A marketer sent me an email the other day:
“If you don’t have a business plan, you’re shooting yourself in the foot!”
In all of my 20+ years as an entrepreneur and running multiple businesses, I’ve never had a business plan.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. I did write a one-sentence business plan for my coaching at The Awakened Business: “Tell stories with inspiring people.”
(I’ll stand by this “business plan,” by the way. I think I’m coming pretty damn close to living by it.)
But still, the email gave me pause.
This guy has a seven-figure business; surely he must know what he’s talking about.
He’s sharing what he knows is right…for him. Not for me.
I almost fall for my fearful thinking about all the bad things that will happen without a business plan — per this marketer’s email — I’ll waste my time, lack clarity, set myself up for failure…
Now, either I know that creating a business plan is helpful for me, or I don’t.
Either I do it, or I don’t.
But I certainly don’t know that any of these bad things will happen to me without one.
In fact, we have access to inner guidance that doesn’t require a business plan or anything else for reliable direction.
I might be moved to create a business plan in the future, but it’s not a prerequisite.
Goldilocks and the Three Entrepreneurs
I have nothing against business plans, but I do get a bee in my bonnet when it comes to the “shoulds” we unknowingly create that keep you from creating the profitable change-making business you desire.
Here’s why it can be challenging to know what’s right for you:
Our personal minds are magnificent tools for pattern recognition and making connections. They’re meaning-making machines that allow us to make up stories about the future for planning and creating. It’s a powerful gift!
However, my personal mind only knows what it has seen before, and is conditioned to keep us safe by searching for the “right” thing. It makes superstitious leaps and forms connections between things that don’t have a causal relationship.
We want so badly to do the right thing that we make it into a rule, and use the opinions of other people to reinforce them.
(I’ve done this repeatedly in my life: poisoning my body by overdosing on so-called “superfoods,” waking up at 4am for a sadhana despite my exhaustion, sticking to routines long after they’d outlived their usefulness.)
Don’t choose someone else’s wisdom over your own.
Your inner guidance isn’t emotional; it’s a neutral feeling of “just knowing” that most people feel inside their bodies. It gives guidance in real-time, which means that it changes in response to what’s happening in the moment.
When it comes to the evolution of entrepreneurs, people tend to fall into one of three categories. It’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, with businesses instead of beds.
Papa Bear Entrepreneur does everything by the book and follows proven systems to the letter. They often disregard their own guidance in favor of someone else’s.
Mama Bear Entrepreneur refuses to follow the advice of others. They’re sick of conforming to the status quo and rebel against systems just on principle.
Baby Bear Entrepreneur has neither a preference for rules, nor an aversion to them. They flow with their guidance in the moment, sometimes following the rules and other times breaking them.
Baby Bear is creating a business that’s “just right,” choosing either “hard” or “soft” according to their inner navigation system.
You can know whether or not to follow someone’s advice (like creating a business plan) by noticing your inner guidance. Giving yourself permission to do things your way, even if you aren’t clear what that is yet, is a perfect beginning.
If I’m smart (which I like to think I am) I’ll learn from the people and opportunties around me, and follow the nudges as led. It would be silly of me NOT to do a business plan simply because someone tells me it’s a good idea, if my inner knowing says, “Do it.”
I may just come around to doing the business plan exercise. I like the idea of having more clarity about what I’m up to, especially when I’m about to redo my website.
But I won’t do it from a place of “have to” and fear. Not today.
I have a 1:1 Wildspire coaching and messaging journey for experienced coaches and change-making entrepreneurs, in which you’ll learn to tap your own guidance system and create business with fun and flow.
If you’d like my help unleashing your message, attracting clients with playful (Un)marketing making a deeper impact, apply for a free session with me and we’ll see what emerges.
Yours in creative play,