With uncertainty at levels higher than most of us have ever experienced due to Covid, how do businesses plan for the future?
First off, the key is that one word: plan. You have a much higher chance of success if you have a plan versus just cruising along with a vague idea in your head, responding as you go. Think of a plan as being a map – it gives you the necessary framework to help you achieve your goals as a business. When you plan something out, the chance of hitting your goals grows exponentially. So many businesses end up where they end up purely because they never considered where they could get to if things went swimmingly well for them. If you don’t take the time to get beyond your day-to-day busy-ness to consider what is possible, you’ll probably end up at B or C grade level – a great shame considering that with a bit of pre-thought and then some discipline, you could have hit that elusive A grade.
It is almost guaranteed in my belief and experience, that a company with a well-considered business plan will out-perform those that never plan and just meander along in business. Doing focused, proactive strategic work will help your business really blossom and gain momentum.
So, what are the three basic elements for a good business plan?
- You need to know what your future success looks like, both longer and shorter term. And, of course, your shorter term view of success needs to correlate to what you want your longer term view of success to be. Make sure your future success view is at a decent level ie a stretch but not impossible. Make sure it includes some numbers and metrics as well as some compelling narrative and preferably even a bit of emotion to help get the buy-in from your team on where your company is going.
- The most important part of your business plan is to have identified the best business strategies for you and your business over the short term, let’s say the next 12 months. Little hint to you all – If you want a job description over the next 12 months as a business owner, it should be your business strategies and you need to be fitting these into your day job. There is quite likely nothing more important from what I have seen with my clients and real life experience than you putting time into delivering on your well-considered short term business strategies.
- Once you have identified your business strategies, you want to consider each strategy, one by one, and to think about the tactics (action points) that you need to carry out to knock off each identified strategy.
Not having a business plan greatly increases the potential for you to hit harder times and for unexpected bad things to happen to you. A business plan is going to greatly reduce your stress as you control your destiny so much more and when this happens, financially you are also likely be better off ie. less sleepless nights as a business owner worrying about your bank balance and whether you are doing the right things.
Pull out your business plan (hopefully it’s in easy reach and not stuffed in a drawer being next to useless!) and check it has the three essentials outlined. If it doesn’t? Join us on our next business planning and strategy workshop HERE!