What makes entrepreneurs successful is their vision. What kills entrepreneurs' ideas is, also, their vision.
Unfortunately, what happens is that most people take their vision, write a business plan and walk into a tunnel where their only focus is to manifest their vision. Sometimes, this works. Often, what ends up happening is that the initial plan, the initial vision, lacks information that connects to current reality and the idea fails.
Just as Apple updates its software as often as you brush your teeth, it is important that you allow for flexibility in your plan and your vision, so that some dreams die off and new dreams are born.
Here are three times when it is important to ignore your plan and see what's in front of you instead.
1. Your resources and your team are not the right fit for executing on your vision
Your long term vision and plan for your company may be grandiose. When you first start your business, your team and resources may not be capable of reaching your vision.
In this case you have to let go of your business plan to create a foundation with what you have now and what your customers need at this moment in order to create momentum. The momentum may then lead you down a path to reconnect with your original vision or it may surprise you and lead you down a path that is different and possibly grander than your original plan.
2. Your plan is so detailed there is no room to be human
A perfectionist with vision has the ability to put together an intricate business plan that lacks a cushion for human error, environmental variables, seasonal fluctuation, and most importantly relationship development.
Like any long road trip, the development and growth of a business comes with obstacles, unexpected surprises and friction. You have to let details of your business plan die off so that you can have the flexibility to expand the container in which your business is trying to grow.
3. The market is telling you otherwise
When I first started my company, customers would consistently communicate to me what a bargain they were getting. I raised my prices repeatedly until I stopped hearing that feedback. I was pricing services too low. Although I may have known how my customer felt and what their service needs were, I did not have the wisdom or experience to know what they would be willing to pay.
You have the capability of getting in your own way of growth when you only see your business model from your perspective. Listening to the market and adjusting your model is key in the growing process.
It is always smart to have a plan. It's even smarter to have a plan that allows for flexibility for continuous adjustment where ideas can die and new ones can be born along the way.