Would you like an analogy for why most business plans fail? I think entrepreneurs’ plans go to pieces for the same reasons courtrooms often miscarry justice. Proceedings take place over issues that should not be litigated, between people who have no business filing them, with a lack of details or context.
That’s how the verdicts and spoils of those trials end up going to the loudest side, with the support of a public that never understood what was on trial to begin with. It isn’t that “the guilty are innocent and the innocent are guilty.” It’s simply the advantage we leave to chance and fate when we’re unable or unwilling to think things through.
If you could think of your business as a “case,” yourself as a “defendant” and your mastermind group as a “jury,” maybe you’ll catch the comparison. To move toward a “favorable judgment” from the marketplace, you have to persuade a group of your peers that your case is valid. This requires both a passionate argument and the logic of evidence.
GOALS DON’T WRITE THEMSELVES
One clear sign of a persuasive “case” is a business plan that demonstrates you have thought about this in advance. In my role as a coach and mentor, I’ve had the opportunity to look over many clients’ business plans. Some were great, and some needed a lot of work. But not one of those plans “wrote themselves.” And allthe clients who had one succeeded faster and better than those who didn’t.
You, the entrepreneur, need to write goals - both the long-term, visionary goals, and the short-term tactical goals. That’s why I compare a lot of businesses to “cases” that should never see the inside of a courtroom. No lawyer worth his salt would want to walk into the presence of a judge and look like Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters II.
If you need help with a business plan, I would suggest business coaching services. Many of them are very affordable, and in some cases they’re free. Especially if you’re new to entrepreneurship, you’re going to have “blind spots” when it comes to thinking of all the roadblocks, expenses and obstacles to your growth.
ONLINE MASTERMIND GROUP - “THE JURY”
Defending yourself in court often involves persuading a jury of peers. In the case of business, what could be more parallel than a mastermind online? In our Iron Sharpens Iron groups, one of the best features is the impartial, detached way members can make observations about each other’s lives and businesses.
There are two parts to letting your business mastermind evaluate your plans. The first is more like a corporate presentation to a board of directors. You can present them with your detailed plan, market analysis, likelihood of success and so forth. If you give them sufficient time to review it, chances are you’ll have a more positive session.
The second part of this involves a commitment to ongoing accountability. That’s what online mastermind groups are for, after all. We have seen growth by the millions for members of our groups when they’ve made commitments in front of their ISI brothers. Before you show your plan to your board, you should take time to set priorities you’d be willing to commit to in front of them.
DAYS, WEEKS, MONTHS AND YEARS
Prosecuting attorneys in criminal cases often paint a “narrative” around defendants based on their history with the law. The defendant who already has a record of arrests, convictions and issues with police has “a case against himself.” In the same way, an entrepreneur who has no record of persuading the marketplace to buy something has a steeper hill to climb.
If you got a lump in your throat reading that last paragraph, don’t worry. Have you ever heard the expression “No experience necessary”? Well, the truth is nobody starts their first business with “experience” being an entrepreneur. It’s a process of becoming an entirely different version of yourself. As online business expert Tom Gaddis puts it:
“You go from being a consumer who asks, ‘What’s in it for me?’ to being a producer who watches people buy products and asks, ‘Why do they buy them?’”
This means there’s a series of “steps” successful entrepreneurs follow. If those steps are out of alignment or sequence, the process fails. So as my friend Dov Gordon suggests we do, you should ask, “When something works, why does it work?”
Your business plan is subject to the same reality as the offer you’ll make to the market. It has to be aligned and in the correct sequence. That’s one reason we advise our members to use The 12-Week Year, by my friend Brian Moran, to put some wind in their sails. The closer you follow Brian’s strategy for quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals and metrics, the less you leave to chance and fate.
If you want to put your business through an honest trial, I encourage you to apply to join one of our mastermind groups online at Iron Sharpens Iron. We have 15 groups for men, as well as new offerings for women and our Emerging Man group for young men ages 20-25.