One concept I tend to be over zealous about is karma. Karma isn’t some sort of cosmic luck, it’s really just a word that translates to “Outcomes.” Good karma is just another way of saying good outcome. So imagine my sarcastic joy when this direct quote was waiting in my in-box this morning.
“They want a business plan, marketing plan and everything in between. I guess if you spend that much time doing this you should be rewarded … to pay for the headache of doing this!”
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for you if the stars align and you’re an overnight success, but there’s only so much you can do with your budding business if you don’t understand the outcomes of the decisions you’ll have to make along the way. A business plan is that worksheet that allows you to look at many of the decisions you’ll be faced with so you can pick the good and minimize the bad.
Maybe it wold help if we thought about growing a business from a hobby if we didn’t use standard business imagery. Instead, let’s think of business in terms of baseball so we can get a little better idea of what the stages of success might look like.
There are hobbies that make a little money on the side. These businesses can be thought of like playing little league. You win some, you lose some, but in the end it’s about enjoying yourself and going for an ice cream cone with the team.
Formalizing your Small business is like joining the farm team. When you play at this level, you can call yourself a professional, but not everyone who plays makes enough money to support themselves, nor will everyone be called up to the majors. (Sorry, kid. Maybe next season.)
Another consideration is that the mentality changes too. At this level you’re not playing just for fun anymore. Yes, you may still enjoy the game, but the highs of winning are offset with the knowledge that if you have too many loses you’re going home.
Growing a small business into a big one is like making it to the Major Leagues. But even then, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be like Randy Johnson and pitch effectively for over 20 years.
Ok, so I can’t stay on the Baseball thing forever, but I hope you can see how the steaks are constantly going up, while at the same time, the number of successful participants is going down. You also need to see that talent and luck can only carry you so far.
The economy, customer preference and your competition fluctuate. Those without a plan and the ability to look ahead and revise those plans usually don’t advance to the next level.
So don’t think of your plan as a a pain in your butt. Think of it as a function of getting where you want to be while also helping you stay away from the bad outcomes.