One of the most compelling reasons to write a business plan is to clarify what you want your business to be, and what actions you need to take to create that.
A lot of businesses are very reactive to the next potential customer or idea that comes along. If you have a plan, you can critically assess how well a new opportunity fits with your plan. While flexibility and seizing opportunities is part of the dance of business, having a plan gives you a steadier place to come from.
To be useful, a plan needs to be something that you are committed to acting on, and to updating as circumstances change.
Step 1. Start with a standard structure.
This will cover: strategic planning, legal requirements and marketing, as well as people and financial
Step 2. Make your plan personal, and exciting to you
If you plan is written to impress other people, and doesn't reflect what excites you, it's unlikely that you will look at it regularly and use it to guide the development of your business.
Ways to add juice to your plan will vary depending on who you are, but will generally involve using your intuition and feelings to complement the thinking and structure processes described in Step 1.
Step 3. Take action in a steady yet flexible way.
Finding the balance between delivering services and/or products to your clients and progressing your business plan is a fine art. However, having specific plans to action whenever you are between jobs is a brilliant way to stave off anxiety about where the next job is coming from!