A Few Cocktail Napkins + A Business Plan

Business planWritten by Ivy Slater

It was many years ago, I was out with some friends at a bar in New York City and we started talking about a new idea I had that would expand my business. No one knew the conversation was going to go there. We had no paper and this was before our phones had the capability to take notes, so I did the next best thing and grabbed a stack of cocktail napkins.

We borrowed a pen and started outlining ideas and ended up designing a business plan, right there, on our tiny, blank canvases.

We put a heading on each napkin and spread them across the table. 

Goals, Market, Problem Solved, Marketing Ideas.

Everyone tossed out their ideas as I wrote them down, constantly pulling the napkin apart so the ink wouldn’t run together. I remember worrying every time someone took a drink that they’d spill it and our masterpiece would be ruined. 

It was amazing how easy it was to build an entire plan in less than an hour. Napkins were being filled up and placed in a pile, each one feeling more like gold than the next. 

We went as far as writing down how we would sell and pricing ideas. It was a plan that normally could take people weeks or months to complete.

Why did this work so quickly and what is the point? We kept it simple.

We didn’t stress about how we would accomplish certain goals or how we’d get access to what we needed. We didn’t worry about our resources or time commitment. We just let our ideas flow and wrote them all down. The good, the bad and the ugly.

This particular napkin business plan turned into an event called SSC Live! 

I ran these full-day workshops for a few years and it was a way to bring a large audience together to learn business planning strategies and connect with other business owners. 

It opened up the world of SSC to non-clients and the connections I made and the impact I felt from that event last to this day. 

The unexpected idea is sometimes the best idea. I went into the restaurant that night ready for a happy hour with friends and I came out with a plan that would go on to generate revenue, build connections and increase my confidence as I grew my business.

Now I know what you are thinking...do I still have the napkins? No, the napkins have long been thrown away. What I do have are the connections, clients and resources that came from this plan. 

Several attendees from SSC Live have come onto the “How to be a Visionary Leader in Unexpected Times” calls I have been hosting and we have reconnected. Some have been guests on the Her Success Story podcast. A recent guest mentioned the desire to sit down and work on a business plan and it reminded me of this night where a business plan was hatched on a series of cocktail napkins and resulted in over three years of consistent multiple 6-figure revenue.

I have said 2020 is the year for creativity and innovation. If you are thinking about new ideas and waiting to capture them in a “business plan,” let go of the need for it to perfect, grab some paper, or even a few cocktail napkins, and get started now. Let’s blossom some great ideas.  

If you want access to my video all about the “7 Traits of Great Leaders,” you can grab that right here.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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