Oil and water, milk and vinegar, millennials and business plans; are these all things that don’t mix at all? We don’t think so, but let’s have a look at why millennial business owners fear business plans.
Millennials and Small Business Ownership
For all the bad press millennials get, one thing’s for sure, they’re changing the face of business today. Studies have shown that millennial entrepreneurs are starting businesses at a younger age than their baby boomer counterparts (at around 27) and that they have a strong admiration for entrepreneurship.
It’s true that often entrepreneurship is more of a mentality than an action and the economic downturn has made it hard for some to get off the ground, but increasingly millennials are turning away from traditional work and towards being their own boss.
Remember this doesn’t have to mean heading up the new Facebook, but it could be effectively running a local coffee shop or a small construction company. No matter the size of the company, a business plan is an essential component.
Yet for various reasons, millennial small business owners tend to shy away from business planning. Why is that?
Reason One: Fear of Missing Out + How to overcome it
We all know about FOMO and have experienced its queasy touch, but mostly when everyone else is at a great party and we’re at home with a cold. It’s not just about socializing, though; FOMO can affect your small business planning, too.
When you’ve had an idea for your own buzzing, you tend to be buzzing, running high on ideas and creativity. You want to just get started on turning your dreams into reality, not sitting at a desk deep-diving into market analyses. There’s that nagging worry that if you’re spending time writing a detailed business plan, you’re missing out on opportunities.FOMO can affect your small business planning as much as it can affect your socializing. How to avoid FOMO in business? Make a solid plan!Click To Tweet
If you’ve got business plan FOMO, it’s important to take some time out to regain perspective. We don’t mean weeks, or days (who has time for that!), just five minutes’ breathing space to think about the big picture. Remind yourself of your overall goals and give yourself a stern talking to – if you don’t make that plan, you really will be missing out, for real.
You’ll be missing out on all the long-term benefits having a strong foundation to your small business brings you – and that’s far more important than a few networking events near the beginning.
Reason Two: Fear of Being Tied Down + How to overcome it
We’ve all had that fear of commitment. It’s easy to feel that if you’ve committed to a business plan – if you’ve set down clear objectives and a detailed map – that you then won’t be able to have any fun.
We pour so much into a good business plan that it can be difficult to see beyond it. Millennial businesses are all about innovation and change, so it’s understandable that a plan can be seen as the antithesis to this. Millennial entrepreneurs might feel tied down by their plan, for example thinking that if they’ve written down the organization structure, they can never change that by creating a new post or changing the reporting system.
To get past this fear, you have to see a business plan as a process, not instructions set in stone. It’s the springboard for starting your business but it will evolve and change as the business does. Much like with any big commitment, small business planning needs to be given space sometimes and support at others.
Sometimes, your business plan might even need to be indulged a bit as you navigate this brave new world of small business ownership; but as long as you see it as a guide to help you, not strict rules, you’ll be just fine.
Reason Three: Fear of Being “Too Corporate” + How to overcome it
Let’s face it, many of the reasons why millennials venture into small business ownership are because they hate the corporate world. The 9 to 5 was never their thing and they want to break free from the shackles of corporations, dress codes, and pointless bureaucracy.
Maybe this aversion comes from their own experience, maybe it’s born from listening to parents or friends complain; either way, it can be pretty strong. So no wonder they run scared from the specter of a business plan, filled with lists, statistics, and analysis. It will conjure up visions of them counting pennies and wearing suits, everything us entrepreneurs are trying to escape.
We’re afraid there’s no easy solution – you just have to get over it. Avoiding something so vital to success because you don’t want to be perceived as corporate is shooting yourself in the foot. To try and give it more of a personal feel (so you don’t feel like a boring suit typing up numbers) shake up your approach to the business planning a bit.
Start by brainstorming on a whiteboard or post-it notes on your wall. Draw pictures or diagrams to illustrate your points. Do it in collaboration with people, so you get to bounce ideas off them. You can type everything up neatly when you’re finished, but enjoy the process of turning your moment of inspiration into a real live business.
Overcoming Fear and Creating a Business Plan
Sometimes when we have dreamed of something for a long time, the process of making it come true can be terrifying. Millennials are known for wanting immediate pay-off, and the process of making a business plan can seem to delay that.
However, it’s also a good way of road-testing your commitment. Overcome your fear by reminding yourself of why you’re passionate about this business and learn to see the business plan as something that will help rather than spook you.