If You Dread Planning Your Startup, Don’t Start It 0

Earlier today I had one of those light bulbs go off in my head. I’m referring to those times when you’re reminded of something you already knew, but had forgotten. In my case today it was this: planning your new business, the one you’re thinking of starting, ought to be fun. Planning isn’t about writing some ponderous homework assignment or dull business memo, it’s about that business that you want to create. It should be fascinating to you … what do people want, how are you going to give it to them, how are you different, what do you do better than anybody else …

Honestly, isn’t that related to the dreaming that makes some of us want to build our own businesses? It was for me, every time, including those that made it and those that failed. Dreaming about the next thing I wanted to do was always part of it. Dreaming is related to looking forward, anticipating, and — in this case — business planning.

This came up this morning during my second day of video sessions for SBTV, which has been filming me on starting and managing a business, and business planning. I was answering Beth Haselhorst‘s question Tim on SBTV
relating starting a business to getting out of the cubicle when I realized that I was in danger of forgetting that business planning is part of the dreaming and part of the fun.

I think what’s important is that none of us should be intimidated by business planning because of what I’ve called the not so big business plan, or the point I made in this blog last month about starting anywhere you like. The business plan is a way to lay out your thoughts and think it through — it shouldn’t be some dull ponderous task you have to get through.

If thinking through the core elements of your business, or for that matter the details of your business, isn’t interesting, then get a clue. You’re not really looking forward to it. Do you not want to do it?

Remember, you don’t have to do the whole plan all at once. One of the most common and damaging myths about planning is that you are supposed to work only on your business plan until you finish that plan. To the contrary, you should be enjoying thinking about the market, what you do well, how you want to focus, what sales might be, what costs might be, and so forth; and you should be writing some of that down, simple and without a lot of intimidation, just write it down and save it and then do something else. You start your plan wherever you want to, and you start using it the next day, and you don’t worry about exactly when it is formally done, because it never will be. Just get going, but enjoy the thinking and planning while you do.

If you dread the planning of your next vacation, stay home. If you dread the planning of your new startup, don’t start it.

About the Author Tim Berry is the founder of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry. Follow Tim on Google+ Read more »

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