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Its probably fair to say most people investing money in building their dream home go into that project having a detailed plan. Its probably also fair to say many small businesses investing time, debt and capital in their business do so without a plan.

I’ll give you one reason why:

Simply Google, ‘Business Plan Templates.’ You will find 36 million pages. Most examples of plans are 20+ pages.

The idea of putting together a ‘real’ (read definition: subjective) plan can be daunting. I understand working with certain businesses you may need a very detailed business plan with projected income and profit margins especially if you are looking for

an investor. However most of us, ‘we’ are the investor. What’s more valuable for most of us is that we have a simply stated plan with 2-3 objectives and we use this to plot our shorter term objectives. Trust me, just by doing this you will be way ahead of the pack. You can move into the higher percentile of this group if you review your objectives regularly and adjust accordingly. When we build that dream home why do we plan for it? So we get exactly what we want because we invest a lot of money into it. In life though, specifically in business, probably our biggest investment is our time, our sweat equity. We may valuate our time differently than we valuate a dollar. Why work so hard, ‘slave’ some may say for your business, if you don’t plan on doing well, or accomplishing 2-3 long term objectives that are important to you? When I realized I needed to lay out my own plan as simple as possible and did so, I grew my 6 month net income to just shy of a hundred thousand dollars and I brought in an additional 5 million dollars of assets under management. This is how I did it and its much like building a house. Consider my three step process and execute them sequentially:

• Have a solid foundation. Not for your business plan per se but for you as an individual. You have to define what your core values are and what those mean to you. How do you live according to them? What values drive your every action and direct you to do things right? Pick 4 to 5 and put them in writing.

• Your blueprints must be clear. You must have a clear & concise description of what you want. Some call this your ‘Why,’ but I feel it’s more appropriate to call it your ‘What.’ What are you building? Will your home have 2 or 3 floors? Will it have a swimming pool or a beautiful lanai? Your ‘What’ should be 2-3 sentences a succinct statement about what you want. This is usually very simple to determine. Give yourself 30 seconds to come up with 3 to 4 things you want out of life. What will be on your paper after 30 seconds is usually very accurate. This ‘What’ may evolve over time and that’s ok, it should. This simple plan is something you should to review & modify regularly.

• Begin with the end in mind. Work backwards from your ‘What.’ I take each of the 3 things in my ‘What’ and work backwards. I ask myself, what will have to happen in order for me to accomplish this? How will I accomplish it? What will I give up along the way to get this? Work this backwards until you’ve broken down a strategy that leads to the concise description of your life goals, your ’What.’ You should end up with simple, practical and actionable items to teach you how & what you should be spending your time on. Its okay if it takes some time to write this up. Please though, make the time to plan. There’s not a lot of logic to working without an end in mind. Unless you like working without a clear vision of where your going.

Do you need help with financial planning or retirement planning? Contact me, Brandon, at 866-360-2724 or email me at Barchibald@theivyag.com for an appointment with someone who will take care of you through your retirement.

The first step toward achieving your retirement goals is having a plan…