Sitting down and taking time to write a business plan is no easy task, and we do not underestimate the time involved.

Most financial advisors tell their clients that people do not plan to fail, they just fail to plan.

As an advisor, you need to write down your business plan.

Why? The main reason is that writing it down holds you accountable. Perhaps you are nodding your head as you read this, thinking, "OK, that sounds great, but how do I write a business plan?"

Here are eight steps to developing a functional business plan:

STEP 1: Determine who you are and what you have to offer.

Consider what you have to offer and who you can best help. Develop a clear, concise statement that describes your practice. This is your mission statement. Give it power.

STEP 2: Write down your long and short-term goals.

These are your strategic goals-the core principles and strategies by which you will operate your practice.

STEP 3: Create a list of the steps you need to take to accomplish your goals.

These are going to be primarily tactical steps-the specific steps you decide are necessary to reach each of your goals.

STEP 4: Make a complete list of all the changes necessary to accomplish these goals.

You need to list the changes in your practice that would help you achieve your goals. This list should be as thorough as possible!

STEP 5: Set a timetable.

What can you do today to start implementing your changes and the steps that will help you realize your goals?