I’ve written many a business plan and many more project plans.
I’m not a natural planner, and despite my former role where I was in charge of booking calendars and scheduling for leadership and high-profile visitors at ALU, I still might schedule something on our family calendar for next Tuesday when it’s happening a week from Monday.
I’m not naturally organized. My maid of honour, once complimented me with, “You taught me that you can be a good host without having a tidy house”.
I have to create systems. And one of my systems is writing an ideal scene - I wish I could credit whoever put the practice into my head - I’m sure I didn’t come up with it.
When I start something, a project, event, business, or idea I write up an ideal scene - essentially it’s the step before the plan. It makes it clear what I’m trying to accomplish in concrete ways, it allows me to make the big decisions first, before creating all the details of a project plan.
For those of you whose brains shut down at the thought of writing a business plan or pitch deck let me give you the gift of the ideal scene.
Before I opened Sarah Boutique in 2006 I took out a drawing pad with no lines on it and wrote 5 pages free hand with no outline of what this boutique would be. There were little details in there: what our boutique would mean to our ideal customer; how it would improve their life; how many jeans we would sell a day; the feel of the wallpaper displays; how people would find us; and how we would keep them coming back.
This was my business plan. I also did P&L, cash flow, and Capex projections, but those were pretty easy once I had the five handwritten pages. Most of the big decisions had already been made.
Two groups of people need to do this ‘business plan’:
You are currently working for yourself in some way
You have an idea you’ve been toying with - maybe for months, maybe years
A surprising number of people start businesses without a plan and just as many DON’T start because they are scared of making a plan.
The world needs more micro, social, circular, local, and genuinely good businesses. We are going to teach you how to make a business plan.
To get started you can write you're ideal scene. Get a journal or digital document out. Imagine your life in 10 years and include your dream business in this vision. Start writing as if you're already there. What is your business like? What is your day like, who are you working with, what are your clients like? Play with it; allow yourself to dream a bit; get detailed if you can.
“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.”
― Gloria Steinem
Laura and I have a tool for creating your ideal scene.
Join us for our February challenge to get your plan onto paper. When you sign up, you’ll get our tool to create your ideal scene.