If you are a small business owner, I can guess how you spend your days.
They will be spent in your business. You start the day with goals and priorities, perhaps having organised yourself the night before. During the day, you work on the “daily” things first, like mail and enquiries, then you set out on one of your priorities or a project to improve your business.
But at some time during the day, you look up and realise that somewhere you have got off track. Perhaps someone on your staff asked you for help in doing something, or you saw an email that introduced a great idea to start in your business so you went down that rabbit hole. Or maybe you were even caught in one of your tasks that seemed to go on and on! By the end of the day, you end it like you’ve ended the majority of your days – tired, realising you’ve worked hard again, but really, no closer to achieving your goals.
How do you break this cycle? How do you change your life so that you work gradually and assuredly down a path that will get you to your ultimate goal?
If you’re looking for a reliable, structured way to grow your business your way, and down your path, then you’ve probably already heard that you need your own business plan that integrates all of your own ideas about how to grow your business.
Even though the need to write your business plan is a no-brainer, the process to actually write an actionable and comprehensive business plan is anything but!
Perhaps you’ve even tried before and it definitely has not changed your life!
You may have bought a book or some software. You may even have hired someone to write it for you. But those “easy” to complete worksheets turned out too hard to follow. You filled them in but you weren’t sure if you filled them in correctly. And anyway, what do you do with them once you fill them in?
These are the top 3 Reasons why most business plans are Ineffective: –
1. Not starting with the end in mind
Badly advised small business owners start by looking at what they need to do instead of where they want to go. This is like planning for a holiday by asking what you need to pack instead of where you want to go on your holiday.
What are your indicators or measures of being successful? How do you measure up currently? What areas are weak and where do you need to grow?
These are just some of the questions you need to answer before you work on your action plans. An effective business planning process starts with describing exactly what your business will be like when you have attained your vision of success. Then, and only then can you can align all your goals and strategies toward achieving that ultimate vision, and not compile some list of disjointed to-do items that are just going to increase your feeling of overwhelm.
You have to follow a process of defining where you want to go, understanding exactly where you are now, and then creatively writing strategies to bridge the gaps.
2. Not getting the guidance during a step-by-step process
If you try to fill in a book of templates, you can only fill in the blanks in the order in which they are printed. No matter how what written instruction is provided, , you need guidance while you are actually in the act of filling in the blanks.
You need a business planning process that combines the right step-by-step process with effective worksheets and real-time guidance as you fill in the worksheets.
3. Not ending with a focus on implementation
Most off-the-shelf business planning processes finish once you have detailed your strategies….and then leave you to figure out how to implement them.
How do you keep yourself on track? What happens if your strategies aren’t working? You have to consider how busy you are and make sure that systems are set up to help you follow through.
A good business planning process ends with looking at accountability systems and schedules monitoring and evaluation reviews. This is not just another to-do list, this must be an ordered series of actions that are designed to give you the outcome you deserve. Your business planning process must end with designing your accountability and implementation systems.
So, how do you write a business plan that will change your life?
The key to writing an effective and implementable business plan is to follow a proven process.
But Here’s What You Might Not Know!
Even if you’re lucky enough to be running your small business without the frustration of working hard every day and feeling like you’re not getting anywhere fast, this is how having your own comprehensive and actionable business plan will change your life: –
1. Define exactly where you want to go – An actionable business plan will describe exactly what your business will look like when you have attained your vision of “success”. It will set up measures and yardsticks along the way so that you know exactly what you need to do. It will cut through the confusion of “what do I do next?”
2. Get organised by setting long-term and short-term priorities – Your business plan will have clear goals to get from where you are now to your vision of future success. This means that in any given day, you will know what is important and what is a distraction – giving you organisation instead of chaos.
3. Have a clear strategic direction and effective strategies to implement – Your business plan will establish a single cohesive direction to take your business on the way to your vision.
4. Write detailed step-by-step Action Plans to implement on a day-to-day basis – You will have detailed action plans that you can follow on a daily basis, where milestones are established and where you can literally tick off your successes. You’ll no longer have to make decisions on the fly, because you will know exactly what you have to do.
5. Create order in your day-to-day business – If you are like most small business owners, working hard from day to day on “emergencies” and “new projects” that don’t seem to get you any closer to the business you set out to build, an effective and implementable business plan will create order in your business. Having a logical set of organised, prioritised goals, objectives and strategies will give you a clear direction that removes frustration and overwhelm.
6. Follow a step-by-step roadmap – A well-written business plan will provide an actionable step-by-step roadmap of actions to take over the next 12 months, that you have designed yourself, to get you closer to your ultimate goals.
If you want to know more about how a business plan will change your life, I have a free eBook called “How To Create The Best Future For Your Business” that explains what a business plan can do for you and how to write yours. You can download it by clicking on this link.
Here’s how to tell if you really are ready to change your life by preparing your business plan? If you answer “Yes” to at least 4 of the following, you are ready!
- You own a small business and are tired of working hard without moving toward your goals
- You want to know what to do this year in order to grow your business while following a single cohesive direction to success
- You want to be organised and working on projects that will create results
- You are able to follow an online program that teaches you the principles and then takes you through a step by step workshop
- You have limited time, but you believe investing a day of your time to map out your roadmap is important
Now, if you think that you’re ready, you can learn more about the process by signing up for my how-to eBook and video training series. Once you sign up, you get the eBook immediately and a 4-part video training series will be emailed to you over the next few days – for free!
If you are a small business owner and you are overwhelmed by all the decisions and choices you have to make; if you are a small business owner working hard every day at tasks that are not aligned toward getting you to your ultimate vision; then writing your business plan will definitely help you.
Go on, get going!