February 21st, 2012
Every guy has tried at least once to drive somewhere without a map. Itâ€™s in our genes. We donâ€™t need to stop for directions because â€œif we just drive down this road a little further, weâ€™ll come to something we recognizeâ€.
In spite of all the teasing we guys get about not stopping for directions, the same is true with women â€“ women in business at least. Experts have determined that men and women alike often fail in business because they fail to have a roadmap.
In short, they donâ€™t know where they are going and if you donâ€™t know where you are going, you canâ€™t know how to get there! Those few who do succeed, get there more by accident than design and all that does is leave a bad example for the rest of us.
Call it what you want: A Business Plan, a roadmap, a set of goals and objectives. Whatever you call it, the product is the same â€“ a clear and precise design of where you are now and how you plan to get to where you want to be in a specified amount of time â€“ a roadmap.
Roadmaps can be tricky. My wife couldnâ€™t read a roadmap to save her life â€“ some people canâ€™t. But if you want to succeed in business, you better learn. Your life does depend on it â€“ your business life that is.
If you are just thinking about going into business, donâ€™t do anything until you have created a real, workable business plan. I know itâ€™s difficult but do it anyway. Donâ€™t spend a dime until you have it.
If you are already in business, my guess is, like most of us, your business has hit a plateau. The economy is whipping your proverbial butt. You probably know you need to do something fast but just donâ€™t know what it is.
Well, here it is: You need a plan â€“ a roadmap. An honest evaluation of where you are now and where you want to be in say, five years. Now, break that down into five one-year segments and begin filling a list under each year. The list might include hiring a new employee (mine did) or paying off debt or expanding your showroom or work area. Adding a new process to your existing business is always a good way to expand by selling more products to your existing customers. Whatever it is you need to do, file it under one of the five lists (donâ€™t put them all under the first year, that wonâ€™t work). Spread things out so they are truly attainable.
Thatâ€™s your roadmap. Now that you know where you want to be at the end of this year, you can start going there. Start out slow and careful but start. Sure, there will be times you will have to make changes in your roadmap. Every roadmap is filled with distractions, detours and construction zones. Still, you should feel good because you have at least gotten started on your journey.
In time, you will see some things you can mark off your list â€“ things completed. That is always a time for celebration and a pat on the back. Donâ€™t play them down â€“ they are important. Each one is the beginning of the next step. First one step, then two, then three. Before you know it, you will look back and be amazed at how far you have come.
Donâ€™t want to create a roadmap for your business? Good, that just makes it easier for people like me to come in and take your business away from you because that is part of my roadmap. â€œUse it or lose itâ€, the old adage goes. Itâ€™s up to you.