How many peoples start businesses with great ideas and plans in mind, to find themselves six months later, stressed and confused about where they are going or what they should do next. If this sounds a little like how you are feeling, do not be dismayed. Many others have felt and are feeling the same as you are. It is that deep down feeling of ‘oh my gosh, I am loosing control’ feeling that no one ever wants to talk about or admit that they have.

In a highly competitive world, it is hard to let anyone know you are experiencing these kinds of problems. The advice of ‘fake it until you make it’ looms heavily over business owners’ heads and they do not want to admit that they have lost direction. It usually occurs when one of three things happen. First you may be experiencing a slump and begin to panic about where your next client will come from, or secondly, you may have too much business and be struggling to keep your head above the incoming orders. And thirdly you may see an opportunity that seems so good you feel you must take advantage of it. This is where the ‘business of plans’ or your reconnaissance mission comes in.

We have spoken about identifying your target market, and learning to know what they want. Market research should be the first thing you do. Once you know who wants what, where when and why, it is time to write a business plan. Every business should have one. Whether you write it on a napkin in a restaurant or spend weeks putting it together does not matter. What matters is that you have a plan AND you must write it down. This is the best way to organize your thoughts and ideas and put them into a logical order and then sit back a critique it.

I recently completed (an already somewhat outdated) a business plan. Really it is a logical plan of action with a dream attached to it. I hired someone to keep me on track, and supply me with the direction that I felt I needed. I have written several business plans before, but this time I wanted to have a plan that was detailed and addressed all of the issues that I felt might arise over the next five years. The plan took me a month working on it on and off. What an eye opener it was!

I was forced to think about things such as trends, and market analysis. I was asked to identify competition, and price points. Defining benefits and features and providing reasons why my product was more attractive than others made me re-consider who my market was, and why they would chose me. The exercise which seemed painstaking at first became a living breathing business before my very eyes.

A business plan is a map for your journey. It can identify where the hills are, how far the trip is and how long it might take. Your map will help you to measure your progress, and identify your direction. It is your decision to either stick to the trip you have planned in advance, or to sojourn here and there looking at the sites on the side of the road. Your map is really your plan of execution. It is how you will make the business work.

Designing your map is the most important part of getting to where you want to go. If you ask anyone who has been in the military, they will tell you that they never set out on a mission without first sending out a reconnaissance team to map the terrain and bring back intelligence on the enemy- or problems. This is what you do when you create a business plan. You set out on a mission to identify the terrain- trends, competition, markets etc. Then you map it out. You bring back intelligence- information about what your customer wants and needs. Then you create the map-the business plan that will help you to identify what you need to do and when. If you have done your homework, and you have created an accurate map you will know what to expect. If you follow the map- execute your plan, you will reach your destination.

"One of the keys to effective communication and dispute resolution is understanding ourselves and how we think and also understanding how others are wired as well. Each of us has personality styles that are unique to ourselves - however there are also patterns as well. When you understand the differing personality styles and their blends - you begin to see people as they are with more understanding! For more information on understanding personality styles please contact Mandie at"

Go ahead and register for a webinar attend from the comfort of your own home! See a full list of our EVENTS and WEBINAR here:

" Like this article? Sign up here:JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER list that offers more of these tips, coupons, inspiration and education that will help you propel your business to the next level! "

Author's Bio: 

Mandie Crawford is a marketing expert, business coach, trainer and motivational speaker who was recently awarded Calgary Business Woman of the Year for her contributions to the business community.

Mandie also has skills and expertise in providing high quality guidance in time management and system implementation for small a medium sized businesses. Her passion as a business and professional development coach is to helps women recognize their value and self worth.

She is the President of Roaring Women Ltd which is Canada’s premier national business support group for women in business that focuses on connecting, promoting and educating women in business. In her goal to encourage and educate women in building business across the country, she launched and completed a 6 week coaching tour in partnership with Staple Business Depot in 2008 where she coached over 600 women in business.

Mandie is mother to four children and 3 stepchildren and one highly energetic chocolate lab! Ms Crawford is also a former award winning police officer with Halton Regional Police.