Do You Need To Perfect A Business Plan To Get Started?

(you can also listen to the podcast version of this post)

Starting and growing a business can be a little intimidating. You might be tempted to think: “I’ll just wait until my business plan is ready and I know exactly how it’s all going to work.” But, the longer you wait, the longer you delay your dream. 

So, how much of a business plan does you really need as a new entrepreneur? 

The answer is: that depends on what you’re comfortable with. 

There are, of course, some things that come up in a business plan that are important to know right from the start, like: 

  • What are you offering? 
  • Who is your consumer? 
  • What problem does this solve for them?

Those questions are critical for aiming your effort – which, at the end of the day, is all you really need from a business plan – to aim your effort and ensure that you march forward in a specific and thoughtful direction. 

Sure, you may not know how it will go every step of the way. That’s normal. You: 

  • Have an idea of where you ultimately want to end up or what you want to achieve,
  • Know yourself, your skills, and what you have to work with, 
  • And, are willing to put in the time and effort to make it happen

Sometimes, that’s enough. 

321 Liftoff | Do You Need To Perfect A Business Plan To Get Started?

WHAT PERCENTAGE OF A PLAN?

There’s a scene in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy where the heroes are gathered together, debating their next move. Standing up, Peter Quill, played by Chris Pratt, shares: “I have a plan.”

Drax The Destroyer, follows up: “what percentage of a plan?” Quill responds: “I don’t know. 12%.” And, Rocket, the talking racoon, bursts into laughter, mocking him. 

Writing a business plan is less of a science than you might think. 

For some, 12% of a plan might be all they need. 

I have friends and colleagues who started with a name and a gmail address and that was enough. And, I also have friends and former clients who worked for months to get their business plan right – because that’s what was right for them based on what was going on in their lives at the time. 

In all cases, a business plan has to meet *your* needs. Yes, you. You are, after all, the one building this business. What do *you* need? 

But, if you’re feeling like you need to know that this will be a sure thing? Well, I’ve got some bad news – and a few other blog posts that might help change your mind. 

321 Liftoff | Do You Need To Perfect A Business Plan To Get Started?

AIM YOUR EFFORT

You can’t know how everything will play out, so don’t bother scripting out every single step. Things rarely go according to planned. That’s life. 

Instead, you just need enough clarity to be comfortable about where you’re going. Then, get moving. 

That doesn’t mean act aimlessly. It’s not about having no plan. Again, it’s about having a plan that aims you in the right direction.

So, how do you do that? 

How do you aim your effort? 

Remember this maxim, from author and acclaimed business researcher, Jim Collins: “stay true to why, but open to what and how it unfolds.”

Building a business is a creative process – you have to be flexible and fluid and capable of rolling with the punches. 

For that to be true, there are parts of your plan that need to be quite firm, so that when you hit an obstacle, you can quickly get back on course by remembering why it matters to do so:

After that, answer questions like the ones that kicked off this article: 

  • What are you offering? 
  • Who is your consumer? 
  • What problem does this solve for them?
321 Liftoff | Do You Need To Perfect A Business Plan To Get Started?

CREATE AN IMPERFECT BUSINESS PLAN

I believe your business plan needs to be more of a platform for your creativity and less of a 20 step plan that details financials and logistics. 

Yes, at some point along your journey, you will need those kinds of details. I’m not saying skip those completely. 

I’m saying don’t start there. Don’t put those hard limits on your imagination. Dream first, then figure out what has to be true in order for that dream to be a reality. 

Let go of the idea of a “perfect” plan and start wrapping your head around an “imperfect” plan – one that meets *you* right where you’re at. 

How much of a plan do *you* need?

ONE MORE THING

Starting and growing a business is not a straight line.

It can feel messy. It zigs and zags. It starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok.

It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself.

And, that’s why it’s worth it.

1 thought on “Do You Need To Perfect A Business Plan To Get Started?

  1. This is so good and such an encouragement! I feel like I am great at this concept at work but not so much at my personal life or business!

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