As soon as I saw the Roman numerals, I knew this business plan needed to go.
Do you ever wade around for advice, searching for “what you want to hear”? Then when you finally hear it, you latch on to it until you realize that advice wasn’t quite as sound as you had hoped (but really knew all along)?
I’m thinking this (finally!) isn’t the case with me. One of my virtual assistant mentors, Michelle Dale, highlighted a blog post today about how to get started as a virtual assistant. I was shocked when I saw these words:
“You need to set goals and, by this, I don’t mean to sit there writing out a business plan because in Virtual Assistance things are changing all the time and things will change for you.”
I’ve started other businesses in the past, worked up a great draft of a business plan, even met with a SCORE representative to look it over, only to have the business fail within a month or two.
The problem is that I’m a perfectionist. I’ve been digging around the Web lately and realized that perfectionism is a success killer in business. You never really take chances. You don’t get started on a goal, because you are too busy trying to perfect the details.
Isn’t the “devil in the details”?
Of course, the key in Michelle’s blog is that you still need to set goals. A part of me still feels like my new business is kind of floating out there, because I’ve kept my goals in my head or scattered in e-mails or Evernote.
I do not want to diminish the importance of SCORE. I am still using SCORE’s start-up business plan template as a jumping-off point.
So to keep myself accountable, here are my goals. Some are loftier than others, but I am still trying to create “SMART” goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
1) To provide quality virtual assistance services utilizing my administrative assistant skills and writing skills over the next 6-8 months.
2) Will create a brand, possibly utilizing WIL – Where There’s a WIL There’s a Virtual Way – W.C.’s Investigative and Legal Assistance as my company name over the next 8-12 months.
3) To gain more knowledge in the fields that interest me: writing, paralegal, private investigation in the next 8-12 months. This will coincide with networking with those in the field.
4) To leverage this knowledge, passion and networking to gain a client base (1-5 clients) of small to medium-sized business, particularly investigation and law firms 8-10 months.
5) With my initial income from my first clients, I will upgrade my Web site and increase online marketing (Facebook page, Pinterest) in the next 6-12 months.
I am definitely not going to forgo a business plan altogether. And as someone new to the world of virtual assistance but not new to homebased businesses, I don’t recommend you do either. However, take a look at another viewpoint – that business plans may get in the way of what you really want to do – grow your business, and that they won’t guarantee success.
What other suggestions do you have for setting business goals. Do you have a formal business plan? Speak your mind below.