Can you believe the first quarter of the year is almost over?! When you look at your business, the amount of money you’ve earned, the number of new clients you’ve added, are you 25% to where you want to be for the year? If not, why not? And what do you plan to do about it?

I’m sure you’ve heard the adage, “If you’re failing to plan, you’re planning to fail.” And you probably thought, “Gee that’s clever, a little corny, but it doesn’t really apply to me.” Well, I urge you to think again.

I work with a lot of independent professionals and self employed business people, and over the years I’ve noticed a definite commonality amongst those who are very successful, and those who are continuing to struggle – my most successful clients always have a plan.

I realize that many entrepreneurs get scared by the term business plan. They imagine some monstrous document with multiple appendices that lands with a thud on their banker’s desk. And at first, some new clients are hesitant to spend their time creating a business plan. They claim their business is too little, they don’t need bank funding, there’s no need for a business plan. Sound familiar?

While it’s true that I have created business plans that ended in million + dollar bank financing, when coaching my entrepreneurial clients, this is not what I mean when I suggest creating a business plan. Since, chances are, you don’t intend to get bank financing what you really need is an easy to understand, concise plan that you can refer to often.

As an entrepreneur, I bet you’re constantly getting distracted, bombarded from every direction (I know I am). You need a plan that can map out your business activities and help you set goals and objectives. You need something that’s easy to read and that will keep you on track when those million distractions and “next great ideas” keep popping up.

So I challenge you to sit down this weekend and start creating your simple business plan. Just grab a few sheets of paper and briefly outline exactly where you want to be in nine months and exactly how you plan to get there. Don’t worry about grammar or sentence structure or spelling; this is for your eyes only.

And then – and this is the most important step – pull your plan out and review it each morning. Take five minutes to ask yourself, “Do the things I’m going to do today fit into this plan and how will they bring me closer to where I want to be in nine months?”

Action Item – Don’t get scared off by the thought of creating a business plan. Instead, start small by creating your mission statement. Just answer these three questions:

  1. What is the purpose of your company – what needs are you trying to fulfill?
  2. What is the business of your company – what are you doing to fulfill those needs?
  3. What are the values of your company – what are your guiding principles and beliefs?

Now, take those answers and in one concise paragraph, explain what you do, why you do it and what you stand for. And viola, your mission statement is done!

Now, go find some more clients!