As a small business owner, certified facilitator, entrepreneurial researcher, and innovator I have long been an advocate for a faster way to launch ideas and manage entrepreneurial ventures. It is no secret that I am a fan of canvasing and business modeling. The primary reason is that we are all visual learners. Lets be clear, at some point you will need a business plan.
However, during my time as a resource provider in multiple agencies, I have had hundreds (that I know) of small business owners and entrepreneurs avoid support mechanisms in the entrepreneurial ecosystem because they were embarrassed that they did not have a business plan. What I am finding through our JAX Bridges Entrepreneurial Education tracks is that it is less embarrassment on behalf of the entrepreneur/small business owner and more avoidance of critical resources that could help them succeed. Yet these individuals are pushing forward, many with success in generating revenue.
Given my long held feelings I have struggled to understand what I should do next. The JAX Bridges program has given me the opportunity to confirm on a larger scale what I believed. I feel strongly that I am in a unique position to do something positive on behalf of the entrepreneur, with the support of others, to change how we value the business plan in overall small business and venture planning.
I am comfortable with proposing that we pivot away from the small business plan as the "key act of small business planning or the main qualifier as to whether you are in business." I think we can accelerate ideas and uphold the passion of entrepreneurs if we can develop processes that keep them engaged and provide tools that have daily & weekly utility. There is nothing worse in our community than feeling invigorated by an entrepreneur's early energy and enthusiasm for their innovation only to watch them slowly lose it because they are frustrated by "the business plan."
Honestly, I believe entrepreneurs have already pivoted away from the small business plan. There is evidence that they are actively creating disruptive innovations and businesses that are impacting our local economy; without a business plan. The question is whether resource providers are willing to acknowledge this and then seek a better way to support them. I will take the risk by dedicating one session at our upcoming event. Meet me at The Bridge to Business Connection for a new path forward that can be used by entrepreneurs in both the for-profit and non-profit communities of Northeast Florida.