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Victoria Munro of Make-it-FlyLay the Foundation First
and Then Write Your Plan
By Victoria Munro

Printable version

“If you don’t have a plan, how will you know when you get there? The single greatest mistake most entrepreneurs make is embarking on a business without a written plan.”

~ Jay Conrad Levinson and Seth Godin, The Guerilla Marketing Handbook

A written plan, however simple, that realistically reflects your business can be an amazingly effective tool. In a nutshell, it’s your road map to success.

Among other benefits, a business plan will help you:

Keep on track and prevent expensive, time-wasting detours
Convincingly demonstrate the validity of your business for potential investors
Rightly prioritize your daily, monthly and annual goals
Wisely allocate resources
More easily identify and quickly resolve problems
Affirm your sense of purpose
Give meaning to immediate tasks, even the mundane little chores

Before writing your plan, it’s vital to lay a solid foundation based on understanding who you are and where you want to take your life. At nine years old, I made a plan to own a chain of flower shops—seemed like it would be fun. I opened my first store at 17 and added another when I was 19. I worked hard, and in my early 20’s was well on the way to achieving my dream. Yet instead of being elated, I was disappointed and frustrated. This wasn’t what I wanted after all. I needed to stop and reflect on where I really wanted to take my life.

Since then, I’ve found it helpful to give careful thought to the following foundations before writing plans. Putting these in place first will keep you focused, motivated and moving towards a rewarding life you’ll enjoy. Without these foundations in place, you can do “all the right things,” but they probably won’t work for you or bring you fulfillment over the long haul.

Three Essentials: Foundations for Your Plan

You Must Know:

1. What You Value Most

Clearly identifying and being true to your personal values will energize and influence all areas of your life and business. These values are the non-negotiables that are truly important to you—the principles you won’t compromise. Whether we are consciously aware of them or not, we all have and live by personal values. Our actions and the way we live our lives demonstrate the values we hold dear.
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2. Your Definition of Success

We use the word “success” frequently today, often without giving much thought to what we really mean. Each person’s understanding of success is unique. How you personally define it will have a significant impact on how you use your time, run your business and live your life. Think about what success means to you? Write down your definition. This may take a little soul-searching, but it will prove invaluable. Remember, success isn’t a destination.
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3. What Your “Big Picture” Looks Like

Ask yourself what you want your life and your business to look like in the future. Conceptualize it—see it, feel it, smell it. Be specific. Where is the business located? What sort of a building houses the business? Are there employees? How many? What is the annual revenue? Who are your biggest clients? What is your role in the company? How are you spending your time? Envision everything, down to the smallest details, exactly as you’d like to see it.

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  “Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them.”  
~ Stephen Covey

An effective business plan is a dynamic document to be made use of often, tweaked, updated and sometimes completely revised. It should not be gathering dust on the shelf or stashed away in the file cabinet.

Before you write your plan, I encourage you to base it on these foundations.

Enjoy your journey!

(659 words)
© 2005-2008 Victoria Munro.

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About the Author: Victoria Munro is co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly® LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for small-business owners through creatively designed programs and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different businesses. To receive FREE business success articles with tips to help you with your business, sign up for their award-winning ezine, “In-Flight Refueling,” at:, and receive a free copy of the eBook, Get More Done in Less Time: 101 Quick and Easy Time Tactics & Tips.

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