I recently decided to test out my client Business Plan process - on myself.
It would be an experiment on two fronts: initially to test the user experience and flow of the process and second, as a test case for a side business I have been considering for some time now.
So laptop in hand, and a spare couple of hours - off I went.
As my clients do, I started with the Input Questionnaire that includes typical sections of vision, strategy, strategic differentiators, target customers and the like - and I began writing about my new business idea.
Low hanging fruit of vision, differentiators and brand strategy (thanks in large part to my pre-work with Zen&Inno (www.zenandinno.com), came easily and spurred me on to tackle the business description and competitive analysis.
The clock was at now at four hours and I was stuttering and spluttering the further I got into the questionnaire.
What was becoming obvious was that I didn’t have clear and convincing answers as to why this business venture was viable - and more precisely – Why? I was considering the financial, physical and emotional commitment of a new business venture in the first place.
“Shit! What’s the deal here?”
I’d been yapping about this cool idea for a while now; interviewed a dozen people about the concept, completed two strategy sessions and had built a name and brand mantra. However, as I began the business plan I realized that all of this visionary work was the easy part, the fun part. I was now into the operational weeds of a new venture that prompted the underlying question “Are you interested or are you committed”?
Although a strong business proposition, without an understanding of the deeper strategic importance in my own life – my personal ‘Why’ if you like - there is (at least for now) a disconnection between idea and full execution. And so, at this end of 2017, it remains a ‘Nice to Have’ and not a ‘Need to have’.
It’s a bittersweet experiment.
While I’m pretty miffed that I’ve spent significant time on something I’m not moving forward with, I am pleased that my business plan process did exactly what it is supposed to do: provoke strategic thinking and filter out need vs. want - and interest vs. commitment.
So if you’re walking the intrepid new business venture path that I’ve been on of late, take the time now to investigate your idea with a thorough business plan process - and flush out your level of interest or commitment.
Best to you and yours in 2018.