Our guest contributor for today’s article is Cynthia Riggs, MBA, also known as The Biz Diva. Her mission is to mentor women in business to take action to reach their highest, most fulfilling and profitable business potential. As a business development consultant and successful entrepreneur, she has 30+ years of insight and experience to share. We asked her to give us some pointers about business plans, and how we can use them to grow our divorce businesses.
How important is it to have a business plan?
As the old saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s very difficult to get there”. It’s critically important to think about what you are trying to create in your business, and determine your path to getting there. That’s what a good business plan can do for you.
I built a multimillion-dollar manufacturing and retail company, which I sold 11 years ago. At that point I became a business consultant for women entrepreneurs. Knowing what was lacking in my business, I searched for a business plan template I could use with my clients and was lucky enough to find Jim Horan’s The One Page Business Plan. I felt like I had discovered business plan paradise! Had I known about the One Page Business Plan when I was building my company, it would have helped me to build quicker and bigger with less stress.
A business plan helps you consciously chart a course to achieve your goals. You can use it to leverage your strengths, overcome obstacles, and focus on the next steps toward attaining your next level of success. I encourage my clients to identify exactly what they want to have happen in their business and develop a 1-year plan in conjunction with their long-term vision. Then we break it down into what must be done in the next few months to work toward the goals of that plan.
Does every business owner need a business plan?
It would be beneficial for every business owner to have a plan, but not everyone wants to invest the time and energy. Some people think they can just go along and see what happens. But for best results in your business, I highly recommend having one. People who understand the value of making a commitment and holding themselves accountable will benefit the most from a business plan.
What is The One Page Business Plan?
It is not the type of business plan that one would submit to a bank or investor in order to get funding. That traditional plan would have a lot of financial data and planning – and would most likely end up in some desk drawer never to be seen again. The One Page Business Plan is for the business owner; it is more operations oriented. It’s a roadmap that pushes you to a higher level of thinking, and helps you focus on what you really need to build your business. It’s all about alignment – aligning your actions with your goals.
I ask my clients to plan their 3-year or 5-year vision for their business, and then make a 12-month plan for the steps needed to move forward into that long-term vision. When first starting out, I recommend that they review and update their One Page Business Plan every month and once more established, review and update at least quarterly to remove items already achieved and plan for the next steps. It’s a living, breathing document, one that changes as progress is made. I also suggest that they print a copy of their One Page Business Plan and put it in a Plexiglas stand next to their computer where they will see it every day to remind them of their goals and action plan.
How can business owners learn how to create their One Page Business Plan?
I have been a certified One Page Business Plan consultant since 2004. I help people create their plan with a live webinar series, and also give 1-day workshops around the Bay Area, mostly in the North Bay. For members of the Divorce With Dignity Network, I will be offering One Page Business Plan training during their December and January conference calls. I will answer any questions, and will provide access to a sample plan that would apply to their Divorce With Dignity business – no need to start from scratch.
If you are a Divorce With Dignity business owner, I encourage you to attend the conference calls to get this valuable training. If you are not a member of our Network, you might consider joining! Please visit our website to discover the many benefits (including our monthly training conference calls) available to our Network members.
The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice. The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned. Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions.