If you are a small-to-medium-sized business owner, you may view building a business plan as a deeply complex endeavor that will require exorbitant amounts of time. And because of this, you might decide not to bother. You might tell yourself that you already have the plan laid out in your head: “It’s not like we’re pitching to investors or banks for funding. We’re just a small mom-and-pop doing everything on our own, and spending time on writing everything down takes away from time actually doing it.”
Thinking this way is a mistake, though.
Hi, this is Barry Haimo, and thanks for tuning in for another dose of Bite-Sized Bits of Knowledge, where we give you meaningful information in a short amount of time. Today we’re going to talk about an introduction and overview into business planning before we jump into some of the concepts.
As I mentioned, business planning deals with the lifecycle of the business and all the various stages formation, operation, transitioning to different generations, and sale or exit. It’s important to understand that throughout this journey of a business, you need to understand that having an attorney on your side can make all the difference.
You as a business owner are wearing many hats. You’re putting out fires all the time. So you’re familiar with fires, and I’m sure you would like to avoid some of those if possible. So having an attorney on your team really can make all a difference. It can keep you focused, organized, and out of trouble. And that is a value.
So I would encourage you to characterize it as more of an investment than an expense – one that will pay dividends for a long time to come. Not having an attorney leaves you vulnerable, and mistakes can happen – problems can happen. It costs you a lot of time, energy, money, and it can take an emotional toll as well in your business. It’s also a distraction to your business. We’ll talk about the economics of litigation in a separate, dedicated video.
Just suffice it to say, successful people and sophisticated business owners that we work with – they understand this. They have me on speed dial. They call me and say, “Hey, I’m thinking about doing this, we’re doing that. What do you think? Contemplating this… This happened last week. What do you think?”
Having that ability to have us as an advisor and a counselor before things are happening in the planning stages or before you’re responding to things as they arise can be very critical. We appreciate it, and we enjoy – I enjoy especially – having that type of relationship with our clients.
So that aside, we’re going to get into the next series of videos. We’re going to talk about nonlegal formation insight that will be about two videos. They’re going to talk about formation, the different types of entities that exist, not covering them all, but most of them. Governing documents you probably want to have for each of the different types of companies and why – other critical documents that you definitely should have. Or you get into intellectual property, which is really important to understand what can go wrong in the process.
We’re going to talk about Litigation 101, as I mentioned, succession planning, exit planning, and Final Thoughts. So that’s how we’ve organized it, and let’s just jump in. So thanks for tuning in and don’t forget to download our free Business Planning Stress Test as well as our free Formation chart – our Florida Formation Chart. The link should be in the description for you. And again, thanks for stopping by.
And stay tuned for more.
Planning Ahead Pays Off – Exponentially
Chances are you decided to open your small business in order to achieve financial security while doing something you’re passionate about. Chances are you are also neck deep in (and overwhelmed by) the back end of your business, and not spending as much time as you’d hoped getting to enjoy your passion.
The truth is, every decision you make about your business (directly or indirectly) ultimately affects you and all of your associates. If you don’t make the right ones, financial security isn’t in the cards.
Also – news flash – business planning doesn’t have to be the complicated and elusive enigma it may be in your head right now. A business plan is simply the process of setting goals for your business and laying out how you’re going to achieve them.
A Guide to Business Plan Strategy
Here are a few basics included in every business plan to demonstrate how easy it can be to at least get an outline down for where your life’s work is headed.
Define Your Goals
That broad-sweeping end goal of “living the dream” is certainly a starting point, but you need to really think about what that means. What, exactly, are the things you want to accomplish with your business?
Imagine you are certain that every goal you jot down is attainable and you will undoubtedly be a success. Be sure each one you write down is aligned with that big picture in your head, and absolutely worth your effort. If it doesn’t fit, toss it.
Make them as specific and as quantifiable as possible so you know absolutely when you’ve met them. Set deadlines and make them public somehow in order to hold yourself accountable.
Create Your Plan of Action
For each goal, write out what needs to happen in order to reach it and how you intend to move forward. One technique for mapping your route to reach individual goals is to work backwards, creating a set of mini-goals that have a clear path to success.
A single annual goal may require six distinct steps, for instance, and completing each step within an eight-week period can become a mini-goal to reaching your main goal within the year.
Recognize Your Obstacles
While developing your plan of action, be realistic about obstacles such as location, competition, and financial requirements. This is really the only way you will truly be able to figure out how to successfully overcome them.
Doing this is probably the most difficult step for small business owners to work through, because often they are facing issues that they’ve inadvertently tucked away with a faith that they will work themselves out. But evaluating your competitive landscape with open eyes can mean the difference between becoming a success and walking away from a dream.
Identify Your Needs
Once you’ve recognized the obstacles standing between where you are now with your business and where you’d like to be, it’s much easier to identify what you need to get past them. Write down all the things that could help you through each obstacle standing in your way. This may mean circling back to your plan of action or list of obstacles for revisions – and that’s okay.
Evaluate Your Finances
As you’re working through this plan, slowly descending from the cloud of big dreams, it is important to be sure you will land on solid ground. It can be unnerving to look at the real costs for making your dreams a reality, but go in knowing that just because you don’t currently have the money you might need to get where you plan to be, that doesn’t mean you can’t generate it. In fact, developing this plan is a huge leap forward in doing just that.
Advanced Planning Move
Once you’ve got everything in order for yourself, contact an experienced business planning attorney to review the plan you’ve created and get advice how you can ensure the best protection of your assets as you grow and evolve. They’ll even advise you on options regarding what happens to the business after you’re gone.
That’s all – or at least it can be. It’s really up to you. If nothing else, a plan allows you to get all those business thoughts and ideas out of your mind and onto paper, guaranteeing a bit more headroom for what you’re really passionate about.
Whatever state of business planning you’re in, we can help. Reach out to our office today to speak with an experienced Florida business planning attorney.
And don’t forget to download our FREE:
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose®
YOU ARE NOT OUR CLIENT UNLESS WE EXECUTE A WRITTEN AGREEMENT TO THAT EFFECT. MOREOVER, THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. EACH SITUATION IS HIGHLY FACT SPECIFIC AND EXCEPTIONS OFTEN EXIST TO GENERAL RULES. DO NOT RELY ON THIS INFORMATION, AS A CONSULTATION TO UNDERSTAND THE FACTS AND THE CLIENT’S NEEDS AND GOALS IS NECESSARY. ULTIMATELY WE MUST BE RETAINED TO PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE AND REPRESENTATION. THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AS A COURTESY AND, ACCORDINGLY, DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE.