Before the captain sets out to sea from San Diego to Hawaii, he ensures that the cruise liner has enough fuel to make the trip. If he ignores his compass and doesn’t plan his route to reach the final destination, the ship could end up thousands of miles from Hawaii with angry passengers and no fuel. In business, you don’t want end up in the middle of nowhere.
To make sure you land in your own personal paradise, you need to know that the end depends upon the beginning when you're creating your small business plan. Here are some very practical recommendations for you to consider.
- Decide on the “End” and Backtrack
Make sure that when you create a plan for your small business, you start the planning process by deciding what you want the end result to be. From this “end”, work backwards to determine all of the steps necessary to reach that final result.
- Get the Right People Involved
In our experience, the best way to ensure successful end results is to surround yourself with the finest people you can find. In many cases, having the best people on board has been more valuable than having the “best idea.” The reason this is important to point out is because many times an idea that is really exciting or appealing at one point in time has to change or evolve to meet market conditions or pressures, and the success that you ultimately obtain may have nothing to do with the original idea you had for your business. Therefore, what will get you there is the right group of people who can help you act and react all along the way to this very dynamic environment.
- Regular Gut Checks
Force yourself to hold regular gut-check meetings with your team and with yourself. In these meetings, make sure that your startup business is focused on doing the right things to stay on course for the desired destination. These meetings should occur quarterly at a minimum. In fact, when we are in the throes of the startup phase, we meet every two weeks as a team because there is a lot of information coming in and so much learning happening very rapidly. The new data often influences how you plot the course ahead.
- Ask Yourself about Retirement
If you’re anything like us, you’ll probably never retire, so just play along with this one! Ask yourself what you would like to do in retirement? Sometimes it’s hard to answer this question. However, even the most general sense of what your vision is for your later adult years can provide an indication of what you will need to achieve in your business in order to provide the lifestyle you seek in “the end.”
- What is your Risk Level?
Ask yourself what you’re willing to invest, risk, and put yourself through in order to achieve your desires in later years. What kind of lifestyle will you have and what will you need to give up to get what you want out of your business at retirement? These are important things to consider now.
- Accept a Different Ending
Understand that business, as with most things in life, is dynamic. Accordingly, you need to be prepared to constantly reconsider exactly what you want your end result to be and to readjust your strategies to get there. Further, you need to be prepared to accept a different end to your business exploits than you expected. After all, the mystery is half the fun of life!
When you start a business, it’s important to think about the final result. Think of yourself as the captain of a ship. Would you rather be sipping an umbrella drink on Maui or crying “May Day!” from an uncharted location in the middle of the ocean? Look ahead in your small business plan and you’ll be more likely to see a happy ending in your future.