Who’s doing the planning for your start-up?
There are people you can hire to write your business plan! Yes, really! They actually ‘help’ you with the ‘tedious’ process of researching YOUR idea whilst you… Well, I am not really sure what you’d be doing!
I was shocked when I came across a company that puts together business plans for aspiring entrepreneurs. Maybe this comes as no shock to some of you but to me, it is fundamentally flawed in two ways:
- A business plan should be an articulation of YOUR vision. It is meant to be a guiding document in the process of realizing your dream.
- When someone else does the hard work for you, how in the world do you ‘own’ this business; in all its existence? How do you hold on to someone else’s interpretation of your dream when the going gets tough?
When I enquired further on this offering, it turns out there are a significant number of people who use it. Mind you, it doesn’t come cheap. This got me wondering: “Are people that hungry for self-employment? Better still, do those people actually understand what it means to start and run their businesses?” I’m a newbie in this area but it took me well over six months to come up with the identity of my business. There was a lot of back and forth, a lot of soul searching and even more of research. And worth noting is the fact that the desk research formed less than half of the overall research.
Move over to the other kind of ‘help’ where business planning is concerned: cut and paste of templates. I’ve been doing the rounds to various entities that provide assistance to SME’s and it bothers me that this important process is reduced to a simple “follow the template” approach. Don’t’ get me wrong, templates provide order in the chaos that is sometimes an entrepreneurs mind, but the fact that that’s where it ends is the problematic part for me.
We want more young people in South Africa to be entrepreneurs. This partly to reduce unemployment and grow communities; I support this notion fully. But instead of using a ‘tick the box’ methods for developing small business, we need to provide holistic interventions. For example, when we start with training for business planning, we need to include self-mastery work.
As an InnerLifeSkills (ILS) coach I advocate for an approach that first and foremost seeks to get our to-be entrepreneurs to define themselves and by extension their businesses by who THEY ARE. Colleen-Joy Page, the Founder of ILS puts it well when she says, “It’s not what you do that ultimately matters, but it is WHO you bring to what you do!” This resonates on so many levels where entrepreurship is concerned. There are many that will run an events company for example; what will set you apart from them?
Yes it can be cost advantage, your turn-around time, location, etc. What you want is an even deeper differentiator. And that can only be YOU! They can try, but there is no one like YOU.
Don’t you think you need to use your greatest asset to set yourself apart in business? If you don’t use it, don’t cry foul when your business does not succeed! When you put your destiny in the hands of others, they will write their interpretation of your dream for YOU to follow. We can’t have that!
South Africa needs a breed of energetic, purpose-driven entrepreneurs!