Why Business Plans Don’t Work For Entrepreneurs
Every great entrepreneur is, at heart, a man of action. In his mind, he sees himself to be like Superman or Iron Man, making him pretty blind to your own faults. That’s absolutely necessary. The fact is being an entrepreneur means you need to be a bit crazy. But nobody wants to do business with a crazy person so understandably entrepreneurs tone down their inner superhero to fit in.
Business plans are in place to give investors a sense of security. Hence, they try to test the person they are funding. Creating a business plan is just a test – a flight simulation, if you will. You need to spend some time flying inside the simulator, but don’t get caught up.
Every entrepreneur knows that things will go wrong in real life, and no business plan can save you then. What will save you is your ability to bounce back, adapt and fight. What will save you is being a real-life Iron Man.
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But why exactly do these business plans fail? And if you are to make one, what’s the best business plan possible? Let’s have a look.
The map is not the territory
Reading a map and following a business plan are quite similar. Looking at any map, you see the overall direction in which you need to go. The map however won’t show you the people on the street, the traffic lights you need to stop at, or the distractions you need to avoid along the way
It can only show you the different corners you need to take en route to your destination. Sure you need the map – for about 10 seconds. After that, it’s game on, and the actual enviroment will guide you.
Simulation Versus Real Life
What if there’s a crowd somewhere in between you and your destination? You’ll need to jump, dodge, run or slow down, depending on what’s actually in front of you. At some point, you’ll even need to forget the map. Will you stick with the plan and slowly work your way through the mob, or divert and look for a faster alternate route?
This is where you can see the difference between real entrepreneurs and wannabes. And there’s no right or wrong choice either. You’ll have to make that choice on the fly, considering the specific variables presented to you.
Fighting the tide
Going against the tide is how businesses make money. However, making their mark is where the real reward for entrepreneurs is.
Most of the time, that doesn’t go down well with the big VC firms as their priorities are protecting their assets and making a decent yearly profit. Still, if you are an entrepreneur your concern is offering the coolest product possible to as many people as possible. So how do you cope? You ride your own wave.
How to ride your own wave
Sure, you need to catch a good disruptive wave (a rising industry). But that’s as far as your business plan takes you. A quick glance at the map, a sight of a future rising wave and in you go like a brilliant surfer. Don’t second guess yourself either as you lose time.
I’m not saying you should invest heavily in this fashion. Start small, and see if it works. If you invest small, and start on multiple waves, you won’t drown when things go wrong. And eventually you’re bound to hit the Jackpot and make up for all the losses. So when you see a wave that keeps on rising, you focus on that entirely and disregard everything else.
That’s your one and only business plan. The overall goal of finding the right wave, creating the best possible product and bringing it to as many people as possible. All the rest are distractions and unecessary complications.
Just Do It
No real superhero entrepreneur wants to hear about complex forecasts of customer volume according to age groups, and how an increase of 2.5 percent for the marketing budget 3 years from now will convert more young people into buyers. That’s for people concerned about profit.
So if you can, start by not putting yourself through the ordeal of having to construct such estimations. In the words of Sir Richard Branson: “Screw It, Let’s Do It!”
If it’s that simple, why doesn’t everybody do it? Well, it could be the multitude of insecurities and negative beliefs, which I’ll simply sum up as “fear of starting”. That is another reason not everybody is able to create a successful business.
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You need to Adapt To Win
Each superhero has their own flaws and weaknesses. Sometimes, the superhero even runs away. He also asks for help. He doesn’t just blindly rely on his superpowers. The lesson here is he doesn’t always stick with the original “business plan” of going in and using his powers to win the fight.
Adaptability is what makes a business work. Pivoting in crucial moments. Anticipating the future and adjusting your course accordingly make for a successful business.
So don’t believe the hype. Trust in Sir Branson. Forget your business plan. Business should be a fun sport. Yes, it can be a contact sport, but will a few bruises even matter when you know you’ll be smiling in the end?