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Opinion: Write a business plan in a weekend

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Congratulations. You have a business. It’s an American dream. However, it’s sucking the life out of you. No time, not enough money, and too many headaches.

Want to fix it? You can. You can change your business – and your life. It’s a matter of thinking new thoughts and taking aligned action. But you better get going. The older we get, the faster time goes. We are just too old to waste time.

There are plenty of six- or eight-week programs to help entrepreneurs hammer out their business plans.

I’ve been thinking. What if you didn’t want to take six weeks? What if you wanted to power it out during a weekend?

What if we condensed the process of business planning? From Friday evening to Sunday evening, you could think about and clarify your vision for your ideal business. You could lay out the inspired action that will move you in that direction – profitably, without draining your time and energy for no real reward and without creating a pile of debt. And you could hit the ground running on Monday.

Want to help me test this? Why not clear out a weekend and follow this game plan. Prove that you can take charge of your time and commit to 48 hours of focused thought and action. If you can pull that off, you will increase your confidence that you can make sweeping changes in your life. Ready to go?

Here’s your agenda for the weekend:

-Friday evening – go to the office supply store or check your office for the following items: a 1-inch three-ring binder – get a nice one because your business plan is going inside; 100 sheets of paper – so you can create a few drafts of each exercise; and a set of write-on tabs to “tab up” your business plan – six or eight come in a package.

-Rise and shine, think and plan. On Saturday and Sunday, flesh out the business plan, and put it in your binder. These are the essential elements of a sound business plan. Tab up your binder accordingly. And start writing by answering these questions:

The mission – why should this business exist? What’s the purpose?

The elevator speech – how can you communicate to your customers what problems you solve, differently and better than anyone else?

Your goals – what do you want to achieve this coming year? The next year?

The organizational chart – who can help? What would they do for you?

The financial plan – how will this business make money and how much? How much will you need to charge to make it work?

The marketing plan – how can you get enough of the right calls, at the right time, from the right customers?

The Top 10 projects – What projects could you energize that would help solve your most pressing problems or capitalize on your most compelling opportunities?

The executive summary – how can you communicate all this on one page? You’ll be showing this to investors, team members, a spouse or partner. It will help you gain clarity about what you want and how you are going to get it.

Have fun on this business-planning adventure.

Ellen Rohr is an author and business consultant who offers systems for getting focused and organized, making money and having fun in business. Rohr wrote “The Bare Bones Biz Plan,” a six-week program for creating a business plan, and is currently writing The Weekend Business Plan. She can be reached at
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