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09 chapter 9: Business Plan and Focus

You've seen the books, you've seen the software- must you have a business
plan?

Yes. But perhaps not for the reasons you think. I like a business plan as a
tool to organize my thoughts and goals. No planning = no success. Your
eventual achievements may bear no relationship to your initial plan. But it
helped you get there.

Focus is everything. My downfall has always been being interested in too many
things, it is hard to pick one or two. If I had nine lives to live all at
once, they may be enough. So I write a plan, with daily, weekly, monthly,
quarterly, yearly, five-year, ten-year, and 20-year milestones. The way my
life has unfolded has not been according to plan! But it keeps me focused and
productive.

This doesn't have to be a hideously huge, overwhelming project. Make an
outline:

20-year
10-year
5-year
1-year
q3
q2
q1
1 month
1 week
today

I do skills and financial goals, and what kind of customer I want to target.

I carry it with me and make notes as fabulous inspirations strike. I take
about thirty minutes once a week to review and think. I have my circle of
trusted advisors (friends, CPA, SCORE coach) that I touch base with once a
month.

Using business plan software or books is good- they will bring up things you
never would have thought of on your own.

Yes, you are right, it's a lot of work. Running even a small consulting
business requires a wide-ranging skill set. It's a lot more fun than
mastering how to survive in corporate la-la land. Everything you do,
everything you learn contributes directly to your own success and happiness,
not someone else's.

I've been rather slack about giving homework. Here is homework: write
yourself a business plan. Anyone who wants to share theirs, welcome.
--
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Carla Schroder, Bratgrrl Computing
Plain English Spoken Here
www.bratgrrl.com
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