When we’re young, it’s glorified to be spontaneous and to fly by the seat of our pants — just hit the road with no hotel reservations and just see what happens. It’s exhilarating or fun…for some. What amazes me is that sometimes business owners follow this approach. Heck, I was one of those business owners.  I certainly whiffed on this one in my initial outing as a business owner; I didn’t have a plan in writing for the first five years I was in business, and in retrospect that was a big contributor to my business almost going under. Having your personal financial plan written down —and a business plan that covers at least two to five years – will lead to providing that essential roadmap for how to get from where you are to where you wish to be. Without it, you’re wandering, maybe even a little lost. I was lucky to survive not having one at first. Will you?

I equate not having a business plan as the jumping on a plane or in your car and hitting the road without any clear plan or roadmap on how to get to your destination. You may want to go to San Diego, but you end up in Portland instead. It’s easy to start the trip without a plan, but you’ll get hungry or tired or may want to see some iconic sites along the way. It’s the same with a business. You can certainly start one up without a business plan, just as you can start a road trip without a map. You still may get lost with that plan in hand, but you can get right back on track, or make the necessary adjustments to course-correct. And if your goals change, you can reroute or pivot your business direction that much more easily. Just as with a map, the better your business plan is, the higher probability you have that you’ll make what you need to live the lifestyle you want now and in the future.

Let’s use my college friends who have been in business for nearly 18 years as an example. This is their third enterprise — their other two businesses stumbled, fell and eventually closed. They lost millions of dollars with these enterprises. And even after those losses, on their third attempt, they still didn’t develop a business plan! Now let’s use a hypothetical. You wake up one day to your million-dollar idea; you want to open a chain of retail cosmetics stores. You could easily find an empty storefront, sign a lease then open the next day. But, seriously, is that wise? Nope.

Are you asking yourself where do you even start with your business plan? Well, lucky for you, I can tell you that. I have perfected what I call the business plan trifecta, and it’s what you should aim for. If you love the business you’re in, that’s one point. If the said business provides you with the cash flow you need to live your lifestyle now, that’s point number two. Finally, if in addition to those two points, you’ll be able to earn enough to grow the wealth you’ll need to retire when you wish that’s the third point. You’ve completed the trifecta. Now, I should point out that I meet very few business owners that experience the trifecta who actually stop working. They continue to work in their business or eventually do something else. Genuine financial independence means that when you walk into work you don’t have to be there; it’s your choice, and you have the option to do something else if you wish. Doesn’t that sound great? Not having to work but doing so because that’s how you’re choosing to use your time, or maybe fulfilling a passion. I should also point out that if you can only achieve two of the points in the trifecta, you still might be okay and doing better than most, which I’d say is still a win.

Now, how do you find out how to create a business that meets the trifecta? Well, that’s where I come in to play. I can help you align your passion and business to create a financial plan that helps you succeed. Begin by taking my business assessment at AlZdenek.com.

For more information on creating your business plan and finding your trifecta, visit

AlZdenek.com or find me at MercerAdvisors.com.