You have made the decision to change your life by changing your job, your career, your livelihood, and you are pumped. You are ready to tackle the world and make it happen, right? Well, what exactly is ‘it’ and how do you plan to make ‘it’ happen? If you have the answer to that one, then you have a business plan. If you don’t know exactly how to achieve your goal, then you need to focus on developing a business plan. Without a business plan, you are like a ship setting sail without a destination. You have no idea where you will land. So in writing a business plan you are creating a thorough step-by-step process for success.

Developing a business plan incorporates a number of elements including, but not limited to, talking to an expert, crunching numbers, being realistic, setting objectives, anticipating road blocks, setting appropriate measures, timing and action, and focusing on the goal. Let’s take a brief look at each.

Talk to an expert about writing a business plan. Find someone who is doing what you would like to be doing, and ask them how they did it. People love to talk about themselves, or what they are doing, and as long as they don’t see you as a direct competitor they can provide a wealth of information in developing a business plan.

Crunch the numbers by talking to an accountant, banker or financial expert. Finding someone who can be impartial and help you determine if the potential profit can justify the financial investment needed to start and maintain your business. Some business plan concepts sound fantastic, however though the service or product appears wonderful, the numbers don’t add up to a sustainable business.

Be realistic in writing your business plan. Your numbers should error on the side of being conservative with profit and liberal with expense. It is far better to underestimate profit and over estimate expense in order to keep expectations within reason.

In developing your business plan, set objectives by knowing exactly what you want to accomplish. Keep the objectives reasonable and pertinent towards achieving your goal.

Creating a Timing and Action plan within your business plan is vital. To be successful you need to know what needs to be done, who needs to do it, and when it needs to be done. This keeps your plan moving forward and on target for completion.

Set appropriate measures or metrics which serve as a benchmark towards your timing and action plan. There should be a measureable level of expectation which needs to be met or preferably surpassed to move towards desirable outcomes. Most aspects of life in general and specifically business come with measurements; the key is to keep it realistic.

Anticipate road blocks in your business plan. Being optimistic is important to success; however being realistic is just as important when developing a business plan. If you have ever been involved in organized debate, you know the importance of knowing what your ‘opponent’ can surface, so you will be ready to respond to it if needed.

Finally, focus on the goal, don’t focus on the peripheral. By planning your work and working your plan you have a road map towards success.