In America, when you announce that you want to start a small business, most people will start talking about how you should write a business plan first. I generally agree with this advice – every small business does need a plan, however it is my belief that there are a few steps that should be taken before you invest the time and effort into a business plan.
You need a life plan before you even write a business plan. Why? Because you need to make sure that you know what you want out of life and then build a business around it. You personal goals and your business must align. Otherwise you could trade a soul-sapping job for a small business that feels like a noose around your neck. Take time to think about the entrepreneurial lifestyle first. Yes, you will have control over your schedule, but then you may need to work 16 hour days for weeks on end to get your new enterprise up and rolling. Are you ready for that?? You will need to get your arms around stuff like accounting, marketing, and operations, but before you dive into crunching numbers for your business plan, consider this:
Entrepreneurs who don’t get clear about what they want from life run the risk of starting a business that might not be a good business for them or their families.
A life plan is your personal strategic plan. Before you develop a business plan, you must know what you want out of life. Take the time to evaluate how you live. Then, develop a plan to achieve how you want to live. Other elements include things like “Where are you a rock star?” “What do you love to do?” “What do you not want to do?” And “What do you need to learn?” With the answers to these questions you will be clear about what your passions are and how you really need your life to work in order to be successful as an entrepreneur.
I feel so strongly about the value of a life plan I have developed a Life Planning Journal to help you develop one.
You will go from doing 2-3 jobs in corporate America to doing 10-13 jobs overnight for your own business and every job is important. The best way to stay motivated in your business is to know you are working towards your personal life goal.
To really get a good picture of your life plan as an entrepreneur, answer the following questions:
- What kind of lifestyle do you want to have as an entrepreneur?
- How big do you want your business to get in terms of profits and staff?
- Will you have employees?
- How many hours a week will you work?
- Do you need to meet the school bus every day or take off every Friday?
- Are you willing to work seven days a week? If so, how long can you keep that up?
- Will you need a partner and could you handle working with one?
- How will you fund your household while you start your business?
I have designed a74-page life planning journal to help you turn your personal goals into action plans, and remove any road blocks in your life. You will need to spend quality time with yourself to answer the thought provoking questions. This is an interactive, dynamic PDF where your input can be saved. My Life Planning Journal will help you develop a plan for your life and your small business.
With a life plan you will have a goal, and then you can develop a plan that will lead to professional success.
Do you have a life plan? Is it making your business planning easier?
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is one of America’s leading small business experts. As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach, she develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. As CEO of MFE Consulting LLC, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. Forbes Magazine recently named her one of the Top 20 women for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog www.succeedasyourownboss.com Melinda is also the author of the national bestseller Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works. (Adams Media 2010)