Business plans are for wimps! Just go with it!
Bedroom start-up to millionaire entrepreneur Lyndon Wood on why instinct should win the day when it comes to starting and growing a business
The most common mistake of start-ups is to meticulously plan everything down to the last degree. And who can blame you?
I assume you have, at this point, been led to believe that planning and theorising everything will serve you well. It won’t. The vast majority that you’ve been taught is a far cry from reality.
The first thing you need to do is throw the orthodoxy to the wind and let it go. Seriously, let. It. Go. There, you feel better, right? You no longer have the vast complexities and theorised obstacles? Just keep it simple. Simple means solution.
Unfortunately, the success of a business isn’t dependent on something that can be taught: it’s all about your personality and your ability to see an opportunity where others do not; to know your numbers; to continue harbouring ideas and to maintain a mental toughness. After that, it’s about your creative innovation and your ideas.
So you have an idea? Let’s be honest, who doesn’t? It’s what you do with it that counts. An idea isn’t independently capable of palpitating success and revenue without at least one leap of faith. Business is all about premeditated and educated risk taking.
It’s not about optimising the first idea that inhabits your cranium; it’s about a catalogue of ideas being fed by a linear vision. It’s about commitment to building your ideas library which will manifest the warrant for financial input. It’s the idea that carries the possibility of being the next best thing – and that is worth the risk.
Throughout the lifespan of your business, it is your duty as an entrepreneur to ensure that the idea catalogue is thriving with prospective business opportunities. The death of any company is the inability to proactively generate new ideas.
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After all, isn’t it every entrepreneur’s purpose and ambition to redefine an industry with the capability of disrupting the natural order of its predecessors with fresh innovation? The age of technology is continuously presenting windows that should catalyse the creativity of even the most successful businesses. The complacency of relying on previous success is the death of many once fruitful businesses.
By now we’ve established that you have a suitable personality in conjunction with a show-stopping idea. So what are you selling…? And here’s another pitfall that many start-ups overlook, and another reason we threw your business plan to the wind.
Business plans are full of projections and assumptions and the fact is, no plan ever survives this far. Start-ups fail because, despite the personality and the idea, they don’t give customers what they want. This is essential to your profit margin and should be woven into the fabric of your idea process. You should continuously remind yourself who your customer is and what they need.
Granted, this all seems like a lengthy process on paper, but any committed and passionate entrepreneur would understand that this progression is optimised when acted upon as quickly as possible. It is essential that you are able to adopt a do-it-and-do-it-now policy and recall the importance to lead and not follow. Above all else; trust your instinct.
The important thing is that you are out there and you are doing it. You may occasionally fall on your face but failures can, more often than not, prove to be more valuable than easy success. Learning and experience will drive you forward. Review the lessons that you learn along the way and turn them into practical examples and the cornerstone of future success.
In 1990, aged 19, Lyndon Wood started insurance company Moorhouse Group from his bedroom in Caerphilly. Now 43, he remains a director of the £8.6m turnover group, is CEO of ConstructaQuote and owner of business network SunZu.com.