Every successful business owner will confirm: Building a business is an adventure. There are times when it is exciting, exhilarating and great fun.
You find out that you can really help people. You can really make a difference. People respect and love you.
And you respect and love yourself as well.
You are proud of what you have accomplished and how much you, and your bank account have grown.
And your family and friends are excited, too.
You can help them, support them, do fun things with them.
Your life is different since you have success.
Yes, it is truly an exciting and wonderful life.
What to expect, no matter how good and determined you are
But every successful business owner will also share with you that this is only a part of the big picture:
There are times when you realize that you are scared to death to move forward.
There are times when the next step in your business an life is uncomfortable.
There are times when you have to take a leap of faith, not knowing if it works out or not.
There are times when you have to admit that, despite your best efforts, you failed with your plan.
Both sides are a natural part of building a future in your own way.
There is no “quick get rich easy” system.
Everything you do needs to fit into a bigger picture that acknowledges your professional and personal growth, the growth of your outreach, your confidence and your skills.
Without a plan, you will feel like a boat bouncing in the ocean.
What a plan is not
A plan is not a non-negotiable, no nonsense, arm twisting list of demands and expectations, hard core deadlines and no mercy accountability.
What a plan is
A plan is your roadmap.
It helps you focus, so that you can reach your goals.
It tells you where to spend your time, which actions to take and which actions to take later.
It helps you make sure that you have your ducks in a row so you can reach your goal without winging it last minute.
Imagine you lived in Boston and wanted to go to Chicago.
Do you just get into your car and start driving, knowing that Chicago will come up eventually?
Of course not!
You don’t even start by getting into your car.
First you decide when you want to leave Boston, and when you want to be in Chicago.
You will set your priorities with regards to time and money:
Is your most important criteria that you only have a few morning hours to get there?
Do you have to be back at a certain time?
How much time do you have, and how important is it to you that you get there at a certain time?
If you have a business meeting, chances are that arrival times are non-negotiable.
If you want to visit friends or family, you may have more flexibility.
If Chicago is just one of many stops on a great, 3 week road trip adventure, you won’t care so much if you get there Mondays or Wednesdays.
The second decision you will need to make is, how much money you are willing to spend to get to your destination:
If it is a business trip, then you know that Time is money, and using an airplane is most likely the best choice for you.
If you travel with family, and would have to spend on 4 tickets, you might consider using your car, a greyhound bus or train.
All these decisions need to be considered before you even make the first step.
The earlier you make them, the better rates you will get on those bus or airline tickets.
When you use your car, this is not such an important criteria.
Do you begin to see the picture?
Now let’s say you decided to use your car to drive.
You know that the trip will be more adventurous. You have to find gas stations and restaurants, will encounter lots of people and possibly stay over night somewhere. You will have a story to tell.
You decide on the road you want to take, set your GPS and print out your map.
You fill the cooler with water and food and bring your coffee mug for refills.
You put your luggage in the trunk. Most likely you packed more than you would if you only had the overhead space in the airplane.
Then you start your trip.
You know that, if all goes well, yo have a certain number of hours to go, driving at a certain speed, taking a certain amount of breaks.
The adventure begins.
You may run into a traffic accident that puts you into a traffic jam.
You may meet someone at the gas station that tells you that the road you wanted to take has horrible rush hours and recommends a shortcut.
You may find yourself much more exhausted than you thought you would be and realize you need to rest.
You may find yourself so excited and in a good mood that you decide to skip lunch and just keep going.
You may see a sign to a sight that you always wanted to visit and decide to take a couple of hours to fulfill yourself that dream.
You may get a call from a client and need to find a parking lot to take a break and tend to her needs.
None of this will happen if you use the airplane.
However, you are in control, as you are driving.
If you choose the airplane, there is nothing you can do about delays, poor weather conditions and cancellations.
What if you didn’t have a plan?
If you didn’t have a plan, you would easily loose orientation. You would loose your goal. You would find yourself getting sidetracked by other destinations.
Did you see that sign to Orlando? That sign to New Orleans? These cities sound like so much fun!
If you didn’t have a plan, chances are you might take detours or even get completely of your goal, just to explore.
How to start getting a plan
First you need to know what you ultimately want.
This is not determined by what you believe you can have, should have or should do.
It needs to be an honest, deep felt desire to get something done, make a certain amount of money, live a specific life style (be clear you have enough details to make if feel real), or other variables that are truly important and non-negotiables for you.
Then, you reverse engineer, broken down into time segments, what it will take to get there.
Set your “must have’s” and your “Would be great to have, but not essential” goals.
Really do the math.
How much money will you need to create?
How much the will you need to spend?
How much can you invest?
What other resources do you have available.
When you have everything broken down into segments, you can prioritize your goals for the coming months.
Then stick with that plan.
And change what doesn’t work after you tried it.
Staying focused on a plan can be challenging at first.
Trust me, I had to learn this the hard – no – the VERY hard way! 🙂
But when you commit to doing whatever you decided to do and not stop until you reached your goal, you will find the blessings in having more money, more time, more confidence and more results.
What is your plan?
What help do YOU need?
I’d recommend to sit down and get serious about deciding and prioritizing how you want to get to Chicago, when, with whom and for how long.
Then prepare what needs to be prepared and KNOW that you will get there.
It is more fun like that.