Business Speaker on Writing a Business Plan
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational keynote speaker whose topics include whether or not to write a business plan. He’s a leading authority on self-employment and the author of Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley). The 10th chapter of this award-winning book (2012 Small Business Book Awards) is entitled Write a Business Plan (in Part 1 of the book: Define Your Business Model) and is included below for your review. The book has a total of 80 short chapters, each ending with an Implementation Checklist. His perspective on business plans and their actual value in the entrepreneurial process is also summarized below.
Visit Patrick’s video blog and subscribe to be notified of future videos by clicking the button below.
Past clients include …
Recent speaking destinations include …
Keynote Speech about Writing Business Plans
Patrick’s perspective on business plans is very different from the normal view. He doesn’t support the process of writing extensive business plans and suggests instead to test everything in the quickest and cheapest way possible. You need to have a viable business model and marketing strategy before you write your business plan, not after. If you don’t test the model and the marketing strategy beforehand, there’s a 99% chance that you’ll end up having to adjust your entire plan to accommodate the lessons learned along the way. If you’re planning an entrepreneurial event, Patrick can deliver a practical message in an inspiring way, delivering the buzz and excitement you’re looking for.
Chapter 10: Write a Business Plan
Do you have a business plan?
Don’t worry, I’m not going to guilt you into writing a business plan. This chapter is different than what you’re probably expecting. No, I’m not going to push you into extensive market research. No, I’m not going to tell you that a business plan is essential to success. It isn’t, but it has a place. Let me explain. Most of what I try fails. At least 80 percent of my efforts crash and burn. So why write a big business plan? Once my experiment fails, I’ll just have to write a new one anyway, right? Writing a big plan is futile and takes too long. I don’t have time. It just isn’t worth it for me, at least not during the experimental phase.
What do I mean by experimental phase? I’m talking about the time before you’ve identified a sustainable business model. When people fantasize about starting a business, they always start their planning at the point where they already have a sustainable business model, and then they plan all the exciting ways they plan to grow that business model and turn it into a thriving empire. Problem is, most businesses never reach that point. The vast majority of new businesses fail way before they ever reach a sustainable level. They’re bleeding cash from the start and finally fold when the well runs dry. Sorry, but it’s true. To me, a business plan only matters when you already have a sustainable business model. Before that, it’s all about experimentation.
Try everything. Look for the easiest and quickest way to test new ideas. You’ll have a million ideas. I promise. How many times have I had a great idea and been 100 percent convinced I’ll be rich by summer? Countless times. Meanwhile, most of my ideas end up falling short. I’m telling you: I’ve been down this path a thousand times. Are you a failure? Maybe yes, maybe no. Me? Absolutely! No joke. I’m a professional failure! I fail at almost everything I do … the first time. But I always get back up.
I always learn. I always try again. And eventually, I fail my way to success! And that’s precisely why my career has taken off. I’m willing to fail. Not only that, but I think entrepreneurs should fail as often as possible. Why? Because it’s evidence that they’re trying new things. I have “great” ideas every week and need to give each one a fair shake before moving on to the next. It’s the story of my life.
That said, you may be wondering why I titled this chapter “Write a Business Plan.” There’s a good reason. Having some sort of a plan is nothing more than deciding how you plan to test your next great idea. A plan just forces you to think about that endeavor (testing the idea) in a more structured way. So how can you plan your strategy in a way that doesn’t paralyze the process or drive you to the bottle? How about a one-page business plan? Jim Horan wrote a book called The One-Page Business Plan (2004) and has since gone on to customize it for a variety of business situations including nonprofits, professional consultants, and financial services.
He’s also built an army of licensed One-Page Business Plan Consultants. Why has his concept done so well? Because it’s simple and it works. Jim does a great job helping entrepreneurs drill down to the core of their market opportunity. He helps them identify the true value proposition behind their product or service as well as the market of people who need what they’re selling. And he does it in a straightforward worksheet-based format that’s irresistibly clean and simple . . . and it all fits on just one sheet of paper! Visit Amazon and search for “one-page business plan.” You’ll find a variety of versions of his book. Find the one that matches your business model the best and consider buying a copy. I think it’s well worth the investment.
The beauty of Jim’s approach is that you can complete a rough draft of your one-page plan in just 20 minutes. So, the next time you have a great idea, take your excitement (new ideas are always exciting, at least for me) and use it to jot down a one-page plan. It’ll force you to think through your idea based on a proven formula. By the way, I’m not suggesting you ever need to finish your draft one-page plan. Just use it to structure your approach and then test your idea. If it fails, walk away. No big deal. Move on to the next plan. But if it works, that’s the time to map out a strategy in more detail.
Write a Business Plan: Implementation Checklist
Don’t write a business plan for every idea.
Focus on maximizing marketing ideas.
Search Amazon for “one-page business plan.”
Buy the best version for your business.
Jot down a one-page plan for every idea.
Test every idea to see if it has potential.
If it fails, throw it away and move on.
If it shows promise, add detail to the plan.
Compare notes and ideas with a colleague.
End of chapter – click here to buy the book on Amazon.