As the founder of Written Success, I periodically get invited to do podcast interviews so I can share some insight on anything and everything related to business plans. 

A few months back, I was a guest on The HERO Show with Richard Matthews. The episode was titled Creating a Business Plan That Will Walk You to Success, and while we did discuss that exact thing, there was so much more to the conversation. 

In our hour-long discussion, we covered things including:

  • My superpower and how I use it. 
  • The fatal flaw that’s held me back.
  • The common enemy that affects my clients.
  • My driving force — who and what I work for.
  • What’s in my toolbelt.
  • My guiding principles. 

What I appreciated about speaking with Richard and being on the show is how deep we dug and how so many powerful observations came as a result of the discussion.

And that’s exactly why I want to share some of that conversation with you — maybe you can see a bit of yourself in what we talked about.

In this blog, the first of a six-part series, I’m sharing what came of our conversation about my superpower and how I use it in my business.

Listening so I Can Read Between the Lines 

It may not sound super glamorous or exciting, but my superpower is my ability to listen.

When clients come to me with ideas, and more often than not, what they share with me is disjointed. They know what the idea is, and they probably even have it clear in their heads, but when it comes time to say it out loud, they realize it’s just not translating the way they wanted it to. 

However, when they’re telling me all of this, no matter how convoluted it may sound to someone else, I can hear the idea and intent behind it. I can hear what they aren’t saying, and I can sense how they feel about it as well. 

I take what is said and not said and begin the process of helping the person refine it. We hone in on the key components to ensure that when the time comes to put it all on paper, anyone can understand their vision. 

Find the Right Person to Hear You

One of the most common issues I see with people is that they don’t have a clear plan or even a description of the business itself. And you can’t build a business plan if you don’t know exactly what your idea is. 

Often, people will take their unrefined idea and start telling friends or family about it — and it gets shot down immediately. They’re told it’s a horrible idea, and the entrepreneur is suddenly feeling defeated and like maybe it IS a bad idea, and they should just quit.

In reality, it isn’t a bad idea at all; it just hasn’t been fully teased out yet. With a different approach, it could be an amazing multimillion-dollar idea. 

However, if you’re trying to explain it to the wrong person or not explaining it well, that conversation can destroy all semblance of hope you have for this great idea. Just like when you tell someone about an incredible dream you had last night, they can’t grasp the beauty of it because they didn’t experience it. They can’t feel what you felt, and you can’t articulate it clearly enough for them to get it. 

What you really need is the right person to hear your ideas. 

Putting My Superpower Into Action

By using my listening superpower to get to the root of what someone wants to do, I can help them begin to create a plan of action — all the things that need to happen after the ideas have been formulated.

I help my clients work on the research and figure out the financial projections to build a business plan. It’s about a lot more than just words and numbers, though. 

The coaching aspect of what I do is probably 50% of the work and that’s where my superpower really kicks in because an effective coach needs to be an incredible listener. So much of what holds entrepreneurs back is their mindset, and I help them deconstruct their limitations and focus on what is the best path forward to getting to their goal. 

Half of what a business plan is meant to do is to become your feasibility study and confirmation of proof of concept. Interestingly, a big part of making that happen is also based on listening. You need to get feedback from people on your potential product or service to guide your business plan and show investors. 

By listening closely to the entrepreneurs I meet, I’m able to help them draw the roadmap they need to get from concept to implementation and realize their business dreams. 

Ashley Cheeks

Author Ashley Cheeks

Ashley Cheeks is a Business Plan Consultant. Her core business plan writer expertise is in designing business plans for bank and investor funding. She founded Written Success after years of being a professional business plan writer as a freelance consultant, and working for companies including GE and Fluor. She lives in Houston with her husband, daughter and son.

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