McCadden: Are You Willing to Put That in Writing?

authors Shawn McCadden | February 10, 2021

As business owners we all have dreams. First, we dreamed about starting and having our own business. Then we dreamed about what our businesses would be like and what it would do for us. Then, perhaps due to our courage and oftentimes our ignorance of what business ownership entailed, we just did it.

For remodeling business owners who leap, it is the first step of turning a dream into a reality. Unfortunately, for most remodelers who start this way, the new reality of owning and growing a business quickly brings with it surprises that we never considered. In some ways, starting with nothing but a dream is why, here in America, we have so many small businesses contributing to our economy. If we really knew what we were getting into before we got started, would there be so many small businesses?

Today, you own a remodeling business. I challenge you to stop dreaming and start making plans to achieve your dreams. Going forward, I challenge you to put your plan down in writing. Here are four reasons why writing down your plans will make it more likely your dreams will come true.

It Proves Your Plan Will Work

By taking the time to thoughtfully write out your plan, you’re far more likely to unearth, consider and implement the objectives you need to do to achieve your plan; but you are also more likely to spot the things that will compromise your plan. I like to think of it as a way to prove, in writing, that your plan will work. It might also tell you, well before you lose a lot of money and valuable time, that your plan just won’t work—at least your original plan.

If you’ve not done this before, don’t be afraid of being perfect as you write out your plan. Assume you will miss a few critical considerations. A few spelling or grammar mistakes are insignificant, especially compared to the benefits of making your dreams actually come true. Write the things that will work for you and your business.

For some it might be writing out a complete, long-winded narrative. For others, it might be just a bulleted list in an organized and critical-path order. Be sure to include a timeline for your plan. The bottom line is to capture in writing what needs to be considered as well as what you are really committing to. That way your dream will become a plan, and you can then work your plan.

It Helps You Get Input from Others

After you have drafted your plan, it’s imperative to have others you respect review your plan and offer feedback. This is a great way to verify that your plan will work. It’s also a great way to uncover any critical omissions and alternative—or even quicker—ways of accomplishing items in your plan.

This is important. To make sure this review by others will really help you, you must be open to the potential challenges and criticisms that are likely to come with the reviews. I encourage you to be careful about defending your plan while others review it.

Defend it where needed but consider the goal of asking others to review your plan is to increase the likelihood it’s really going to work. If you concentrate on defending too much, you might just miss out on the new and helpful ways you could enhance your plan. With the help of others, your draft plan can move forward and become your plan of action.

It Helps You Get the Support You’ll Need

Having a well-thought-out written plan will help you prioritize the steps you and your business need to take. Because you have a written plan with a measurable timeline, I also suggest it will likely help you understand how much more you need to accomplish than you can do on your own.

Recognizing this reality will help you avoid getting overwhelmed. It will also protect the personal time you and your family really deserve and need. Even that bunny needs to freshen the batteries now and then to keep going.

With a written plan in hand—a plan you are committed to—you can then share the burdens and responsibilities of your plan with others. You can share it with your significant other, a fellow business owner, key employees or your business coach.

Choose one or more people to hold you accountable to your plan. These people can be there to support you through the business-related and emotionally challenging times that are sure to pop up. They are more likely to support you because they know there is a real plan, and they have confidence in the written plan you shared and reviewed with them.

It Can Help Hold You Accountable

Very few remodeling business owners put things in writing. Yes, there is a small group of remodelers who can successfully make and keep plans in their heads and achieve better-than-typical success in remodeling.

It is also my opinion, based on interacting with thousands of remodelers over my career, that many remodelers are afraid of sharing their real goals and are even more afraid to put them in writing. My theory is that they are afraid of being wrong, even more afraid that others will find out they were wrong and/or failed at achieving their true dreams.

Unfortunately, winging it every day leads to mediocre results and often eliminates the ability to retire on purpose with comfort. To these people, I encourage you to draft your plan. I also encourage you to find the right person, someone you trust, to hold you accountable to accomplishing your dreams as well as your plan.

So what if there are a few missteps along the way? With a written plan there will be far more accomplishments than failures. A dream without a plan is likely to be just a fantasy, and it could also lead to a nightmare. QR

McCadden is a speaker, business trainer, columnist and award-winning remodeler with more than 35 years of experience. He can be reached at

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