Make your life plan before you chart business path

Make your life plan before you chart business path

Starting your own business is like opening a box of surprises. The more you think you have it, the more you will you be surprised with what you see.

Thanks to exposure and awareness, today a number of people are daring to live their entrepreneurial dream. Back in time, entrepreneurship was discouraged because it came with a truckload of risks, especially on the financial front.

Undoubtedly today’s entrepreneurs have more appetite for risk and have made business a way of life. More importantly, they have found entrepreneurial success.

Wannabe entrepreneurs – read small business owners – are always advised to get their business plan in place before taking the leap—this, followed by a sales plan, marketing strategy and tonnes of other financial plans which are meant to grow your business.

Over time these plans have become the success mantra of entrepreneurial ventures. Yet, many businesses fail, or rather many entrepreneurs fail. Why? I have said this often: entrepreneurs live in a vacuum.

They are caught up so much in their idea and are so focused on facing challenges that they lose sight of their vision. And the more they focus on that, the deeper they get.

And when businesses fail, all plans collapse – your business plan, sales strategy, marketing plan, product roadmap. Everything. You are left wondering what went wrong.

When you reflect, you realise you have been living so much in your dream that you ignore things around you, sometimes family, children, personal health, your passion, your friends and society, among other things. Entrepreneurship is a fine balance, balance of business and life.

There is no end to success for those who achieve this balance, while those who miss it will keep looking for the recipe forever.

Whether you are an entrepreneur or a wannabe, pause and reflect on your life plan. If you don’t make one today, you might end up drifting off your path and end up at the wrong destination.

Fortunately, a life plan is not as complex as a business one and you don’t need experts to guide you nor do you have to burn the midnight oil struggling to read books on how to go about it.

It involves simple introspection into your own life. All you need to make a great life plan is to be sincere and honest to yourself, to be accountable to yourself and stay positive.

Get answers to these fundamental questions:

  1. What are you passionate about? Are you driving your passion or are you driven by your passion?
  2. What are your expectations from your business? Wealth, fame, independence, power, position?
  3. Are you aware of the sacrifices you may be required to make, in terms of lifestyle or investment?
  4. Are you ready to financially support and sustain yourself till the first cheque comes into business?
  5. Does your family support your idea? Have you taken them into your confidence? Are they with you?

Once you have answers to these fundamental questions, it is time for you to detail out your life plan.

Your personal goals: Your business is an integral part of your life. But it is not your life itself. So make sure you integrate your business in your life plan and not your life in your business plan.

Now, looking at it from this vantage point, think about what success means to you; what do you want to with your life; how do you want to live; where do you want to live; who do you want to work with; how much is enough for you.

Most importantly, how you will balance your entrepreneurial life and the changes it holds.

Your personal highs and lows: Your business is not all about your idea alone. It is what you do with your idea, about how others perceive it, how you can convince others, how you can get new customers and employees and even things like how you file your expenses.

As an entrepreneur, it is important for you to assess your highs and lows, your strengths and weakness. What are you good at and what are the areas where you need help.

Are you good with processes, with people, with finances, with marketing? Make a list of things you want to do and those that you don’t want to do. You don’t want to die doing things you never wanted to.

Your family support: Starting a business is extremely different from working for someone. The latter gives you a fixed schedule that you stick to each day. But business is quite dynamic. You will suddenly find yourself responsible for every single thing.

Multi-tasking may become the norm of life, working late nights, over the weekends, none or fewer breaks. And in this madness, it is not only you who sacrifice. Your family has to be with you .

You need their support to do well in business. If your personal life suffers, you won’t be happy at all. Without happiness, work has no meaning.

Your financial stability: Making money may not be the ultimate goal of many entrepreneurs, but let’s face it, making a few bucks is always one of the goals.

But in the entrepreneurial journey, the first few years is always investment time, you may or may not have a steady pay, you may have to pull all your resources out to support your decision.

Are you ready for that? Especially if you have a family to support, are you financially stable enough to go by these stages without income?

Mr Sriram is the founder and chief mentor of Kuza Biashara Limited, -- @Sbharatam

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