Yep you heard me, you don’t NEED a business plan, cashflow forecast or a marketing strategy.
But I d recommend having them depending on where you are in your business. However, this week has led me to realise you need something else to be a success. I am careful to define what success actually is, of course, it’s a purely personal opinion.
I have met many business people recently. Lots of mentors, colleagues and business owners. All have so much to share, their own successes and failures. But two people stood out and genuinely inspired me. Neither had a business plan, a cash flow forecast or marketing strategy. That said, most clients I work with don’t have all 3 of these as working documents in place, most have 1 or 2 of them. However, these 2 guys had something else which drove them. It was their motivation to achieve – for their families.
Ok, I accept that I haven’t said anything new here. Motivation is key to achieve anything, whether it is in business, sport, a hobby or in life. What I observed was motivation, determination and the strength to ask for help. Yes asking for help is a key strength.
Client Number 1 …
has had his own business for 11 years. He had no plans, forecast or strategy and came to me despondent, asking for marketing help. Has his own events company, in fact, I have been to two events he has organised and they were brilliant. Unfortunately, his marketing wasn’t so good. His website didn’t say anything about them, their WHY, or How just What. Very little social media and no plan, no Value Proposition and never done a SWOT analysis. Why am I so inspired by this man? He has been in business for 11 years. He left his well-paid job to spend more time with his family. A few years ago he lost a close family member. And yet he is still here, still in business, he owes no money, everything he has, he owns outright. Wow, just wow! Research suggests that most businesses fail int he first 2 years. Yet he has battled, fought, spent years of hospital visits and had to deal with more than most of us have to.
I repeated back to him the answers to my questions. Mainly his “Why”. We paused and reflected and we realised that he has something special; motivation and the drive to prove he was good at what he did. And yes, he is damned good. So good that all of his business has come from recommendation. We started his marketing strategy (11 years too late) and predicted what he could achieve. Later in the week he emailed me the outcome of our meeting and how great he felt now he had focus and reflected on his successes. Client number 1 is one of the strongest people I have ever met.
Client Number 2 …
and I had our 3rd meeting after working together for only a few months. He is a mature man, well past retirement age and had scraped a living for a few years. The strain was showing too. We met at a networking event. What struck me about this softly spoken man was how humble he was. He is a training provider and HR consultant. Not a business man, a sole trader and consultant. He didn’t have a business plan, cash flow forecast or marketing strategy. He didn’t have a website, his business cards were awful. He was barely making a living. His biggest challenge was his pricing structure and the confidence to ask for what his services were worth.
1 year later he has grown, not just his business, but as a person. At our initial meeting, we agreed a consistent and fair pricing structure. I matched him with a mentor and hoped and prayed that his fortunes would change. A couple of days ago we met again. He bought the coffee, a good sign. He explained that he has trebled his income in just 6 months. He has more work than he needs. More importantly he was brimming with confident, he is a different man. This man is a single parent of a teenage girl with ill-health. He chose not claim benefits but to work and be role model for his daughter. When we met he was paying back a significant debt which he had inherited. This debt is now almost cleared. Wow, client number 2 you brought me tears.
What have they done so well?
Firstly they are good at what they do. All of their work has come from recommendation and repeat business. They asked for help, albeit very reluctantly. The key ingredient was here was their motivation. They have both had to deal with more crap in their personal lives than most people but they were driven to work and work hard for their families. They are not entrepreneurs, they are good honest humble people driven to earn a living for their families.
- Work hard for your family.
- Be good at what you do.
- Ask for help.
Yes there are lots they have done wrong and much have they missed, but these 2 clients have inspired me and they are now reaping the rewards of their hard work. They have both reminded me of my “why” & “what” I do. Despite approaching me asking me for help, I have gained so much from them.