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Value of diversity……………….

I had a “coffee” meeting yesterday morning with a young man that called to visit. He recently arrived in our city with the hope that there would be more job opportunities. He has worked for five different firms in the last ten years. His tenure of four months in the greater Phoenix Area has not resulted in a job in his chosen profession.  There have been job interviews but no offers.

Our conversation turned to the possibility of starting a new business. In sharing what he wanted to do and with his experience, I felt that there was a large, unserved target market that has been neglected by other firms offering similar services.

I started to explain the process of starting a business, and when we got to the need for a business plan he said he did one several years ago and could easily do another.  With further questioning, I found out that his last effort to start a business never materialized, even with his self-developed business plan.

Using the same analogy I frequently use, I explained that a business owner doing his own business plan was like a brain surgeon performing an operation on his own brain. The chances for success were slim to none.

Diversification in a business plan development session is critical; by having more participants, a wider set of possible avenues for a start-up can be considered. It will add perspectives that would otherwise never have been explored.

Doing your own business plan means that the only person you have to draw information from is yourself. It’s a form of in-breeding that usually results in a business that is susceptible to a wide variety of weaknesses in its foundation.

At the very least, a mentor should be the facilitator. In past sessions that I have conducted, trusted advisors have also participated in a plan development. With existing small businesses where it’s a one person operation, these same rules apply. When we get to larger firms the management staff provides the needed diversification although an outside mentor/facilitator is needed as well as one of two trusted advisors.

The past is yours, learn from it. The present if yours, fulfill it.            Walter Fauntroy

Nick J. Petra CFP             


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