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The Practice of Planning – Make It A Habit!

Let’s kick COVID-19 out of the park!

Yeah, I feel that way and you probably do too, by now.

It’s time to kick out that fear in your mind and look ahead in our businesses, start to follow again the dream in your heart!

It’s time to remind ourselves of the Six Business Success Factors: The Act of Leadership, The Practice of Planning, The Logic of Marketing, The Pursuit of Customer Fulfilment, The Attainment of Operational Efficiency, and the Mastery of Finance. These are the basic factors you need to rebuild and develop to once more, grow your business.

Now is the time to do it!

For those of you who have not yet downloaded my free roadmap to building a great business – “The Six Business Success Factors – The Small Business Owner’s Growth Guide” – you can get it here.

Today, I wanted to deal with the second Business Success Factor, which is The Practice of Planning.

If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that I focus on planning as a virtue in a business owner.

 

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You cannot go from A to Z without a map; you cannot go from where you are to where you want your business to be without a plan!

In all my years of working with small business owners, I have found that this habit is the natural second Success Factor as they build their business. They start by finding the leadership within them, taking the risks to start their own business and gathering resources and people around them – often when others have said they couldn’t do it.

But once they got going, the successful ones were smart enough to put a plan together.

Without a business plan, all anyone can do is go with the flow and that is not a great way to steer your business the way you want it to go. You must know what you want to do, you must know what you need to do it, and you must know which direction to take.

A business plan defines exactly where you want to go. A well-written business plan defines what it looks like when you’ve “got there”. This means it becomes easy to set milestones and measures so that you know exactly what you have to do and when. Having a business plan means you no longer ask “what do I do next” every time something happens.

This helps you get your day organised because the business plan gives you long-term, medium-term, and short-term targets.

These goals will be specially aligned so that as you achieve them, in order, you can see yourself move closer and closer to your ultimate goal.

This means that at any time, you will be able to know what is important and what is just a distraction. That will do wonders for your time management!

Putting it all together means that you will have laid out for yourself a single strategic direction.

No longer will you be seduced by “new” business ideas – you can test every new idea or initiative by the simple question – “will this help me get to where I want to go?”

The clarity this gives you will be irreplaceable!

Writing a business plan is easy.

All you need to do is follow a simple step-by-step process:

First, you get ready.

Make some decisions about who will help you to discuss and prepare your business plan, about when and where you will set some time aside, about how far ahead you want to plan, and about what the purpose of the plan is. These decisions help to keep you focused when you are thinking through some of the next steps.

Second, you define where you want to go.

Setting the ultimate direction is important so that everything else cascades from that strategic goal, that vision.

So, describe your ideal business, create a vision for the future.

In order not to leave this as some airy-fairy dream, you then take the vision apart and describe what it means for your customers, your people, your finances, and your business processes and systems.

In this way, you use your vision to set up tangible measurements of success.

Third, you take a look at your current situation and understand where you are now.

This is a warts-and-all look at your capabilities – your strengths and weaknesses – as well as what’s ahead of you – the threats and opportunities.

Doing this by diving deep into all aspects of your business allows you to identify gaps between where you are now and where you want to go, and set goals.

Fourth, you create strategies that will bridge those gaps and achieve your goals.

You can then drill down and categorise short-term, mid-term and long-term strategies so that you can allocate time and resources and do things one step at a time.

It is all-important that you carry out your plan, and doing it in an intentionally stepped way increases your chances of implementing the plan, rather than getting overwhelmed.

With the short-term strategies, you can prepare detailed action plans that form the work for the next 12 months.

Fifth put it all together and start implementing.

In doing so, schedule everything, including periods to monitor whether you are achieving goals, and periods to review results and make changes to the plan.

Having a vision is clarity, and having a plan makes it all possible – but scheduling actions make them real.

If you want to know more about this step-by-step process, you can get my free downloadable checklist called “A Roadmap From Stress To Success – Your Business Planning Checklist” by clicking here to request it.

But if having a plan is easy, and if writing a business plan is a step-by-step process, what do I mean by the second Business Success Factor “The Practice of Planning”?

By that, I mean that you need to instil planning into your daily routine.

You need to think ahead and make sure you have plans to implement things you decide to do, even something as simple as re-stocking, or finding a new product.

Once you get used to the practice of planning, bigger plans like business plans become second nature. And once business planning and thinking in terms of plans is second nature, a lot of the disorganization and stress about not knowing what to do will go away.

In fact, there’s no better habit than to prepare your business loan every year to look at your long term strategic direction, and what you have to do next year to move toward it.

Ideally, now is the time to start writing your business plan. The end of the year provides you with the ability to take stock and naturally plan for the next 12 months. Traditionally in July people make plans for the financial year just starting.

If you want to make that a habit, I will be launching my revamped “Your One Day Business Plan” online program in early July.

“Your One Day Business Plan” is an online workshop and training program to help you write your own business plan.

It provides online training on each aspect of the business planning process, but what is unique is that each module is designed like a “live” workshop where the audio guidance “talks” you through the completion of worksheets and templates that you download and use.

In the end, these worksheets and templates form the pages of your business plan so that you don’t have to re-write everything.

It’s called “Your One Day Business Plan” because the “live” workshops are timed so that you can complete the program in just one day.

Of course, you can take as long as you want because once you buy the program you keep it forever, and you get the advantage of the upgrades that are provided from time to time absolutely free.

This is an excellent way of creating that habit of annual planning because you can use the program – and all the upgrades – every year.

I will be announcing the launch in early July – if you don’t want to miss the opportunity, get over to teikoh.com and sign up for my weekly blog posts to be delivered directly to you, or click here – and then watch out for the announcement!

I’ll see you soon!

 

 

Cover image by Estee Jensenns on Unsplash

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