One of my action items for when I was done with school was to get involved, as a volunteer, with the Inland Empire Women’s Business Center . I’ve recently had several conversations with their training manager and they are now taking me up on my offer! Naturally, as a business coach, this is a good fit for me, and I’m excited to work with a wider range of women who wish to start a business.
In 2006, shortly after starting my MBA program at Cal State, I took part in their “It’s Your Time” business plan competition and education program. That was my first ‘real’ business plan, incorporating cash flow projections and a SWOT analysis, neither of which I had ever even heard of before. Naturally, since my MBA emphasis was in Entrepreneurship, after that, I did multiple business plans and marketing plans! In fact, it helped me better map out what to discuss in my book, Just Jump, and how better to help clients.
The project I am currently working on is evaluating business plans that have been submitted for this very same program that I took part in, as a student, in 2006. I love seeing the fruits of all my labor (school) now paying off!
What I am seeing is a wide variety of clarity, focus and purpose in these plans – good and bad. I also better understand what was being considered when MY plans were submitted for evaluations! Some plans are excellent and I have graded them very high. Others… well, they have more work to do. It is said that in order to increase your likelihood of success with a business, that you have to put a business plan together, and these plans really bring that point home for me!
If you are working on starting your business, be sure to definitely put a plan together! As with the Women’s Center, mentioned above, there are many low-cost or free programs to help you create your plan. The first resource I often point people to is the Small Business Association. Play around on there because they have a LOT of tools to help you! You can also just do a Google search for ‘business plans’, and get TONS of help. Granted, some are better than others.
When clients come to me, or members join the Just Jump into Business membership program, I do things differently than a ‘traditional’ business coach. They have preliminary work to do before they even THINK of starting a business plan because, as professionals who specialize in what THEY do, they can quickly become overwhelmed with the thought of a business plan. They do not know ‘business’. Terminology is different. Focus is different. However, by addressing all the important PARTS of what goes into a business plan from a different perspective, by the time they have completed that preliminary work, they are ready!
We have several different services to help people move forward, and if the one-on-one coaching, small group coaching, or the membership coaching program are not for you, the business planning services, provided by our Business Plan Specialist, Mike Capps, MBA, might be the best route for you.
No matter what you do when putting ideas and thoughts together for your business, do take the time to put a business plan together. It does not have to be a novel, but it does need to help you focus on what you want to create, what you will offer, who you will target and how likely it is to succeed.
MEG Enterprises, Inc.