Building a Three-Year Business Plan

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Written by David Ormesher on February 16, 2010

It was another sunny day in Kigali as 42 entrepreneurs gathered at the Sportsview Hotel for the first in a series of workshops called Creating a Bigger Future. Creating A Bigger Future Workshop

I began our morning session with set of business frameworks developed by The Strategic Coach. We always begin the workshop with a Positive Focus. The Positive Focus is an exercise that captures your five most important personal and professional accomplishments over the past three months, and it will be a regular part of each workshop throughout 2010.

Goal setting is an important but often overlooked part of entrepreneurial planning. A valuable tool to help us focus our attention on the future is the Dan Sullivan Question (DSQ): "If we were meeting here three years from today, looking back over those three years, what has to have happened during that period for you to feel happy about your progress?" It's a powerful tool for helping you understand and articulate the heart of your personal vision.

Small group sharingOne of the biggest challenges that every entrepreneur faces is the inability to focus on the most important priorities. We all face many challenges and distractions every day. We are interuppted by our cell phone, an employee drops by our office with a problem, or we are overwhelmed by multiple deadlines. We are victims of the "tyranny of the urgent." To help us prioritize, we went through an exercise to pick the most critical Dangers to overcome, the most exciting Opportunities to capture, and the most important Strengths to maximize.

After identifying our goals and priorities, we began pulling all this data together into a 3 Year Planner. Small group sharingThis enabled us to get very specific with our goals, commit to deadlines, and imagine what the final result will look like if we are successful. The worksheet also requires that we break these long-term goals into quarterly projects that we can focus on and monitor. When we gather together on April 28 at the next workshop, we will review our long-term goals and quarterly projects. This will help keep us accountable to ourselves and to each other.

Our guest business experts from The Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business used the afternoon session to challenge us on our ability to delegate and our understanding of business models for the Bottom of the Pyramid economies.

Oksana Carlson's presentation How To Delegate Effectively offered the benefits of delegation, and then she tested us. There were a few surprises as we realized how many of us aren't very good delegators!

Dr. Dipankar Chakravarti, Professor of Marketing and Vice-Dean, presented Sustainable Social Enterprises, a very compelling argument for how to create business models and innovative product offerings that can be successful in low income economies.

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