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Business Plan for the Self Employed – Good Idea or Waste of Time?

This is a guest post from Brett Jarman.

When you are self-employed you’ve usually got your head down and tail up, getting on with what needs to be done as part of the daily grind. Nine times out of ten, it needs to be done today so the idea of taking time out to put together a business plan can seem like a luxury you can’t afford, possibly even a waste of time.

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In a sense that’s correct. A business plan can be a waste of time; however, the planning process itself can be extremely valuable and might even ease some of the tension that comes with the daily grind.

Though he wasn’t talking about self employment, Dwight Eisenhower summed it up nicely when he said, Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. To say plans are worthless might be stretching the point a little but essentially he was saying that things rarely go to plan anyway, so the plan itself should be taken lightly.

Steps for Creating a Preliminary Small Business Plan

If you are not particularly business savvy, but wish to start a small business, it is a good idea to start with a smaller preliminary business plan. Business plans can get quite technical, and if you jump into all these technicalities immediately, you may get overwhelmed and discouraged. The process can seem much more manageable if you cover some basic information, and then find a mentor to take you through the more challenging steps. Here is a set of five preliminary points that will get your business plan started:

Steps for Creating a Preliminary Small Business Plan

1. Business Mission Statement or Philosophy

You may be selling one product or several; you may be selling a service and not a product. Regardless, you need a mission statement or business philosophy at the beginning of your small business plan because it will keep you, any partners, managers and employees focused on a common goal.

2. Small Business Goals

Next, you need goals to support your mission or philosophy. Start with three or four and build from there. Do not overwhelm yourself with too many goals at this point. However, if you do not feel three or four goals are sufficient to support the mission, then write them all down, but start working toward the most important goals first.

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