Most advisors—and business owners in general—approach business planning and projections for a new year with the same excitement they bring to a dentist visit. It’s rote. It’s routine. They go through the motions and map out what they would like to accomplish, and then they file-away their plan in a bottom drawer that doesn’t open again until this time next year.
To achieve the next big evolution in your business, to break into an entirely new level of business success, you need to a business plan that deliberately forces you outside of what you have always done. From the outside, your plan might look a bit crazy, but you should have the key insights to know that your new path is worth pursuing.
You’ve likely met advisors with this approach to business (they are typically the ones on stage rather than in the audience), but let’s step outside of our space so that we can take a fresh look at the business planning concepts that can make 2018 a gamechanger for you.
Jim Koch, the brewer and founder of Samuel Adams, entered the beer industry at a time when American Beer was dull, boring, and underestimated. Long before craft breweries transformed the beer scene in the United States, Koch had a family recipe and a vision for how his industry could be different. The greatest minds in brewing saw the status quo as unshakeable, and even Koch’s father believed that the beer industry was doomed to remain stagnant.
(Related: Embrace Confrontation)
“Jim you’ve done some dumb things in your life,” Koch’s father told his son when he heard Koch’s idea for a brewery, according to a CNNMoney article, “This is just about the dumbest.”
Not unlike advisors, Koch had a product that he believed in, and he believed that his unique perspective on an existing space could make a real difference.
To get his product to market, Koch went bar-to-bar with a briefcase of Samuel Adams lager. The door-to-door salesman schtick wasn’t an innovation, but a man passionate about a different kind of beer—offering samples—turned heads. Case by case, by bar by bar, Koch built his brand and his reputation.
Sure, you’re not trying to launch a brewery, but the hidden lesson in Koch’s story is that you need to behave different from the status quo if you want to someday define it. In Koch’s world, no American brewery would send their owner into a bar and offer samples. Where his competition was content with sitting on the shelf of a grocery store, Koch doggedly pursued sales opportunities.
Your business plan should have that sort of dogged resolve and the optimism that you can set a new standard for your industry. Not only is it possible for you to change the space, but it is frankly required that you try.
Here are three ideas