Writing a business plan can feel overwhelming. Use these productivity hacks to write a business plan faster. These techniques are designed to wire your brain for increased creativity, ideation, and the actual task of writing your business plan.
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1. Use a Timer (Pomodoro Technique)
Employing time management techniques can significantly improve productivity and reduce feelings of overwhelm when working on a big project like writing a business plan.
I once coached a startup founder who was juggling her day job and her entrepreneurial dream. She struggled to find enough hours in the day to dedicate to her business plan. I suggested using a timer and the Pomodoro Technique.
She would set a timer for 25 minutes and work solely on her business plan. After the timer rang, she would take a 5-minute break, during which she’d stretch or grab a cup of coffee.
This technique allowed her to concentrate solely on the task at hand in manageable chunks. She found that her focus was sharper during these dedicated periods and the frequent breaks kept her feeling refreshed. Over time, she found herself more motivated as she was able to make steady progress each day without feeling overwhelmed or burned out.
Productivity Hacks to Efficiently Manage Time
- Use a timer app or a simple kitchen timer for structured work periods.
- Implement the Pomodoro Technique: 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break.
- Adjust the timing to suit your personal rhythm. Some people prefer longer periods of work and longer breaks.
2. Start with These Templates for Writing a Business Plan
It’s always easier to edit than to write a business plan from scratch. With the vast array of digital resources available today, writing a business plan has never been easier.
A client of mine launching a renewable energy startup was struggling to structure his business plan and conduct in-depth market analysis. I recommended he use a business plan template and take advantage of online research tools.
He chose a template from this site, MoreBusiness.com Sample Business Plans, which provided a clear structure for his plan and guided him through each section. For market research, he turned to platforms like Statista and IBISWorld, where he was able to gather extensive data on the renewable energy sector, its growth trends, major players, and future predictions. He also used Trello to track his progress, creating a card for each section of the plan and moving them to the ‘done’ list as he completed them. These resources saved him countless hours and helped him create a more polished and thorough plan.
Productivity Hacks for Using Digital Aids
- Explore online resources for templates such as the free business plans on MoreBusiness.com.
- Leverage market research platforms for industry insights and data (e.g., Statista, IBISWorld).
- Utilize project management tools like Trello or Asana to keep track of your progress and stay organized.
3. Draft and Revise as You Write Your Plan
When it comes to writing a business plan, expecting to hit the bullseye in your first draft might set you up for disappointment. Instead, aim for a decent first draft and then revise. A founder I worked with in the manufacturing sector followed this approach. The first draft of his business plan was, to put it mildly, rough.
Instead of feeling discouraged, he saw it as an opportunity to refine and improve. He spent the next weeks revising, seeking feedback, and continuously improving his plan. His perseverance paid off when he presented a polished, compelling business plan to his investors, securing the funding he needed to launch his venture.
Productivity Hacks for Drafting and Revising
- Don’t strive for perfection in the first draft. Get your ideas down and refine them later.
- Regularly review and revise your plan to ensure it’s up-to-date and accurate.
- Seek feedback from mentors, peers, or industry professionals to help refine your plan.
4. Talk to Someone Who Has Done It
No one is an island, and seeking advice from experts can fast-track your progress and help you avoid common pitfalls. A tech startup founder I worked with was wise enough to seek advice from a mentor in the early stages of writing a business plan. He approached a small business advisor from SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground.
This advisor had a wealth of experience and was able to offer him valuable advice on every aspect of his plan, from financial forecasting to marketing strategies. The founder told me that this was a game-changer for him. He was able to clarify his business strategy, fine-tune his value proposition, and even strengthen his network in the industry through his advisor’s contacts.
Productivity Hacks for Seeking Expert Advice
- Approach business advisory services like SCORE for expert guidance.
- Network with industry professionals who can offer you advice based on their own experiences.
- Consider hiring a professional business plan consultant if your budget allows.
5. Use Visual Queues to Stay Motivated
The process of writing a business plan can be lengthy and sometimes daunting, but keeping your end goal in sight can be a significant motivator. I worked with a first-time entrepreneur who was struggling with the enormity of starting a business. She kept a picture of her dream storefront on her desk while she worked on her business plan. This visual reminder of what she was working towards kept her motivated and focused during the ups and downs of the process.
Productivity Hacks for Maintaining Motivation
- Keep your end goal in sight, whether it’s a picture, a written mission statement, or a prototype of your product.
- Take time to celebrate small victories to keep morale high.
- Remember why you started – your passion and vision can be powerful motivators when challenges arise.
6. Use Music, Ambient Noise
Incorporating music or ambient noise can be beneficial for creating a conducive environment for productivity. One entrepreneur I know ran a graphic design business from a bustling shared workspace. She found the chatter and movement distracting, so she started using noise-cancelling headphones and playing ambient noise. She found a variety of online platforms that offered ambient sounds like rainfall, ocean waves, or cafe noise. Not only did these sounds drown out the office distractions, but they also helped her focus and stay creative.
Productivity Hacks to Optimize Your Auditory Environment
- Experiment with different types of music or noise to see what suits you best. Some people work well with classical music, others with ambient sounds.
- Use noise-cancelling headphones to eliminate distractions, particularly in a noisy environment.
- Utilize platforms like Noisli or A Soft Murmur for a variety of ambient sounds.
7. Create a Comfortable, Uncluttered Workspace
This is one of the most underrated productivity hacks out there. The physical environment can have a significant impact on your mood and by extension your productivity as you write a business plan. An author I know who was working on a business book for solopreneurs made sure her workspace was always tidy and comfortable. She invested in an ergonomic chair, kept her desk clutter-free, and always had a plant or fresh flowers nearby for a touch of nature. She found that this pleasant environment reduced her stress levels, boosted her mood, and made her more productive.
Productivity Hacks for Optimizing Your Workspace
- Keep your workspace tidy. Clutter can lead to mental clutter.
- Invest in comfortable and ergonomic furniture. It’s worth it in the long run.
- Add elements of nature, like plants or flowers, to your workspace. They’re known to reduce stress and improve mood.
The process of writing a business plan may be complex. These strategies can make it more manageable and even enjoyable. Writing a business plan should be a rewarding process. It’s a chance to delve deep into your business idea, understand your market, and clarify your strategies to build your roadmap to success. It will get you one step closer to your entrepreneurial dreams.