So how about a Guerrilla approach to planning? We are not talking about the gorillas that we saw in Tarzan movies. Not exactly the guerrilla in the John Wayne war movies (think Rambo for you younger ones). The dictionary defines a guerrilla as a “member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces.” Ever feel that way in business?
So how do you do that in business? More specifically how do you do that when planning a business?
Start with the end in mind! But an end in mind can be another word for a dream. Write that desired end down. There begins the reality!
Now that you have written the end down, continue to sketch in more details, working backwards. It will be easier to work when you have a vision of success in your mind and on paper.
For instance, you want to start a consulting business. You have no clients, little capital, some contacts, some skill as a ___________ (you must fill in the blank) and you are sure that with such meager resources you will fail…. just like your spouse or parents or friends told you.
Chances are that you will fail!
Now let’s take a guerrilla approach. You want to generate revenue of $1,000,000 per year. You feel you can charge out $50 per hour, so you will have to work 20,000 hours a year! Then you picture yourself managing a team of ten people that are charging about $75 dollars an hour, with a support staff and you managing them, solving problems, developing systems and dealing with special clients – strictly on a “retainer” basis. You redo your numbers and you are generating close to $1,500,000 per year.
It is true that most people are scared to think like a guerrilla. They want to start at the beginning and do it like the others. They want to conform and be part of the norm. Guerrillas worry about success and conformity and status quo.
Seeing the target is a hard job in business planning. You need to be brave and look beyond rough terrain. You need to set goals that others will mock and be envious of at the same time. You need to see things that others will think are not there. You should see your company as you want it to be when you EXIT it, not as it will be when you enter it.
How can you know what the target is? You can look at your “outputs” and then you need to measure your “outputs” to the number of people out there that need this service or have this problem. So while it is important to visualize, it is also very important to research and test. The research should add humility to your plans. It must recognize the challenges and difficulties that lay ahead. It brings the conservatism into projections that accountants speak of but it does not hide under a rock. It sets goals that you want to obtain. For instance, while a break-even point in a business is an important is not the goal. It can be a goal in a series of goals but it is not the goal.
So keep the end in mind!