The first time I wrote my business plan, I wondered to myself, "What will this business plan do for my business?" I mean, in theory, my business plan was describing what my business is and how it works, but actually turning that theory into practice seemed impossible. My business plan didn't come with a manual of instructions on how to implement it.
And when I worked with my clients on their business plans, there was a similar feeling of frustration.
"Why am I spending this time putting this document together, if there isn't a clear path to actually do something with it."
Now if you've ever felt this way, chances are you wrote a business plan a long time ago and then promptly lost it in your desk, never to see the light of day again.
And that's sad, because when you put all that effort into writing a business plan, you should get something out of it beyond just stuffing it in a desk and forgetting about it.
In fact, what you should get is a living document that evolves and changes as your business does, while also prompting you to take the necessary actions to actually grow your business.
And if you're not getting that from your business plan, then it isn't serving you.
Now I actually have a free class coming up on November 14th at 12 PM PST / 3 PM EST where I'll be going through module 1 of my Grow Your Business by Design class, in which I'll address this very issue and if that resonates with you, then I urge you to click the button below and sign up!
But right now I want to talk about a benefit of your business plan that no one really talks about.
What's that benefit?
Your business plan takes care of your business and you.
And when you don't have a business plan or you're not regularly working of off it, you're missing out on that benefit.
Now you're probably thinking, "He's gotta be crazy to believe a business plan takes care of anything." And I get why you might feel that way, but I want you to consider the radical notion that a business plan is actually an act of self-care for you and your business.
You read that right.
Because when you actively use your business plan, then you remove a ton of stress and distraction from your life and you get things done.
And who doesn't want that?
So the title of this article is 3 ways your business plan takes care of your business and you, so lets get into what each of those ways is.
1. When you are using your business plan, you are prioritizing the work that matters over the busy work that distracts.
So many business owners are doing busy work or jumping at the latest shiny object that crosses their path and its usually because they don't have any boundaries in place that focus them on the high priority work that will grow their business. Your business plan can be that boundary!
When you have a business plan in place, and you're actively working off it, you end up evaluating the work or shiny object or whatever else and compare it to your plan. And if the shiny object or work isn't in alignment with the plan and doesn't present an immediate and obvious benefit then it can be put on the backburner until it goes up in priority.
Best of all you're keeping your sanity and your wallet intact, because you're using your plan as boundary that keeps you accountable to what is best for you and your business.
2. When you work off your business plan you are keeping yourself accountable to the actions will grow your business.
We all need accountability, but when you're at the top of the business (or the only person in it) it can be hard to find that accountability. But if you're regularly working off your plan, then your business plan can hold you accountable, because every time you look at it or take an action based off of it, you're keeping yourself accountable to how you want to grow the business.
And with that accountability in place it can also help you evaluate your actions and determine if you are realistically making headway or deluding yourself. Your plan becomes an objective record that holds you to accounts and doesn't allow you to lie to yourself about your business or its viability.
And that is something we need, because it can be very easy to lie to yourself about your business. And it's not even that you're intentionally lying...it's just you want it to be successful. But your business plan won't lie to you and will hold you to account, which is sometimes just what's needed to help you make a necessary change in direction.
3. When you use your business plan you put into place the systems and processes that allow you to delegate and automate your business (and keep you sane).
A business without a plan is likely a business that doesn't have any systems or processes in place. Instead everything is being run by the seat of your pants, which is chaotic to say the least. And even if you have a plan, if you haven't looked at it in a long time, you may not have systems and processes in place that are up to date or accurate.
For example, a client I worked with had been in business for 15 years. He created a business plan a long time ago, but he hadn't looked at it in years. His operations was in shambles because no one knew who was responsible for what. Each of the employees were stepping on each others' toes, while also distracting him from taking care of clients or the business.
When I started working with my client on his business, we created an entirely new business plan and updated the responsibilities, processes and systems of the business. The result was the difference between night and day. Suddenly each of the employees knew what activities they needed to do and were no longer arguing with each other. His clients were happier and mostly important my client could focus on taking care of his business and himself because had systems and processes in place that automated the busy work.
Your business plan provides clarity and focus about what actions you need to take to grow your business as well as run it smoothly. If you don't have a business plan, or have one but haven't looked at in a while or you're working on one, but you feel like intimidated by the process, then join me in my FREE class on Tuesday November 14th at 12 PM PST / 3 PM EST, where I'll be walking you through how to create and implement a business plan. Click the button below to learn more.