Today we are going to talk about creating a business plan for a consultant and I’m going to take a specifically different approach than most. Most times when we talk about a business plan, we talk about target market, finance needs, internal structure, and service offerings. Those things are important and they have a place. In most business plan outlines I see, a very important thing is missing. What is missing in the plan is a mention of your importance as the creator of this business. You are the primary visionary who has taken responsibility for crafting what this business is going to be. What plan do you have in place to ensure your role as leader is never interrupted or distracted? This article will help explain your new role so you can understand how important it is to the health of your future business planning.
Dreaming is now a part of your job. In other words, this means you always have to know what your company’s Big Picture is. Where is your business now, where is it headed, what is in between point A and point B? How do you plan execute on this dream? You must have a way to get from point A to point B. You may call it a method, process or philosophy. In any case, you are responsible for explaining how your company will finally reach the Big Picture. Who will help you along the way? You know you must have a team. What kind of help do you need to bring your Big Picture to life? These are the new questions you must respond to every day.
Your ability to dream is attacked every day. You have to appreciate the fact that your dream is going to get attacked each and every day. For example, there are going to be clients that say “No” to you and every time you hear “No” fear will creep in and make you a little more nervous for the next time. Nervousness makes your dream feel a little less realistic. Nervousness is a dream attacker. You can’t be afraid of clients that say “No”. If you have a dream and you’ve got a Big Picture, then it’s worth pursuing.
You also have to be careful of disagreeing experts. There will always be someone who disagrees with you. Some of those people will have more credentials, longer titles behind their name, more experience, and more clients. It doesn’t matter. If you have a legitimate and realistic Big Picture, it’s worth pursuing and you can’t let disagreeing experts talk you out of what you know is a great opportunity for you and your potential clients.
Lastly, you have to look out for personal fatigue. If you build a business that is based around your energy, sooner or later you will get tired and make poor decisions based on fatigue. You have to look out for personal fatigue so that doesn’t become an active attack on your Big Picture.
How do you plan to protect the dream? First, you protect it with processes. There is a unique way you go about doing things and you need to clearly communicate your methods to all of your stakeholders. Your clarity is important so you can explain, articulate, and train people on your company’s specific methods. Everyone needs to understand that the methods are important because they ensure consistent excellence.
In that same light, documentation is very important. When you do something well and deliver at a high level, you need to write it down. Write down your process, time to completion, and your expectations for the team member who will do the task over from you. Finally here is another reminder about the importance of team. You need people in your environment who understand your Big Picture and are willing to defend it with their effort. They are willing to work hard to bring it to life and cut out those things that don’t fit.
There are a lot of business plan methodologies, examples, templates and formulas out there. You need to make sure that the business plan you create protects you, the Big Picture, and the big dream that you’re putting forward. If the big dream dies, your business will die.