To fly without a place to land… or drive to an unknown destination without a map just sounds crazy, doesn’t it? In the age of GPS, it’s so easy to pick a location and go. Would you drive to a new client’s house without an address?
The 2011 APSE Pet Sitter Industry Survey showed that only about 50% of people have a written plan of where they want their business to go. However, almost everyone had an idea of where they want their business to land. In the book ‘What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School‘ by Mark McCormick, it shows that 13% of graduates who had goals were earning about twice as much as the 84% with no goals at all. Even more specific, the 3% who had clear-cut written goals we earning 10 times as much as the other 97% PUT TOGETHER. Many other studies further prove that if you write down your goals, you have a better chance at success… and you will go much further.
Fine I’m convinced. I wrote it. Now what?
Making a business plan is like sitting in a parked car with the GPS programmed, but not yet turning the key. You know where you want to go, so all you have to do is drive there. Easy, right? Usually driving can be the hardest part. It’s where the most danger is: accidents, crazy drivers, other distractions like phone calls, passengers, and the list goes on… Despite the millions of things that CAN happen, somehow we plug away until we get to our destination.
We look ahead for problems that might stop us and be defensive drivers to get there safely.
We use a GPS or our internal GPS constantly and usually without trepidation. Yes, sometimes we might not follow the GPS. (I’m still hoping for an avoid ghetto button.) Regardless, we do whatever we can to reach our destination.
Your business mindset should be similar. You map out where you go & not knowing HOW to get there, you do what it takes to get there… and on (usually) time. Pressing the gas where you need to, stopping when needed, possibly even changing the route (or asking for directions) to make a smoother journey or to avoid unnecessary congestion. Usually pretty simple… but we’re used to it.
Remember the first few times you drove? Eventually, you comfortable and gained confidence. It’s the same with business.
A few weeks ago, I was in Boston for a funeral of my friend’s daughter. Right before the service began my friend’s cousin, looking a bit frazzled, arrived. She had just driven from New York to Boston without a map or a GPS through rush hour. She had never been in this area of Boston and had a vague understanding of where this specific town was. Before she began her journey, she jotted down how she THOUGHT she should get there and she let her internal compass pointed her to about 4 blocks from the funeral home. From there, she asked directions.
There is no GPS for business to tell you the exact moves to make. If you ever want to leave your driveway and end up in the right place you need to write down how you best think to get somewhere and ask for directions when you get stuck.
No matter how good your internal compass, those who plan accordingly before they begin their journey get there sooner.
Even if it is hard to take time to plan, it will be worth it in the end.
Best wishes in your success,