Do you think that planning is all about knowing how well things are going by looking at the amount of money in your bank account? No. I didn’t think that’s what you thought.
However, here’s a statistic for you. Planning, from an old Harvard business school study, made the 2% that did it properly 10 times richer than all the rest of those that took part in the study. Unbelievable? Well, it’s part of history now.
Simply put, planning is thinking about what needs to be done to attain the goals you have. That means thinking, the hardest thing you have to do when running a business, writing down what the goals are and the type of things that you need to do to give you the best opportunity to meet those goals.
What I get asked so often is “Why, do I have to be so pedantic and write so much stuff down?”. My response is typically “How do you know if you’re being successful if you don’t know what you’re aiming at?” The more specific you can make the outcome of your plans the easier it is to determine what is working and what isn’t.
So then, goals and plans set out the basis upon which your whole business will be built. Sure, you can start off by writing something on the back of a cigarette packet or even a beer mat. Soon you will outgrow those first ideas and new, more detailed, ones will take their place.
If JK Rowling can write many of the main outlines of the Harry Potter books and the traits of the main characters on serviettes what can you achieve by writing down and building on your own dreams by writing them down.
Each time you look at your plans you’ll probably want to add to, or change something, that was in your last plan. This is natural. Evolution is constant. It’s a tough world out there and not everyone will survive. Give yourself the best chance of outliving the competition.
Do you remember playing “pin the tail on the donkey” as a kid? How well did that go? Not seeing what you are aiming at hampers your results. So, get a plan!
Do you still think that “Fail to plan – plan to fail” is a clichéd con?
If you’re looking for a magical recipe for the perfect business plan – you won’t find one. It has to be personal. If you are lucky enough to grow, your plan needs to change and be relatable.
Both you and your staff have to be able to believe in your vision, otherwise the customer service levels you want to achieve will be out of reach.
What you believe in, and how you will do things, defines your business and how others view you too.
My experience helps businesses, charities and other organisations to get the best results – for them.
Do you want to make things better for you in your business, charity, or organisation?
When all is said and done, you need to feel comfortable with what is going on in principle. You don’t need to understand every piece of law that governs your business in detail, but you do need to “know the headlines”.
It’s the same with every part of your business, otherwise you will loose track of what you are supposed to be doing, and how you are meant to be guiding your business.
Plans should give you targets – something to aim for. Nothing that is written in stone, but something you can learn from. A way in which you can see direction easier than having to read a detailed report on every single part of you business every month. How boring would that be!
So, it’s up to you to decide on what is important.
It can be as simple as writing these ideas down on sticky notes as a first run through.
How many time have you heard of successful businesses starting off by having a few things written down on a beer mat, or two.
If you haven’t heard of Utility Warehouse, look them up. They are a FTSE250 company that started out pretty much like this. It took them a while to get to float the company, let alone get FTSE250 status, but they took it step by step knowing what they were doing right and where they needed to change to a) be different and b) to both survive and thrive.
Not every story is as dynamic as the story of Utility Warehouse, and they still made their mistakes, by the way, but everyone can have a story if they take the time to write it.
It’s not a boring old cliché it is true, planning really will work in your business, just don’t expect results overnight.
Need to know more…