Are you creating a start-up without a business plan? Think again and remember this: you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
Some business owners write plans and then file them to collect dust. Avoid being one of them.
Draft an idea and keep working on it until you have what you need for now and to use as the roadmap for your business.
You may be operating your company while you’ll still working on your business plan, and that’s okay as it is a working document that is continually honed and revised as your business evolves. Of course, no project is any good unless implemented, so that’s the next step.
Avoid engaging consultants to write your plan and then fail to implement it.
A good plan saves you time and money
Your plan does not need to be very technical, highly detailed, 92 pages long, or well-formatted and presented. Instead, a simple handwritten list of critical decisions can significantly affect your personal and business life and performance.
- Helps you focus on the things that really make a difference
- Helps you prioritise your activities
- Helps you to predict change and then respond effectively to it
- Manages your time and resources more efficiently
- Provides direction and focus to your staff and your supporters
- Prevents crises in your business
- Means you spend less time fire fighting
- Gets you ahead of the game and ahead of your competition
Having a good plan frees you up to work smarter; to concentrate on the things that really will make a difference rather than just being busy, to bring your people together and to achieve better performance and greater efficiency. Moreover, it gives you much better control of what you are doing.
You know you have a good plan when it includes the critical business decisions you refer to regularly to manage your business. A good plan tells you what you will do and what you won’t do. It gives you boundaries and guidelines for organising and driving your business.
A good plan is also a flexible plan. We all know things change at lightning speed, and staying still is a recipe for getting left behind. New opportunities come up all the time, and you need to consider them seriously in light of your objectives for the year. You need to be responsive to change.
How You Respond To Change
Charles Darwin was probably thinking of a plant or animal species when he said,
“It’s not the strongest who survive
Nor the most intelligent
But the ones most responsive to change”
However, Darwin could just as quickly have been referring to businesses and the people who run them!
Your plan will change as your business and industry change and grows. Even if you buy a business, you’ll need your own plan.
You will test different things, learn new things, find new technologies, meet new people, and the market will change under your feet. So don’t worry if your decisions aren’t perfect at this point. They can continually be reviewed and updated later.
Breathe A Little Life Into Your Plan
Having a plan is one thing, but it is completely useless and a waste of time if not put into action. Statistics say 90% of strategy fails because of poor execution.
There are many actions you can take to it easier to put your plan into practice:
- Ask a trusted adviser to help you build your plan and make you accountable for its implementation. Use your adviser as a sounding board and help remove roadblocks along the way, but don’t give them the whole job.
- If you work with someone on your plan, make sure you do your share. Do the thinking yourself, do your own research and own the decisions you make. You need to OWN this plan, you need to know it, and you need to have complete buy-in.
- Have a copy of your plan tucked away in your bag or on your Smartphone and revise it all the time. Scribble on it with notes of progress, make comments, add ideas etc. Keep it fresh and alive.
- Break it into achievable chunks, weekly goals, daily actions or whatever helps you to always be moving in the right direction.
- Review progress often and record progress on your plan.
- Share your plan with others – your staff, family, advisers – and be accountable to each other. Be mindful, however, that a good plan contains confidential information that would be very useful to your competitors. Keep it safe.
- Build it into your weekly/fortnightly team meetings and if you do not have regular team meetings in your company, then make this one of the first things you commit to doing this year. If the response is “We are never all together,” then make it a rule that the team meeting goes ahead each week/ fortnight at a set time regardless of how many team members are available. Make it a priority
- Each week, ask yourself and your team, “What is the one thing you can do this week to drive this business toward our goals?”
The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today
– Elbert Hubbard
Regardless of the shape your business is in, now is the perfect time to get started on planning for the next twelve months.
Take time out of the business to work on it. You’ll get more done when you work on the business rather than always working in it.