Your internal compass

I wrote an 18 page business plan before starting my business. Guess how many times I’ve referred to it?

Not once.

The problem with writing a business plan is that it’s all guess work.

As Al Ries, in The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing, says: “With hundreds of computers and an army of meteorologists, no one can predict the weather three days in advance, so how do you expect to predict your market three years in advance?”

A friend recently asked me “what’s your long-term plan for 16by9?”

“I don’t have one”, was my reply.

I thought about that for a while. Should I have some long-term vision? Should I have my future all planned out?

Perhaps. But then I think back to my business plan and how I’ve never looked at it. Planning is guessing. Things change. Things that you can’t predict.

Instead of planning and guessing, I’ve been working on my internal compass (a term I’ve borrowed from the fantastic book Anything You Want).

Your internal compass is built on your values, your morals, and your personal philosophies for how you want to live life. These become the guiding principles for how you make decisions.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. I ask myself these questions:

Am I helping people?
Am I happy?
Am I profitable?
Am I learning?
Am I pushing myself to try new things?
Am I improving myself?
Am I in a better place than I was 6 months ago?

If I can answer yes to all or most of those questions, I know I’m heading in the right direction.

If I’m stronger, smarter, and happier tomorrow, my business will be all the better for it.

Cultivating my internal compass is something I can control. Unlike those guesses in my business plan.