Starting a new business is like wanting to learn how to play the guitar in high school. You can’t wait until you’re good at it, and all you can think about is dates you’re going to get, and how awesome it’s going feel when you’re a rock star. But if you don’t start practicing and playing before your passion fades, soon you’ll be hanging your shirt on that expensive guitar you invested in instead of playing it.
When you’ve really got the entrepreneurial bug, the last thing you want to do is sit down and write a business plan. It’s the equivalent of writing a book about playing the guitar before actually knowing how to play the guitar. You don’t know what your new business is going to be like. And just like a guitar, a business will have to be tweaked and tuned multiple times, and you’ll need long practice sessions and repetition, before you can get even one successful song out of it. I use this analogy because one of my best friends, Daniel Damico, is a rock star virtuoso who plays guitar. I’ve spent many hours in his studio watching him make music, tweaking and tuning hit songs, and it hit me, it’s exactly what I do with my businesses.
When I’m approached by entrepreneurs for investments or mentorship, I always look at their unconscious competence regarding their business. I don’t look for what they’ve learned from reading a book on business. I look for the know-how that comes from actually running a business. And accordingly, the most successful business plans are those that articulate a business which is already working and running, but forecasts its future potential accurately.
You can spend a lot of money buying out-of-the-box business plan creation software or hiring expensive consultants, and yes, that probably works for some people, but ultimately, the goal isn’t to write a book about playing the guitar. Pick up the guitar and start playing. Otherwise you’ll have a whole lot of rhetoric for a business that might never exist.
In short, your business plan should be in your head not in a book. And I say, ‘in your head’ because you’ve obsessed about every detail of how you’re going to become a business rock star.
Now go, start playing.