Entrepreneurs: Plan for Success
Remember when all you needed to stir something deep within you was your business idea? Remember in the early stages of being your own boss when you bounced out of bed, eager to get going? I remember the romance of doing what I love, what I was born to do. As soon as I was awake, I would taste it, feel it, breathe it. It exuded from every pore in my body. Now after a couple of years, the passion is almost non-existent because I’m deluged with the details of running a business. I’m no longer doing what I love and I’ve learned why. I didn’t plan for success. If fact, I didn’t plan at all.
Here are my revelations:
1. Don’t be so blinded by the passion that you don’t envision growth
2 If you have a business idea and the passion, you must have a plan to grow the business.
3 Have processes in place
4 Have personnel to make the processes work
5 You can’t plan for prosperity alone
1. I started my business while I was working full-time. Then I transitioned into working the business full-time. In the beginning, I didn’t have many clients so I managed the book-keeping, invoicing, administration, marketing, sales and delivery of the service. I was thrilled to be developing and delivering workshops and presentations all day long. In my naivety, I thought that’s all I’ll be doing for the rest of my life. I truly didn’t think that I was running a business. Even though I always said to everyone that I’ll be successful, I never thought about anything other than what I was passionate about.
2. When I started full-time with the business, I had many clients that first year and I was thrilled. I was in my zone. I was still in the romantic phase of my business. The first year merged with the second year and I was getting disillusioned because I wasn’t doing what I love. I knew what I wanted to do but my goals kept shifting. The frustration was a blessing in disguise. It was the catalyst that yanked me out of my dreamy state to look at my business as a business.
3. Even though I was jack of all trades in the beginning, there was no process in place to expedite routine tasks. It’s challenging to get these routine tasks done in a timely manner while developing, rehearsing and delivering the service paid for. These were not my areas of expertise or even strengths. I wanted to build a business empire and have loyal following. These signify growth. With growth comes the necessity to have processes for marketing, administration, accounting, database management to start with. I had a large client base and wasn’t maximizing it. I can’t have a loyal following if I’m not engaging them.
4. A growing business and systems in place are useless without personnel. I can quite easily mess up an accounting system, an excel spreadsheet, simple update to the website even a word document. I know my strengths but most importantly I know my limitations. Even if I learned what was needed, my abilities would have been curtailed by my limited knowledge.
5. “A man cannot sit down alone to plan for prosperity.” Nigerian Proverb.
I now realise that I didn’t know enough to make long-term plans. My vision is only stretched in one direction – my area of expertise. For my business to expand and succeed, it needs people with other areas of expertise.
Almost two and a half years after becoming my own boss and after my recent awakening, the plans I have are concrete and are the result of feedback from clients, discussions with business advisors and the willingness to be open-minded. Processes are being developed by the people with the expertise. I’m no longer the only employee. I’m in the company of people who believe in what I do, who see the potential in what I do and who are making sure I don’t venture into areas I know little of.
Now it’s up to me to re-ignite my passion and do only what I love to do. Isn’t life grand!