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Biz Tips: The 30 Minute-A-Day Business Plan

November 5, 2010 - Ernest Hohmeyer
Adk Biz Today November 4th, 2010

Biz Tips: The 30 Minute-A-Day Business Plan Part I

“Transform your business to meet today’s challenges”.

This was the front page story in the Harvard Business Review. Entrepreneur magazine was filled with forecasts on the new 2010 trends and the Economist talked about “reshaping the post-crisis world”. The SBA extolled entrepreneurs to “…use this time to re-evaluate their business models and opt for new strategies…to move in a new direction”. Charles Darwin wrote “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, or the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”.

One common theme I hear when I meet fellow Adirondack entrepreneurs is “we seem to be doing more with less” and when we talk shop, many become very thoughtful and introspective – more so than I can ever remember in the 25 years of being involved with community and business development. I get the feeling they spend a lot of time lately on how to move their business forward and trying to figure out where the economy is going and with it future consumer trends.

For many of us, November is when business slows down a bit. It is a perfect time while you are at the shop to put down in paper what you have been thinking about in those sleepless nights. In my opinion, you can think about ideas all day long (and if you are like me in the middle of night) but they often do not go anywhere unless you write them down in an exercise that if done correctly tests them in an empirical manner. Yes, I am talking about the dreaded business plan. Too many times business plans are only done when financing is being sought or when you are first going into business. Many business people forget that a business plan is just a snapshot in time and as your business evolves, the economy changes and new consumer trends occur, your premise may have changed.

But before you yawn and let out “Yea, yea I know”, let me suggest 3 things:

1) Those of us that use the word business plan have got it all wrong. It should really be your “Passion Plan”. After all, hopefully you became an entrepreneur because you were excited or “passionate” about providing the public a service or product – and being your own boss. So a business plan exercise if done correctly, should be a stimulus to get you excited again and I am hopeful that if you take a new look at your business, ideas you may not have considered will appear. 2) When you are in business, you have a tremendous advantage: You have live customers you can talk to, you are able to perform customer research and you can test run new products. 3) A “Passion Plan” does not have to be a monotonous, year long exercise. When you are literally the owner, the manger and the store clerk, time is not your friend. So, I would like to introduce the “30 Minute a Day Passion Plan Exercise”. Think of it in terms of taking the time to eat better or take-in a daily vigorous work-out for business health. Over the next several posts of Adk Biz Today, we will suggest a “Passion Plan Exercise” with the intent on doing most of it while you are at work ideally spending no more than 30 minutes a day. As Adk Biz Today is not a daily feature, we will do this over a period of time.

Start with dreaming about where you would like to see your business going to narrowing the focus to help you determine if your idea makes sense to you from a business perspective:

From An Idea

Your Vision/Passion Statement Key Services/Products The Target Market Operation Factors Financials

To Thinking About $$$

You may want to consider creating a separate file or notebook.

So let’s start by asking yourself 3 Questions: The Idea: Your Vision/Passion Statement 1. If you imagined the perfect business you would be in what would it look like? What gets you excited? At this point you are only limited by your imagination. 2. In this perfect world what are some of the goals or needs you are trying to address? 3. Based on those goals or needs, what are some key products or services?

It is okay to repeat those things in your current business that still makes sense to you but I encourage you to think out of the box and not be afraid to throw out ideas that excite you. Whether they make sense or not will be discussed later in the exercise.

A biz helping hand: Are there recommendation anyone has on business plan formats you have found worthwhile? If so let us know at Adk Biz Today.


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