With a bit of practice, most of us can put together a plan to make a project or a business work. However, if putting together a great plan in which everything works was all that was needed for us to sail through life, then we would all be millionaires, household names or ... add in your own indicator of success.
As an freelancer or entrepreneur, with your future and your work life in your own hands, the real key to planning is not just the “in a perfect world” scenario, but the one in which you have also considered all the things which could go wrong. For example, what do you do when:
These are just a few of the many problems which could knock you off track. For every aspect of your business planning, a risk analysis is vital. At each stage, ask yourself the following questions:
It may sound depressing to think of all the things which might not work, but I can’t stress enough how important this process is. By thinking of as many problems with as many viable solutions as possible, you can build a detailed contingency plan. (I always try to come up with 12 solutions to each problem; the first ones are sensible, the middle ones are slightly desperate and the last couple are usually outrageously silly. However, this breaks open your thinking and throws up all kinds of unexpected possibilities from which you can decide your 2 or 3 key solutions.) Hopefully, you won’t need your contingency plan, but when any problems hit, you are fully prepared.
A good risk analysis will help you to see most problems as an inconvenience rather than a disaster. As you practise the habit, it will become easier, so that when the one thing you had not anticipated happens, you can face it with confidence.