then you make money. You provide value. You make money. That’s all there is to it, and it’s a relationship thing. People forget that all the time. It’s transactional. You can’t just show up and be like, “Hey, how can I help you?” – and expect them to do the work of telling you what they need and holding your hand and stuff. You’ve got to be confident, and in order to be confident, you’ve got to have skills. In order to have skills, you’ve got to sit down and learn skills and be willing to invest in yourself. Read more…
–Cited from the author of Juggling Kids, Cash, and Chaos by Emma Bates