If free-forming works for you, then by all means go for it. But I have to say, I don’t understand the appeal of being a soloist without a business plan at all.
On the Flying Solo forum, experienced soloists are often heard urging newbies to write business and marketing plans before embarking on a new venture.
But a few folk are committed to running their businesses without such business plans, preferring to stay flexible and agile.
There are a couple of things about the agile approach that I just can’t get my head around.
Firstly, if you’re making marketing and other business decisions on the run, how can you really be strategic? Don’t all your decisions end up being tactical and short term?
And how long do you take deciding what to do (and what not to) if you haven’t got a framework in place for those decisions? How do you even make decisions at all?
Behavioural science tells us that when there are too many options humans have a default tendency to either do nothing or do what they’ve done many times before. It’s called the paradox of choice, and I can relate to it wholeheartedly.
These monthly blog posts I write for Flying Solo are pretty much the only writing I do each month where the brief is completely open. In some ways it’s a joy to be left to my own devices, but ultimately deciding on a topic takes about nine times as long as the writing itself.
Want more articles like this? Check out the business plans section.
Other than the fact that the pre-blog mental pingpong means I sometimes miss my deadline (sorry Sam!), the deliberations are not such a huge problem when it comes to the occasional blog post. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t want them to be a feature of my marketing activity on an ongoing basis.
Harry Goldstein summed it up nicely when this topic was recently discussed in the forum:
“Imagine I took the dashboard out of your car and then asked you to drive on a long trip to somewhere you’ve not been before, without a map or GPS. You’d most likely get to where you wanted to go. But I can guarantee that you’d drive slower than if you had a speedo, and also stop a lot more often for fuel (just in case you run out). Most of the trip you’d be quite anxious about whether you’d taken a wrong turn or even gone the wrong way.”
But maybe you prefer the scenic route and find meandering the unmapped terrain to be one of the joys of soloism? Whether you’re a framework freak or a flexibility floozy, please share your thoughts on business plans below.