Entrepreneurship is fueled by urgency, by running fast. But, have you ever stopped to check that you’re running in the right direction? Have you ever really considered your business focus?

Our recently published book, Where to Play, features a 3-step guide to help entrepreneurs discover their most valuable market opportunities. However even before this, entrepreneurs must know the precise direction in which they are headed. This is why a business plan must have a clear focus with succinct definition and flexibility. As we all know, business is unpredictable, and things can change at short notice. Bumps in the road are par for the course, and entrepreneurs need to be prepared to adjust their way of thinking to ensure maximum success.

There are many tools out there that entrepreneurs find helpful in guiding themselves through the challenges. Using the Market Opportunity Navigator, you can structure your thoughts and create a strategy to ensure focus.

Of course, flexibility and changing the structure of your plan is challenging. It is difficult for us to convince ourselves that our original plan may not be the best one. Entrepreneur Paul Graham says that, “You have to be prepared to see the better idea when it arrives. And the hardest part of that is often discarding your old idea”. So how do we mentally prepare for this eventuality? Here are 3 tips to help you make this mental change.

  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Backup plan
  • Keeping options open

Cognitive flexibility

Cognitive flexibility is the mental ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously. This is what gives us the power to let go and accept change. In order for this to occur, additional strategies should be identified so that we have alternative options, which may be necessary in the future.

Backup plan

What is your Plan B? What will you do if your initial plan proves unsuccessful? The best back up plans are less risky, and should give you the confidence to let go of Plan A if necessary.

Keeping options open

Keeping your options open is, in other words, maximum flexibility and being open to change. Be aware that Plan A may not succeed as expected, and as such reduce expectations.

The most important thing to remember is that your first plan may not always be your last, and that your success may not be achieved the way you originally planned. Or as Scottish National Poet, Robert Burns wrote, “The best-laid plans of mice and men do often go awry.”