Life Plan Before Business Plan

Life Plan Before Business PlanThis blog post kicks off a three part series on Start-up Success for Small Business Trends.  This first blog post is about a step in business planning that is often overlooked.  Part II, we’ll look at “Working from home?” and Part III will be about the “Top reasons why start-up businesses fail and what you can do about it.”

Many people dream about owning a small business. You may be one of those people who have had a “notion” for years that someday you would be president of a company, successful beyond your wildest dreams. Turning that dream into reality is an evolutionary process. It involves not only having a solid business idea but also knowing the “business of running a business.”  You will need to get your arms around stuff like accounting, marketing, and operations, but before you dive into crunching numbers for your business plan, consider this:

It is my strong belief that would-be entrepreneurs need to develop a life plan before they ever write a business plan.  Why, you ask?

Because entrepreneurs who don’t get clear about what they want from life run the risk of starting a business that might not be a good business for them.

A life plan is your personal strategic plan for your life goals. Before you develop a business plan, you must first have a life goal.  Everyone should take the time to evaluate how they live. Then, develop a plan to achieve how they really want to live.  Other elements include things like “Where are you a rockstar?”  “What makes you laugh?” “What do you love to do?” “What do you dislike doing?” And “What do you need to learn?” With the answers to these questions you will be clear about what your passions are and how you really need your life to work in order to be successful as an entrepreneur.

Do not make the mistake of assuming what the entrepreneurial lifestyle will be like.   Not everyone is cut out to be a small business owner.  You will go from doing 2-3 jobs in corporate America to doing 10-12 jobs overnight for your own business and every job is important.  The best way to stay motivated in your business is to know you are working towards your personal life goal.

To really get a good picture of your life plan as an entrepreneur, answer the following questions:

  • What kind of lifestyle do you want to have as an entrepreneur?
  • How big do you want your business to get in terms of profits and staff?
  • Will you have employees?
  • How many hours a week will you work?
  • Do you need to meet the school bus every day or take off every Friday?
  • Are you willing to work seven days a week? If so, how long can you keep that up?
  • Will you need a partner and could you handle working with one?
  • How will you fund your household while you start your business?

You may have a great business idea, but you must decide if it’s a good business for you and your family.  Do not trade a soul-sapping job for a business that you hate.   With a life plan you will have a goal, then you can develop a plan that will lead to personal and professional success.

Do you have a life plan for yourself? Tell me, is it making your business planning easier?

Melinda Emerson Melinda Emerson, known to many as "SmallBizLady," is a Veteran Entrepreneur, Small Business Coach and Social Media Strategist who hosts #Smallbizchat for emerging entrepreneurs on Twitter. She is also the author of, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months.