Most of the would-be small business owners I meet are naturally gifted. They have useful talents, educational and work experiences, and they are passionate about many things. They have a sincere desire to create a small business that is both fun and profitable. One of the things I've been talking with them about is the distinction between planning and playing a business. The distinction was reinforced yesterday when I attended a spiritual training seminar. The ice breaker was very instructive.
Everyone was given a bag containing several puzzle pieces. We were instructed to work together to assemble the puzzle. Shortly after we started, I heard someone say, “I don't think all the pieces are here.” Then someone else said, “I think this must be a picture of a space ship.” Another person said, “Put all the red pieces over here.”
After a short while, the facilitator offered to show us a picture of the finished puzzle. We agreed of course, astounded that none of us had made the request on our own. Once we saw a picture of the finished product, it was a matter of seconds before we had a finished puzzle.
You Need More Than Pieces
In business, not only is it important to have all the pieces to the puzzle, you also have to know what the finished puzzle will look like. Otherwise, how will you know what pieces to put where to accomplish your finished picture?
This is the difference between people who plan a business and people who play at business. Both types of people have the pieces they need, but only the planners turn the pieces into finished products.
You see, unless you know what the finished product will look like, you'll just be moving pieces around in different directions, making changes when things don't feel right or when you get frustrated. That's a waste of your talents, gifts, experiences and all of the other pieces you have.
Success Starts With Planning
Successful small business owners set goals and then plan activities to accomplish them. They enjoy what they do and make a profit at the same time because they have the pieces and they know what to do with them to create the finished product. They know what they are trying to create and they plan their activities around it. Each piece of the puzzle plays a specific role in the creation of the finished product.
Since they know what the finished picture looks like, they are efficient and effective at moving the pieces around with specific goals in mind, and not just because they don't like the status quo.
Question: Is this analogy helpful to you? What other things are useful when it comes to putting the pieces together to form a successful small business?