I first wrote a business plan last year. I used Steve Pavlina’s article To Plan or Not to Plan as a starting point. While I did not have a lot of details, I thought it would help me to focus my energy on the tasks that would help me reach my business goals. Having a plan, even if it is off-target, is better than settling for chaos.
I did not write a 50 or 100 page document. It was short and easy to read. The idea was that it would be something that I could look at periodically to verify that I was on course. It was also meant to be easy to update, and I did update it periodically. The last update, however, was in February.
For months, I have wanted to update this plan. The dates and figures are wrong, especially since I know that I will not accomplish my goal of selling my own game in November. Each aspect of my business plan can get a healthy update of reality. Maybe update isn’t the correct word. Overhaul might be more appropriate. While I would like to say that I had checked it every month, I have not, and I stopped focusing on the things that could help my business. My plan was becoming irrelevant, and for some reason updating it was just a task on my todo list.
I know more now than I did in March, so naturally I am in a better position to address what can go in a business plan. I actually removed a number of items because I realized that to include them would mean that I am giving myself one more responsibility to distract me from making games. I added some more items, such as the fact that I am using Google AdSense and have just signed up as a Barnes & Noble Affiliate, as you can see in the Reading Books in 2006 page. With actual figures, I can project at least some of my income, whereas before I left most of my income and expense fields blank.
I feel much better with an updated plan. I hope that I learn from the past year and do a much better job of making time for my business. If a month goes by and I do not check my plan, it should be an indication that something is wrong. An important purpose of a plan is to tell me what I should be doing at any given moment. If I am not following the plan, then what am I doing instead? Should I be doing it? Sometimes the answer will be yes, but often I can probably find a better way to spend my time.