Saturday, January 06, 2007

Me? Write a Business Plan?

On January 1, 2004 I created my company’s first business plan. Words of Worth, my writing and editing business, had just been re-launched after our move from Saskatchewan to British Columbia, work prospects were scarce and capital funds even scarcer. The idea of a full-blown business plan, complete with budget and marketing strategy, seemed more laughable than plausible.

Like many writers who have a Christian worldview, my first articles were published in church bulletins, local newspapers and Christian publications. I loved those opportunities and found new doors opening on a regular basis. But when our circumstances changed and I had to become a major contributor to our household budget, I was forced to target other markets. In 2000, I started working with a US company, researching and writing background material for analysts and portfolio managers. Since I’d been living in Saskatchewan and covering agricultural and rural events, my new responsibilities included keeping abreast of the latest developments in agriculture and technology. I enjoyed the work. Life was getting comfortable again.

But my husband and I both had health concerns, and our children had been lobbying us to move closer to them. So, in late 2003, we relocated to an isolated area on the West Coast of British Columbia. The move itself was fine but at the same time, the company I’d been working for went through a major restructuring and I was one of the casualties.

I really needed to find new clients, but how was I supposed to convince total strangers in a small, insular community that they needed my writing and editing services? There were many reports being done by various levels of government but it seemed that technical and qualitative reports could only be done by experts living at least one ferry ride away.

Shortly after we moved, I jumped at the chance to attend a free series put on by our local Regional Economic Development Society. The course was great, but when our instructor, a retired CEO of a global investment company, challenged each of the budding entrepreneurs in his class to create a business plan, I admit I questioned his judgment, at least for me.

From the day I first launched my company, I’d always treated my work as a highly professional venture. I don’t write in my pjs, I keep regular office hours, and I am willing to spend money for top-quality advertising material. But writing a business plan seemed a little “over the top” for my struggling venture.

But, comply I did, and since then I’ve grown in confidence, achieved successes, and received blessings I could not have imagined. While reviewing my 2006 goals this week I realized, much to my astonishment, that I’d met and exceeded all the seemingly unreachable objectives I jotted down on January 1 last year. Among other things, they included:
  • Mentoring another writer who is now employed full time with the local newspaper. I also introduced her to the editor of two other publications and she contributes regularly to their monthly magazines.
  • Hiring four subcontractors to help with my increasing work load
  • Being nominated for 3 Chamber of Commerce business awards
  • Doubling my giving to the work of the Lord (my long-term goal is to be able to give $1,000 per month to missions)

This week I’ll work on next year’s goals, and I’ll probably be a bit more ambitious since I’ve learned a whole lot, though mostly the hard way. I’ve gained confidence as a business woman but more important, I’m learning to experience the power of total dependence on the Lord. He has opened doors, sent key people across my paths, taught me that honoring Him always pays (though not always in money), and strengthened me when I ran out of steam and inspiration.

How about you? Got your business plan up to date?

3 comments:

Deborah Gyapong said...

This is inspiring! Congratulations.

Great job. Thanks for posting.

Deborah

N. J. Lindquist said...

Linda, you just convinced me! I'm about to do up a plan. Thanks.

N. J.

LC said...

I do remember that day when you sat across from me with a mss. and a dream... way to go, girl! God has blessed you.

Elsie Montgomery

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