As we move into March, which is Women’s History Month, I thought a post about your Big Big BIG Idea Plan for 2019 was in order.
Because this is a perfect time to review the plan you created in December of 2018, readying yourself for this year. Don’t worry, if you didn’t create a plan in December, it’s all good. If you created a plan in January, it’s all good too. We’re going to cover the rest of the year, starting from now, and let last year rest.
This is for the women out there. We have no quarrel with men, so don’t go getting your knickers in a knot. Nurturing Big Ideas merely has its heart set on working with amazing women. By the way, we think all women are amazing.
A Time of Turmoil and Great Expectations
I grew up in the 1950s and 60s. It was a time of turmoil and great expectations. As a young girl living in Upstate NY, just shy of the suburbs, where my mother would really have liked to live (she thought all the best people lived in the suburbs, but we all know they didn’t; some of them lived just down the street, if I remember correctly, and I do ), I watched the turmoil with curious eyes, and I experienced the great expectations with a good bit of skepticism.
Women were advancing in politics and medicine and business. The young women, like myself, were conflicted. On one hand, we wanted to get married, have children, be a housewife. It was a worthy goal. Being a mother and a wife was self-fulfilling, so were were taught (perhaps not outright, not obviously, taught, but the inference was always there). some of those who bought into it went on to become the talented women we work with today.
Not being a mother, or at least, not immediately, was attractive to some of us who dreamed of bigger things than housework and babies and cooking. We wanted careers. We went to college and graduated with honors and pursued the wonders of a “job” on our way to that “career.”
Those were big ideas, back then. Lofty goals. We didn’t know it. I certainly didn’t know it. To me, going to college was necessary. Studying something I loved - veterinary technology (I wanted to study writing, become a professional writer, a novelist, but I was deterred - which is a story for another day), allowed me to work and do something I enjoyed.
The Dreams We Dreamed
The dreams we dreamed were all knotted up in a changing world that wanted women kept on a pedestal - for the admiration of men. You can read Gloria Steinem for more on that, if you like.
It’s no secret that women like being admired and fussed over. Let’s not pretend we don’t. But, in our heart of hearts, many of us also want to be equal to men. We were working towards that in those days of my youth, and I dreamed of the day women would be able to take their talents and their magic and make money from them.
I worked as a veterinary tech and then I went into business as an office manager and then I gradually became an entrepreneur. The decision to be my own boss was not easy, but it also wasn’t hard. I refused to be a ‘good employee’ who took orders and fetched coffee and kept silent, even as I had been applauded for my independence and my writing skill. I just wanted more.
My First Office
My first office was in a back bedroom. A spare room. My kids were grown. My son still lived at home but he had a room in the basement. On the main floor of my little home, that I looked around and decided I could do this. I could be on my own.
Indeed, I was living off of borrowed money (from an insurance policy, which never got paid back), and time was not on my side, so I learned how to be a business professional through trial and error.
I learned the kinds of things we teach here at Nurturing Big Ideas. I learned the nuances of networking and how to deliver a 60-second commercial (today, the goal is a 30-second commercial). I learned how to ‘play the game’ and how to take my talents to the right people. It was after a good bit of time, that I discovered the concept of designing a business plan.
And therein lies our lesson for today - designing your business plan.
First, let’s establish what a business plan is. Yes, it’s a plan for your business, this “thing” you believe in, that you will or have built, that you are becoming. It’s also a plan for your life. Do not listen to advice that asks you to separate business from pleasure. Or advice that says you can separate the two. Work is play, if you love what you do.
Work is Play
The “work is play” idea was shared with me many years ago. I was at a friend’s home, where our children could play in the backyard, and over tea I was lamenting the fact that my husband of the time would not lift a finger to cook or clean or care for the kids. To him that was ‘women’s work’.
He was the breadwinner and worked hard all day. He should not have to deal with kids and house or meals when he got home. Even on the weekend. That was his only free time, he told me. He was tired from working so hard at his ‘job’ and I should not ask him to help around the house.
My friend looked me in the eye, and said, very deliberately, “Does your husband like what he does?”
“Of course,” I said. “He’s the Director. He’s in charge. He loves lording it over people. And, it’s work he enjoys.”
“Well then,” she said, stirring more milk into her tea, “he has no excuse at the end of the day. If he’s doing what he loves, work is play.”
Your Business Plan
I share that story to establish a foundation. Your work should be play, also. If you are embarking on a new venture, it should be something that fully engages you and provides the kind of excitement that gets you out of bed every day.
The problem is, despite what you’ve read elsewhere, or heard at a seminar you once attended, passion for what you do is not enough.
You need a business plan. It doesn’t need to be complicated or confusing. We worked with a business planner back in the publishing days of WME Books. She was wonderful and taught us how to look at the big picture.
Since then, we’ve learned that you can start a new business, a new idea, a big idea, with a one page business plan. There are a number of them out there, but we recommend the One Page Business Plan by Jim Horan.
The goal isn’t to design the next ten years. From my perspective, even the next five years is a stretch. You need to focus on the now (what you want to achieve), and the how (who you sell to, where they are, how they buy, how you will market to them).
Next year and the next five years will creep up and you will need to reevaluate your business plan, but for now, I want you to understand the need for this planning.
I can help you get started, while you wait for delivery of your one page business plan book. Email me for my 21 Necessary Steps Check list.
The list is just an overview, or outline, if you will, of the steps you need to take as you build your plan this year.
We outline the steps needed to move forward. You will be asked questions that need serious answers. Some questions will require research. Other questions will require soul-searching. Still others ask you to do things you might be uncomfortable doing (asking for money, bringing on a relative or friend as a partner, things that require stepping out of your comfort zone).
We didn’t create this outline to make you sweat or cry. It’s designed to make you think!
“All Serious DARING Starts from Within”
I agree. I know you have that daring within. I know you can make this happen. I urge you to use March, Women’s History Month, to move your big idea forward.
As a gift, I offer you this quiz especially for women, from Corporate Refugees - take it, and then look over the 21 Steps document from Nurturing Big Ideas, and add in advice from your one page business plan. By then, you’ll be good to go!
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