Monet's Gardens in Giverny, FranceDear Ellen,

My friend has a business plan that “passed muster” with her bank and she got a loan.  How about if I just take her plan and customize it for my business?  Sounds like a good short cut.  What do you think?


Dear Vera,

I like and don’t like that idea.  While it can be a short cut, adopting someone else’s plan (or using a fill-in-the-blanks business plan template) is like a color-by-number painting.  It may look OK but it will never inspire you.  So, perhaps you could…

  • Buddy Up.  Reviewing someone’s biz plan can give you insights into your own.  Ask if you can work with your friend as you assemble your business plan.  Critique and support each other in your approach.  I love the energy when you put ambitious minds together.  AND…
  • Craft an Original.  Ultimately, it’s your vision and your company.  Pass all ideas through your filter and only commit to the ideas that resonate with you.  Assemble data.  Let your gut weigh in.  Build a business plan that inspires you and makes fiscal sense.  It’s a yin yang thing.  Note that the form of your business plan – electronic files, a handwritten journal, a one-pager, a three ring binder – is optional.

Every business, even a billion dollar empire, starts with one person’s vision.  As that person gains clarity and takes action, other people – customers, team members – may engage.  And so the company expands.  The really great ventures hold true to the mission of the founder, even if the products and services change.

Color by number?  Or valuable original? 

I just returned from Paris.  We rented an apartment in the Montmartre neighborhood for a week.  Montmarte is famous for Moulin Rouge and the Bohemian culture that exploded during the late 1800s.  Monet, Gaugin, Renoir, Manet, Picasso, Breck…so many others met in Montmarte, and the Impressionist movement in art was born.  They drank and smoked and discussed (argued!) about politics, social mores and art.

Monet Renoir

They had an effect on each other…you can see the influences in their paintings.   Yet the great masters, like great businesspeople, held true to their unique point of view. Be true to you, and help one another, too!  That’s the essence of The Biz Plan Challenge. We’ll be working together to craft extraordinary business plans…and businesses.  I’m hosting the first session on Tuesday, May 6th, and it’s free!  Join in, explore the process…and then you can decide if you are up for the adventure.  No pressure, no strings.  Check it out!