The importance of planning

Dan Dibbelt
Smoky River Regional Economic Development

There is something to be said about being spontaneous. Anyone who has hopped in their car and left for a week’s holiday with no plans, no destination and no reservations has likely enjoyed the sense of freedom that comes with that type of holiday.

And while the spontaneity of it all may make for a great holiday, it’s not such a good idea when you are opening up a new business or purchasing a new one.

Many people contemplate opening up their own business, often based on something they like to do or perhaps something they think will make them a lot of money. Anyone who has jumped into that dream like a spontaneous trip, has likely regretted it.

Starting or purchasing a business is a lot more work than planning a holiday and can have disastrous financial consequences. In the case of business, planning is best.

I was recently doing a bit of reading up on opening or purchasing a business and learned some interesting facts. Women, on the whole, have a greater chance of success in going into business than men. First women enter into a businesses opportunity at three times the rate of men. Women are also twice as likely to still be in that same business after five years than men. So what makes woman so great at business.

The bottom line is planning. Women are more likely to do more thorough research before jumping into a business idea than men. Women tend to spend six to ten months researching their product, service, business location and other factors compared to men who usually spend less than four months.

Women do business plans. A business plan is not only crucial to a businesses’ success, but is also required when applying for financing. A business plan is a natural follow-up from doing the research on the viability of your business.

I often talk to people who want to open a business. Perhaps they see a real need for a show shop in town – and in all likelihood, they like shoes.

A business plan will include all the details such as the regional shoe-buying demographic, shop size and costs, overhead, product cost, product mark up and many other factors that will ultimately show if they will make money at the end of the day.

Women also tend to be better at asking, when they don’t know something. Remember that spontaneous trip you took last summer? How often did the husband stop and ask for directions?

It may be a cliché, but women are more willing to seek advice. That may be from a friend, from an expert or even by taking a course to hone up her skills in areas she may feel weak.

Women also tend to be more realistic about the success of a potential business than men do. Part of that is because women often go into a business for personal reasons or to follow their passion.

Yes, they too want to make money, however, they are also focused on doing something they enjoy, whether that be cooking, grooming or retailing merchandise, they themselves like.

Men tend to see a business as a way of making money, and lots of it. Sure men may pursue a business in which they possess a skill or a passion, like cooking, automotive, or woodworking.

But they also worry more about earning money.

Many women decide to pursue a business to fill time they may have when their kids are in school or they become empty nesters.

And finally women tend to be more committed to a business once they start it. The reasons for this may be simply that they spend more time researching and planning their business and they therefore have a better understanding of how long it will actually take for their business to be a success.

Now I realize this article seems like I am stereotyping men and women. To some degree this is true; however, it is based on facts.

The most important thing to take from this article, however, is how important the planning process is in starting or purchasing a business. So certainly skip the planning on your next vacation, but you can never do too much research and planning when starting or purchasing a business.

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