• Ellakisha S. OKelley, Esq.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”- Benjamin Franklin

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”- Benjamin Franklin

I have a little twist to that saying that I live by- If you fail to do your business plan, you are planning to fail in your business. Well, you’re definitely not about your Benjamins- pun intended.

I stand by the idea that a business plan is a vital road map that will guide you towards your chosen destination. I encourage all of my clients to complete a business plan. This is not a conversation that I just have with my business clients. I also have thorough conversations with my athletes and entertainers regarding this topic. Yes, if you are in the business of using your talent, skills, & abilities and plan to get paid for it- you are running a business. The sooner one realizes this important point, the better their decision-making process will become.

For the most part, when one thinks about a business plan, what comes to mind is having a finished product that can be presented to possible investors, the bank, or used for some other business transaction. Although all the foregoing points are inarguably necessary reasons to be prepared with a business plan, they are not the only reasons.

Business plans can be utilized as a resourceful tool to catapult a person’s ideas to the next level; even if the plan is created just for the entrepreneur or business leader's viewing. The plan can motivate, redirect, foster problem solving, create focus, promote growth etc. I for one use a business plan for the latter reasons. I do not have any intentions of selling my law firm. I also have been fortunate and strategic enough to not need investors.

In other words, a business plan can impose discipline on your thinking. It can help you look back at the end of each year and re-evaluate your vision compared to your actions. To measure your accuracy in projection. To help you better understand your industry. At a minimum, these are the objectives I have in mind when I create a business plan for my clients, or myself, who may use the plan for our own eyes.

As I stated earlier, I create business plans for my business clients who use their plans for the traditional reasons. These plans have specific headings and structure. But for my defy logic, unpredictable clients, I pull out the most important headings that allow for discussion and opportunity to hone in on discipline, focus, and reinvention. For example, one area is the Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis that I address in traditional business plans but is just as meaningful in an alternative business plan.

I remember it like it was just yesterday (it was over 10 years ago) when I had to complete a dreaded business plan for my MBA program. I dreaded it because of a few individuals that I was paired with, but mostly because of how uber picky our Professor was with the deliverables regarding the SWOT analysis. We had to keep going back to the drawing board to “think deeper” and research further. Out of all sections, this just took god-awful forever. Needless to say, we finally exceeded expectations and probably could have trademarked and sold the electronic held hand vehicle device that did almost everything in today’s market.

As they say, hindsight is 20-20. Now, I am just like my former Professor when consulting with my clients during information gathering for these areas. This part of any business plan is the heartbeat of the document. Dr. D. Holness, Sr., I am appreciative of your insight. We are friends on LinkedIn hopefully he learns of my true gratitude these many, many years later.

If you don’t have a plan, you should truly consider looking into one that fits your needs.There are few other areas in addition to the SWOT analysis that needs to be addressed regardless of the plan’s purpose. Hence, It is important to think about your target market whether you are selling records and merch- or building an athletic fan base- or providing a product or service as a corporation in the consumer market. Whatever your dream, your passion, your field is, getting yourself a business plan developed is the best thing you can do for sustainable business success.

Purpose. Plan. Prosper

#Business #IntellectualProperty #PrincipalAttorney #Contract #Trademark #SportofLife #Entrepreneur #EntertainmentAttorney #BusinessLaw #Life #Athletes #Athlete #Entertainer #SportsEntertainmentLaw

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