Today, let’s talk about doing something for the first time. Whether it is a sport, or doing a business plan, the first few times most of us do something, we are cautious... too cautious. Why, because we have to think too much while we are doing the sport or business plan. Thinking is a slow and often over-rated process.
So, let’s take doing that business plan for the first time. There are over achievers out there who want to produce a fifty page plan, after ultimate research. What usually happens? It is studied to death. No one steps up and owns it. It sits on the shelf.
The ExcellPugetSound lesson here is the first time you do something, like a business plan, start small and learn from doing. Then go do it again.
The secret about business plans and much of what we learn is that the learning is from trying it and seeing what you can improve upon the next time. With business owners who have never done a plan (this includes one business at over $200M in sales), it is important to put a stake in the ground and then communicate around it. Have a plan for collecting feedback and then do it again... only the second time, think about expanding who gets involved. After years of planning, you will end up like one company I have worked with (probably the best annual planners I know) saying that you are still learning and improving.
There is a second reason why the first time you do something it is about caution. I remember being on our high school’s gymnastic team (perhaps mascot would have been a better position). We had some really outstanding athletes and had been state champs two years running. At the state meet that year, one of our teammates was introduced over the loudspeaker system as attempting a dismount that had never been done in a high school meet. I still remember the words, “... for the first time in....” My teammate pulled it off flawlessly.
Why? Because it was not the first time he had ever done the dismount. I watched him hundreds of times as he broke down the maneuver and did very small parts, perfecting them, and then put those together.
What the audience at the state meet did not see is first time caution because the move had been practiced and repeated. What many of my teammates had not experienced was all the planning that this guy did. On the way home from school (nine months before the state meet) he talked (I was the audience) about what it would take to learn and then be ready to do this move at the state meet.
By the time he made it to state, he had muscle memory and nine months of steadily improving results. Now go out there and plan for how you will take advantage of the economic recovery.