Do You Need a Business Plan?

I’ve been having this discussion on Linked In about whether a start up company needs a business plan or not. If you ask any Ivy League MBA you will probably hear that you absolutely do need one. And you need to spend thousands of dollars to have someone smarter than you put one together.

entrepreneur's business plan

entrepreneur's business plan

But if you ask my friend Oliver who owns a print shop or the dog groomers around the corner or my acupuncturist, they would tell you they never had one. I’ve run 3 businesses and have never written a formal business plan. One of them is an international manufacturing company and I’ve never had a business plan for it. Once I had already been in business for years I was planning to expand and needed to raise money. That’s the only time I have put anything down on paper, but it still wasn’t a business plan, more like a presentation with corporate bios and projections of how many would be sold, etc.

I took that presentation out of the closet and read through it. 90% of what was in it wasn’t even true anymore. None of my employees are with me anymore because of the downturn in the economy. So, what I thought my business was going to be, which was sales reps and full time employees, wasn’t even close to what I ended up with. Now I have distributors who are independent and simply buy the product from me and get marketing and PR support. [Read more…]

Networking During the Holidays

I love the holidays. But maybe not for the same reason employees like them. When you work for yourself it’s harder to shut off the entrepreneur brain. I like the fact that everything in life is a chance to learn something new. And when I learn a new skill I’m compelled to either figure out a way to make money with it, or pass the new knowledge on to others, or both. It’s just in my DNA.

networking during the holidays

networking during the holidays

I like the fact that there’s no traffic on holidays, and things are quiet. Since no one’s in their office I can’t make any phone calls or be distracted by other stuff. I can putter around the office and get creative. I can write all day long without the phone ringing, and catch up on files that have been sitting on my desk for months.

But I did take some time off today and head to a BBQ where I really didn’t know a lot of people. Since I always have the curious brain turned on, I thought this would be a good time to test out some networking skills and see what happens. I decided to hone my listening skills, which is something most people need to improve on, myself included. Since I wasn’t there to impress anyone or plug a project or get a job, I simply asked questions and listened. I would seriously recommend doing this. By forcing yourself to focus on it you’ll realize how much you really do need to improve and how much you can learn if you take the time to listen to others. [Read more…]