So you've had your "eureka" idea, you've chosen your brand name, briefed your web designer and ordered a bunch of Business Cards from MOO. Now you need to get your long-term business plan sorted before launching your idea, right?
Well, it doesn't have to be that way. If you're looking to take your business idea to market quickly and most effectively, try 'unplanning' your business instead.
It's a mindset that encourages entrepreneurs to launch and test their ideas in the market, rather than get stuck in over-analysis, planning and forecasting. It's about Business Doing vs. Business Planning.
Of course, you still need goals and objectives. But in this ever-changing world you might not have a linear plan for how to get there. After all who can predict how things will look in five months, let alone five years? So businesses have to be agile, prepared to rethink and reinvent what they do and how they do it. How can you plot on a business plan those random opportunities you spotted on Twitter or that new client you accidentally met in the coffee shop?
1) ACTION. Speed to market can give you that competitive edge, so don't waste time pouring over spreadsheets. Instead, make it happen, focus on getting your business out there.
2) TEST. Prototype your idea: launch it, test it and tweak it 'live' in the marketplace. If you have a web-based business you can often monitor, get feedback and adapt your offering overnight.
3) FLEXIBLE. Be open to change: embrace random opportunities and be prepared to take left turns along the way.
4) TOOLS. Use apps and online tools like PayPal, Twitter and crowdsourcing to launch, test and promote your ideas faster.
5) GUT. Trust your instinct and not a spreadsheet in making decisions; it might be the best tool you've got.
For the "I have an idea" generation, unplanning can be liberating. In researching my free e-book (that you can grab here) I spoke to entrepreneurs and CEOs. Many confessed that 'planning is actually guessing', sharing the belief that success is about trying out ideas in the market, not building theoretical models. David Heinemeier Hansson told me how he'd built his software company 37signals without a long term strategic plan: "We rely heavily on instinct. An instinct that has been developed and formed from a decade in business. Some times careful analysis is helpful, but often times you're just trying to justify what your instinct is already telling you. Why not follow that straight from the get go?"
So if you're struggling with how to progress your business idea or paralysed by spreadsheets, business plans and projections maybe it's time to Unplan? You can plot elaborate theoretical models all day long, or you can have the guts to try your business out in the real world. So grab your MOO Cards and get unplanning!
Ian Sanders is a business coach, marketing expert and author, with twenty years' experience in business: ten years in organisations and ten years working for himself. He's helped both big brands and small enterprises with the launch of new ventures, taking ideas to market. At The Ian Sanders Company, he acts as a 'business potentialiser' helping clients stay distinctive and effective. Ian revels in disrupting conventional thinking on business and the workplace. He's author of "Leap! Ditch Your Job, Start Your Own Business & Set Yourself Free" and "Juggle! Rethink Work, Reclaim Your Life".