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A business planViews: 200
Aug 13, 2007 4:40 am re: A business plan

Maria Marsala
IMO, you don't need a plan to be successful. I've met many business owners who are successful and never wrote a plan. Or they wrote one that is collecting dust.

However, there comes a day in the life of a business owner where they realize that they've come as far as they can and all they've been doing recently, or for a while, is putting out fires. They no longer do the things they enjoy doing and they're sick and tired of working that way.

I know. I work with plenty of folks in that state of mind ;) In fact, I just came back from a trip where I spent a day helping business owners create a plan they could live with.

Many solo, micro and small business owners are under the impression that business and marketing plans are just for start-ups. The truth is that plans are steering the growth business of all sizes, of companies, departments, employees internationally.

When I worked on Wall Street, I had a career plan and I had to plan daily. In fact, I was part of a team for a long time and we talked "plan" a few times a day.

But when I started my business I thought plans were for those who were going to need funding which was not me. I knew that my business would change, so why create something that would change?

I learned differently.

When I created my first plan all I did was take what was in rattling inside my head and put it down on paper. That was in 2000. I saw some things I didn't like about my business. And had I not written my plan, I'd not have the business I have now.

In fact, I liked the one-page plan process so much that later determined that I would no longer work with a client who wasn't willing to do one.

Before the plan when I worked with my clients, we did great things in piecemeal. Helped them grow their business and make money. However, when we create a plan together, since it contains the most critical things that will help them grow their business, and not "everything", I watched a shift occur. And as an extra bonus, I watched them catch some problems and mistakes before they caused $ problems. I watched them take out their plan and use it to help them make better decisions.

And I watch them change their plans, when they need to. Because they're monitoring their efforts online or in an MS Excel spreadsheet, like Paul is. The monitoring is what helps them catch things quicker -- the good, the bad and the ugly.

In 2003, when licensing became part of the one-page program, I jumped at the chance to become an affiliate.

Business Plans do change. However, what I've found is that if you create a plan today, based on what's critical to your success, and looking at the big and small picture, you'll fine tune it for about a year on a usual basis. Then after that, in most cases, it becomes a question of updating the numbers yearly and making minor changes based on where your business is at the time.

The process I use is called The One Page Business Plan. I don't use the book with my clients, they use software with templates instead. However, anyone who sees this post can go to amazon and purchase the right edition of book for them. There is a general creative entrepreneur edition, a consultants edition, a non profit edition and at the end of the year there will be a financial services edition.


Plan today and prosper tomorrow,

Maria Marsala
Business Operations Therapist



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