Hope is a vital human emotion. Hope is what gives us the drive and determination to keep pushing on, even when we can’t see the road ahead. But too many consultants, especially those just starting up their own consultancy, make the mistake of thinking that hope is an acceptable business strategy.
When asked about their business, these self-employed consultants say things like, “I hope the phone rings!” or “I’m hoping I’ll get a new client soon” or “I hope the economy turns around, because I can’t survive much longer.”
Operating on hope alone is stressful because when you’re hit by a curveball or crisis, hope can falter. When that happens, the floor drops out from under you and you start making business decisions based on fear.
When fear is ruling your decision-making process, you’re more likely to make a critical mistake. And it’s the rare new business that can afford even one critical mistake.
Fortunately, there’s a simple, powerful way to improve your performance as a consultant turned solopreneur. It’s called “A Business Plan.”
I know you’ve heard the term before, and been advised that it’s an important part of the start-up process. But like so many consultants starting up their own business, you’ve had all sorts of reasons for not creating a business plan of your own.
“It will take too much time.”
” I have a plan mapped out in my head.”
” I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of person.”
These are all excuses we’ve heard from consultants who didn’t create a business plan. But in this topsy-turvey economy, excuses won’t carry you where you want to go. A plan will. When you write out a business plan, you actually create three things:
1. You create a physical map to follow.
2. You create a system for actions and results.
3. You create confidence
A business plan guides you through the wilderness of start-up. It helps you stay committed to specific actions that lead to results. Knowing you have a map to guide you, knowing you are taking specific actions, knowing you are seeing results, all lead to greater confidence, and confidence is a key attribute of all successful consultants.
If you’ve been relying on hope to manage your consulting business, you’re already made a serious mistake. Establishing a business plan now could be the best step you ever take to save your business from failure and drive it to the level of success you want and deserve.