Outlining your exit strategy is a golden opportunity to demonstrate vision and guile if  it is presented in a fashion that is both reasonable and supportable. Knowing how to write a business plan correctly will enable you to formulate a reasonable and investable exit strategy that will appeal to lenders and investors. Investors want to make a healthy return for their investment, generally 10 times the initial investment. In ninety nine percent of cases this will take time to deliver and investors know it.

“Nobody Can Copy Us”

The only way this statement is true is if you have an amazing invention that took years of R&D to develop and you have a watertight patent. Even then the patent will typically have a timeframe on it meaning the window of opportunity is finite. This statement is used with alarming frequency and it incites contempt in the eyes of investors and lenders. Unless you do have that patent in your pocket do not claim this to be true in your business plan. It shows a level of naivety that condemns the proponent to “un-investable” status immediately. It will also generate a barrage of questions around the actual uniqueness of the product and the competition it faces. If you make this statement when you write a business plan it had better be true!

The Correct Mindset

For Pitching A Business Plan

Your business plan is your strategic touchstone and should be moving continually with your business. Not only is it the internal heart of your strategic planning it is also a sales document and when pitching for funding it is helpful to remember the following points:

    • View the plan from the audience’ perspective
    • Cover off the risks and show a detailed action plan to mitigate them
    • Set realistic business objectives and measureable milestones
    • Know your top line numbers and market information
    • Demonstrate how the opportunity will benefit the audience

Now you know the common mistakes it’s time to get your business plan underway. For more information on how to write a business plan and how to get your business up and running visit our website.

Do you have a Big Dream for your career?

Steve Jobs knew all about that, didn’t he?
Is there something that you know in your heart that you would love to do – but it seems so big that you discount it before you have even begun?

This can come up via the back door with clients who start by talking about their career plans in terms of the possibilities that lead on from or build on what they have done so far in their working lives.

Sometimes that makes a lot of sense, but there are occasions when after some discussion, another idea emerges. This is when they finally admit to what they really want to do. But this Big Dream is just too big for them to take seriously, so they turn away and, as they see it, come back down to ‘reality’.

I sometimes wonder how come reality has got such a bad press. Why does being realistic mean staying small and ignoring the things that would inspire you? Dreams and reality do not always have to be in complete contradiction to one another.

So what can you do with your Big Career Dream? How can you find a way to make it seem accessible and realistic to you after all?

The Spectrum of Possibilities

One of the most useful exercises for career changers in this situation is one called the Spectrum of Possibilities, which I first encountered from Career Coach, Marianne Craig.

The first step is to mark out a sheet of paper with a scale across the page running from 1 – 10.

Then take your Big Career Dream and mark it at the right hand or ‘top’ end of the scale. This is what you would be doing if you were living your dream to the full – acting in a production in a big London theatre, defending a client in a major trial at the Old Bailey, running a wildlife sanctuary, having your own business, whatever inspires you.

Then on the far left of the scale, write down the smallest way in which you could bring some aspect of your Big Career Dreams Into your life. This could be simply going to the theatre regularly, sitting in the visitors’ gallery at court from time to time or volunteering once a month at a local animal shelter. If you have a business dream, it could be finding one client to work with or making one small product that you sell to friends and family.

Finally you fill in the 8 intervening steps with activities that show increasing levels of commitment to your dream.

Each step will involve a bigger level of involvement – but the involvement may not always be through your paid work.
What options can you identify?

Making Your Big Career Dream Achievable

This will begin to show you that your Big Career Dream does not have to be an all or nothing. There may well be steps you can take to begin to bring it to life, starting right now.

You might accept that achieving the Big Career Dream you have written at 10 is unlikely to happen for you – at least not yet – but if you can begin to take some steps in the right direction, who knows what possibilities might emerge over time?

So why not draw up a Spectrum of Possibilities for your own Big Career Dream and use it to work out how you can begin to bring your passion to life?

We hear a lot about resilience at the moment, particularly with regards to children and their need to develop “some”.

Resilience, the ability to bounce back following a difficulty or challenge, is becoming more important than ever in managing our careers.   With the career landscape today being so complex, unpredictable and fast changing, resilience is imperative to keep moving in a positive direction as we inevitably encounter highs and lows.

It’s a good idea to have a resilience strategy before you need to call on it.

  • Take time to really know what your strengths are so you can readily articulate them and identify which ones will serve you best in a challenging situation.  If you are a list person, make a list.
  • What are the resources that you have available to you (your relationships, your skills, in your environment) and how can you use them in a difficult situation?  Think as broadly as possible, as we can have a tendency to close in on ourselves in challenging times.

Whether we are responding to a change foisted upon us, or we are proactively taking action, knowing our resilience strategy could save time, minimise heartache and get better immediate and longer term outcomes.

What influences your decision making?

When you have to make a decision, do you calmly and objectively collect the facts, weigh up the pros and cons and make a cool and considered choice? Or are you more inclined to go with your gut feeling – perhaps you collect some information, but in the end you decide on what just feels right or on the basis of how others will be affected by the decision?

There are some working environments where that ability to be objective and make sometimes tough decisions is essential and if you prefer taking other people’s feelings into account, then you will find this kind of environment tough.

Does change and variety excite you or wear you out?

Are you a planner? If you like making lists and knowing what is coming next, then a structured work environment will feel comfortable for you. But for others it will feel like a straitjacket.

Some jobs will require you to be constantly on your toes adapting to day-to-day changes. Does this appeal to you or leave you feeling exhausted just at the thought of it?

So just from that brief overview, I think you can see how important it is to understand what your own personality preferences are.