Business plans are like road maps; it’s possible to travel without one, but it will only increase the chances of getting lost along the way. Instead of placing yourself in a situation where you may have to stop and ask for directions or start over, entrepreneurs often use models such as a business plan, to help guide them. This year the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW) is honored to graduate over fifty women who have exceeded the limits by forming their businesses and becoming financially independent change agents in their communities. PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® women see the bigger picture in their business’s future & in their personal career. Building a business plan best targeted to their unique customer base helps these women make important decisions, plan, and improve the likelihood of success. 

At IEEW, we educate women in emerging countries, teaching the essential tools that will help them  lay out their goals and track their progress. For the volunteer eMentor, working with a student often rekindles specific business tips and tools they may have forgotten along the way in their own business growth. Planning should be the first step to starting a new business. Most PTB students have already been in business for at least one year, but once the course is completed, they understand the importance of the plan for future growth.  According to an article on Smallbizgenius, “82% of businesses that fail do so because of cash flow problems.” That is why IEEW is honored to celebrate the graduation of this year’s PTB students who have worked hard over the past few months to complete a living document that takes these women through the various steps of their businesses. 

These living documents teach women social, political, and economic skills when making big decisions. The module and experience gained from the program instill  the women the confidence they need to achieve their vision and mission. Women from Rwanda and Afghanistan have proven their business usefulness through their business plans to attract investors, but the benefit doesn’t end there. This year’s PTB women showed their commitment despite COVID-19 barriers to come out on the other side by responding and adapting to the crisis. The pandemic, our current and ever-present crisis example shows us  why small business owners need a plan in place. IEEW’s PTB program, and the women’s dedication, together help reduce risk by mapping out likely scenarios to navigate the road ahead. Even in times of extreme uncertainty, it is crucial to teach small business owners the importance of planning and not leaving success to chance. 

Ultimately, planning for your business future and success is the ultimate goal of PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS®. Through the program, we are able to educate PTB women entrepreneurs with the foundation for success and open a network of support through the Pay it Forward component. PTB graduates, like their mentors, are now equipped to sustain their business future, and ready to lead by example, empowering others to exceed the limits and forge a new future for family and community.