In today’s episode, I answer the question: Do you need a business plan?
I get asked this question quite a bit – especially from people in the early stages of startup.
They usually come from one of two areas. Either:
1. They’ve been told over and over again that they desperately need a business plan, but they find it really overwhelming and too hard. Or,
2. They don’t feel like they need a business plan because they’re still learning and getting themself set up so they may as well just wing it.
Today I want us to have a little conversation about whether or not you need a business plan.
Here for the links referenced in the show notes?
Quarterly Business Plan on a Page: tashcorbin.com/qplan
Episode 303: Create a quarterly plan on a page: tashcorbin.com/303
Heart-Centred Business Planning System: tashcorbin.com/planner
Quarterly Planning Party: tashcorbin.com/planningparty
I’m going to answer the question regardless of what stage of business you’re in. Whether you’re very fresh to starting a business or you’ve been in business for multiple years, this will still be really helpful for you.
Let’s dive in!
In order to know whether you need a business plan or not, we first need to know the number one job of a business plan.
The number one job of a business plan is that when you go to do work in your business, you know what to do.
If you already know what to do, then chances are you already have some form of structure – regardless of whether you call it a business plan or not – that gives you that direction and guidance so that you can confidently know what to work on when you’re working in your business.
A business plan is probably a good idea for you if you:
- Don’t know what to do
- Get distracted by shiny objects
- Find yourself running around in circles trying to work out what you need to do next
- Find yourself doing lots and lots of busy work, but not the important stuff that will move you forward
For a lot of people, when they think of business plans, they think of:
- Big unwieldy documents that the bank makes you create before you get a loan
- The corporate world where you have six departments’ worth of stuff that makes you feel like you’re being micromanaged
- Something that’s required for massive teams so that everyone can be across what other people are doing
As entrepreneurs and often solo or very small business owners, we may not have actually experienced a great business plan that’s for our type of business.
If you’re scared of business planning, or the idea of business planning overwhelms you, I just want us to be on the same page that a business plan does NOT need to be a 45-page document. A business plan does not need to be for the next five years.
A business plan can be short-term focused and very straightforward.
In fact, one of my most popular downloads is my Quarterly Business Plan on a Page.
That is enough for most small businesses to know what they’re working on and know what their focus is for the next 90 days.
That’s usually long-term enough for most businesses until they get to the point where they’re pre-planning launches six months to a year in advance.
For most people, a business plan can be as simple as a one-page document with a week-by-week focus.
Alternatively, it could be as simple as having a list of your top 10 priorities for the next x period of time, and each day checking which one of those you’re going to focus on that day.
A business plan does not need to be a long-term large, unwieldy document.
If you don’t know what to do or you find yourself jumping from one thing to another without much direction or strategic focus when you’re working in your business, then I would recommend that you do have a business plan.
Here are the three main reasons that a business plan is really helpful…
Reason 1: It gets you closer to your goals
You can have absolute confidence that what you’re doing is moving you towards your important goals.
If you don’t have a business plan, you can get very drawn into the short-term firefighting, very sexy but not necessarily strategic actions each day.
You find yourself not necessarily moving towards your goals quickly.
A business plan can be a great way to ensure that what you’re doing is working towards those goals.
Reason 2: It keeps you focused and away from shiny objects
It stops a lot of that distraction because you have already pre-decided what your goals are and what’s going to get you there.
It keeps you focused on those things and keeps you free from some of those distractions/procrasti-projects that are drawing you away. Ultimately, those things can lead to you not achieving your goals, or slowing down the progress towards your goals because you’ve got caught up in shiny object land.
Reason 3: It’s a brilliant communication tool
It’s fabulous for identifying where you might need help.
It’s great for communicating with:
- Your team
- Your partner
- Anyone else who needs to be involved, who needs to support you, or to give you space to focus on that business stuff
It is a beautiful communication tool.
In those cases, often the simpler the better.
I have subcontractors in my business, I have team members in my business, and I have random project helper-outerers in my business here and there.
One of the first things I provide every single one of those people with is our business plan.
The reason being is that it gives them a lot of context about different things, including:
- How busy I am that at that point in time
- What we are focused on at each point in time
- My capacity
- Where my priorities and focus are
It really helps us to all be on the same page.
If we bring someone on board for a particular project and tell them that we need it done by a certain date even though the actual project won’t be implemented for another month after that date, they can see and understand why. I’m not just giving them a deadline that’s a month before when we’re actually going to do it. I’m giving them that deadline because in the month before, I’m focused on these other things and I will not be able to get back to them.
It’s such a great communication tool.
Those are three really good reasons to get yourself a good business plan:
1. It gets you closer to your goals
2. It keeps you focused and away from shiny objects
3. It’s a brilliant communication tool
If any of these reasons resonate with you and you’ve decided that you DO want to create a simple business plan, I highly recommend that you check out episode 303 of the podcast: Create a quarterly plan on a page.
I wanted to keep this podcast episode focused on whether you NEED a business plan or not, but I do already have one on HOW to create a business plan, so make sure you check that one out as well: CLICK ME
I now also want to let you know of a couple of ways that I help people with business planning because it is something that I LOVE doing.
I’m so passionate about it.
I was in a formal business planning role in one of my corporate roles, I used to do consulting work on how to set up business plans, and I used to create business plans for other businesses and government agencies.
It’s something that I’ve done for a very long time and I get really excited about it. I love creating business plans that work for individuals!
I just wanted to let you know how you can work with me on your business planning if that is something that you’re interested in.
1. Heart-Centred Business Planner
Every year, I launch the Heart-Centered Business Planner.
(Jump to 8:12 in the video to see my 2022 Heart-Centred Business Planner.)
The Heart-Centered Business Planning system includes:
- A yearly planner
- Quarterly plans
- A Facebook community
- Monthly check-ins
- Workshops to do our quarterly plans together every single quarter
If you would like to be on the waitlist for next year’s planning system, you can register for that at tashcorbin.com/planner.
2. Free planning party each quarter
In most quarters (not all of them), I run a free planning party right before the start of each quarter.
Here are the quarters of the year and when I would generally run my free planning part:
- First-quarter (January-March) I will run my planning party in mid-December
- Second-quarter (April-June) I will run my planning party at the end of March
- Third-quarter (July-September) I will run my planning party at the end of June
- Fourth-quarter (October-December) I will run my planning party at the end of September
3. Plan on a Page freebie
Those are three ways that I can help you with getting that business plan in place.
As I mentioned, I also recommend you check out Episode 303: Create a quarterly plan on a page.
Being able to create a business plan is a really important skill, and is such an asset that can help you be really focused in your business.
That focus and structure gives me so much freedom and creativity because every day and every week, I know exactly what my key focus is.
If I get that done, I can play with whatever I want.
It makes sure that I get the stuff done that’s the focal point. If I’ve got spare time, then I can choose to get some other stuff done early.
I can choose to:
- Batch up a bunch of podcast episodes
- Play with some creative projects
- Jump into Canva (please note this is an affiliate link) and make new sexy templates for another future project
For me, that structure and focus really allows me to embrace creativity and innovation, and play with new stuff because I’m doing it without worrying about whether I’m supposed to be doing something else.
I know everything’s taken care of because it’s all mapped out in my business plan, and I know when I need to be focused on each particular project or focal point.
Make sure you check out the resources I’ve provided you with today:
- Quarterly business plan on a page freebie: CLICK ME
- Episode 303: Create a quarterly plan on a page: CLICK ME
- Heart-Centred Business Planner: CLICK ME
- Free quarterly planning party: CLICK ME
Let’s get you planned and focused!!
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.