Back Home Again and Planning for Tomorrow
We arrived back in Indiana last week. After being gone almost three weeks, it felt good to get home. While I enjoyed our RV adventure, I am also thrilled to have a full home back again, with multiple rooms and a full size kitchen. Cramped quarters certainly help you appreciate the 1500 square feet building you call home.
Besides enjoying the seemingly endless roaming room, I’ve also started planning that second career I wrote about before my retirement date. I’m not in a huge hurry to get started, but it’s nice to have the time to actually plan, dream, and strategize. I was involved with the strategic planning operations of my company before I left, but there
really is something exciting about planning my own business.
I’m not an expert on the whole business start-up process, so you’d better believe that I’ll be getting some help along the way. Still, I started with my quickest and easiest resource--Google. The first part of the process is one that I’m fairly comfortable with, and that’s creating a business plan. So if you’re like me and looking into your second career, or if you’re currently still working but looking to make the switch to business owner, here are a few tips I found on creating a business plan.
First, you need to write for the audience. In my case, I’m the audience. I won’t be seeking any outside funding and I won’t have many start up costs. I hope to do some consulting, so I’ll need to do some advertising and have a fantastic web presence, but those are costs I’ve planned for. If you are looking for investors, you need to write
for them - focus on the numbers, be concise, and be realistic.
Second, do your research. Research the market, research the competition, and research best practices in your field. Even if you’re writing the plan mostly to develop your strategy, you’ll want to be as informed as possible about the condition of the marketplace. A successful business starts here.
Third, be conservative with your numbers and projections. Most businesses aren’t overnight successes, and you need to prepare yourself for the challenges ahead. That means being honest with yourself and with your strategy.
Finally, add some creative and inspirational element to your plan. There’s a reason why you’re starting this journey, whether that be to reach your own retirement faster, give back to society, or improve the world. Include something that is going to speak to that purpose and inspire you when you’re bogged down in the numbers and the every day
chaos of starting your own business.
Once I move beyond this point, I know that I’ll need help. The Small Business Administration is a good place to start when you’re planning your new business, and of course you’ll also want to talk to your financial advisor to discuss how your business will affect your current finances and investments as well.
For now, I’ll be enjoying early morning coffees, afternoons with family, and long hours of planning and daydreaming for the future.