When it comes to securing financing for your business, Jessica Oman of Renegade Planner is the girl you want to have on your side. Not only will she help you write a business plan that will make investors and lenders stop and take notice, she’ll provide you with an invaluable tool for the long-term success of your business.
I recently had the pleasure of talking with Jessica and I have to say she made business planning seem a lot less scary. Business planning may only be two words but it is two words that often instill uncertainty, frustration, and fear amongst many business owners. These feelings were in a large part the reason Jessica started her company Renegade Planner back in 2010. She saw a need for a service that would coach business owners through the process of developing business plans from start to finish (including pitch decks), for business loans, investment, and bookmarking. With an MBA in Education and English and a professional background in academic management and teaching, Jessica’s talents have lent themselves nicely to her growing business. Today Jessica offers full-service and self-led business planning as well as webinars, workshops, and PNP/Start-up Visa Services for businesses from all walks of life. Her client roster includes Ocean Folk, Underables, Restoration Health Clinic, ChouChou Crepes, Green Clean Squamish, and more.
As with all start-ups, Jessica has learned some valuable lessons along the way. One of the biggest is to always plan for more than a month ahead. Have a vision for one to three years out and develop a work plan around that vision. Also, don’t cheap out on that vision. Jessica’s rule of thumb is that you should always figure out where you need to spend to serve your best customers even better. It may take some trial and error in doing so but sometimes having to figure out things on the fly is what’s best. If you have a rock solid business plan, you’ll always have a safety net to fall back on if needed.
Also, don’t let the naysayers get to you. For Jessica, hers were the former co-workers who once taunted her with unsupportive comments about her being a starving writer. Today, it’s Jessica getting the last laugh. In her second year of operations, she crossed a bucket goal off her list – to hit six figures in income, something that until it happened, she thought wasn’t possible except in theory.
Also, always source your citations and research properly. She can’t count the number of times she has reviewed a plan where the research seems to be pulled out of thin air. Often, the plans that come across her desk also have unreasonable cash projections that aren’t backed up with a reliable train of evidence.
Being in a mastermind group has also been a huge help to Jessica. Her group meets quarterly in-person and once a month online and share the commonality of all running businesses in the online space. The value of the group comes in a large part from the differing perspectives and experiences of its members and the high level of expectations made of, and commitments made by, the membership as a whole.
Jessica always recommends that her clients carefully manage their time. For herself personally, Jessica schedules her own day in blocks using Google Calendar, almost right down to the minute. A quick look at her schedule would show blocks for exercise, walking the dog, even painting her nails, in and around her work schedule. It may be rigid but it’s effective.
Jessica also cannot emphasize enough the importance of reviewing a business plan regularly. She advises her clients to do so every three months. When reviewing pay particular attention to whether you still have a relevant vision, objective, and customer description, and measure your business performance against these three factors.
Even with the hard lessons learned, Jessica enjoys being her own boss, although she admitted missing having people around to bounce ideas off. She does hope to expand her team in the future but for the time being, she admitted that at least if she screws something up, she only has one person to blame – herself. It helps to take away the external pressure to perform a certain way in her business.
In the long-term, Jessica would like to see Renegade Planner transition away from one-on-one work and move instead towards empowering its customers to come up with business plans all on their own. She hopes incorporate digital courses and programs in the not so distance future and in five years would love to be working with companies that are crowd or equity fundable. It’s an area that interests Jessica and one that she sees a lot of potential in.
Until then, Jessica continues to provide her clients with plans that help them take their ideas from fruition to execution in record time. Currently, she’s hard at work preparing for the launch of her brand new Business Plan Bootcamp, a self-paced 10 lesson online course that kicks off July 11th with a free business plan master writing class. Register for the webinar here.
The Business Plan Bootcamp is ideal for businesses that need help putting together a plan to start or grow their company or who are currently using someone else’s money to grow their business. It comes complete with a personalized business plan review from Jessica, ensuring that the plan accurately shows how an investors’ money will be spent and what they will get back in return.
Jessica wants to see more people become small business owners so she’s giving away her guide, “The 3 Simple Steps to Overcoming the Barriers to Starting Your Business”, absolutely free. It’s just a few pages but it could change your whole perspective on starting a company and who knows – maybe it’s just the boost you need to start chasing that entrepreneurial dream.
As a bonus, Jessica’s sharing the first two pieces of her business planning framework that she’s used to helping her clients collectively finance their businesses in the millions of dollars! All for free. You can get the guide right here.
Jessica’s outside-the-box approach to business plan writing has helped her clients collectively raise almost $50 million in financing to start and grow new businesses. Sign up for her guide to overcoming the barriers to launching your business, so you can get your business plan done and get your money sooner.
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