Why Your Business Plan Outlines Should Include a “Stop Doing” List

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

An award-winning small business attorney in New York City, Nina is a sought-after professional speaker and Entrepreneur Magazine online contributor. She is the go-to counsel for knowledge economy and creative companies, delivering legal services and educational resources that save them time, money, and aggravation.

Posted on December 5, 2014 in Business Essentials, Planning & Advisors

When it comes to business plan outlines for the coming year, many of us touch on the usual suspects: honing the target market, developing outreach plans, considering new revenue sources.  In short, it’s usually about what more we can do.  What additional responsibilities we can put on our plate. How we grow through casting a wider net.

But I learned a couple of years ago to try a different kind of strategic planning.  One more aligned with acknowledging where my talents–and passions–were developing.  The new directions that I wanted to move toward. I had to take a good, hard look at what I wanted to stop doing. For the gardeners among you, it amounts to growth through pruning.

My strategic planning has changed over the years.  Nowadays, my business plan outlines a section on “how can I keep on top of my game without burning out”–also known as a “Nina’s Nurturing” section.  It ensures that in my quest for business growth, I give myself the time, freedom, and resources for personal growth as well. But there, too, I look at what I can stop doing.  Where my mindsets need shifting. Where old attitudes and hang-ups need extinguishing. To stop doing the things that have held me–and my business–back from reaching our fullest potential.

So I was glad to see Marc and Angel’s post, “30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself.” It contained more than a few gems, identifying the old, dusty, ill-fitting clothes that take up way too much space in your closet, but you just can’t seem to find the time (or the fortitude) to get rid of them. Advice like:

  • Stop putting your own needs on the back burner (#4).  Did I really need someone to tell me this?  Apparently so, because I keep saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” and then making sure I come last.
  • Stop being scared to make a mistake (#7).  You might as well tell this perfectionist to stick a fork in her eye.
  • Stop trying to compete against everyone else (#15). A friend phrased it differently:  “Stop counting other people’s money.”  Someone may look like a success to you, but you never really know the full story, or what it cost them to get where they are.
  • Stop trying to make things perfect (#23). And how, exactly, would I spend my time if I weren’t so busy? Probably far more productively.  Busyness does not = business.
  • Stop being ungrateful (#30). ‘Nuf said. I’m not pleasant when I’m whiny.

There’s lots on this list I could work on. Too much, in fact.  But rather than fill my plate with more, maybe I’ll just choose one and gnaw on that for a while. Chances are, if I can get the hang of one of them, it’ll free up my time to accommplish the others. And much else, besides.

What can you stop doing?

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