Whether you’ve just started a new business or been running your business for years, business planning is a key aspect of your business success. Director, Andrew Mattner offers 5 tips to make your business plan easy.
In December 2019 I wrote an article that posed the question – Does your business model still cut it? You can read it here. Who would have thought some 18 months later, how critical that article would be through the COVID pandemic?
Now that we are seemingly on the other side of the pandemic, it is even more critical that business owners take stock, assess where they are, set new goals and targets and establish action plans to achieve those goals.
The highest performing businesses that I coach undertake this process every year and review their plans on a regular basis (at least every quarter) to ensure they are on track. It has been these businesses that I have seen not only survive but in fact thrive over the past 12 months. They take the time to plan and then they focus on execution.
Most of the businesses that I speak to that do not have a clear strategic plan give me various reasons why they do not:
- They don’t know how to do it
- They have no idea of their goals
- Its too hard
- They don’t have time
- They don’t feel like that they are in control of any of their outcomes in any cases
For me, all of these are just excuses.
The reality is that a business plan can be easy to establish provided you have the right framework. So here are my 5 tips to establish a clear and executable business plan that can set you on the path to success
- Use the KIS (Keep It Simple) principle. A business plan should be able to be documented on 1 or 2 pages with key goals, clear timelines and clear actions (with responsibilities). In my experience business plans that have a vast number of pages and take a long time to prepare generally are neatly filed away in a drawer and are never actioned.
- Get an external facilitator. Get someone in to ask the hard questions and help you establish. In my experience (we used to try and run our own internal planning sessions) it is nigh on impossible to get to the real core if you are not being challenged and not being asked the hard questions. These questions sit in 3 key areas
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to go?
- How can we do it?
- Get feedback from your team. Your team is often closer to some matters than what the owner is. They are speaking to customers and suppliers, living the culture and experiencing operational challenges. The feedback in these areas is critical
- Allocate appropriate time. It shouldn’t take a lifetime to put together a strategic plan. As a guide, you should be able to allocate up to 2 full days to establish each year and then 4 half days each quarter to review and reset. That is only 4 days (less than 2% of your annual working hours) purely devoted to strategy and planning each year. I would argue that if, as a business owner, you can’t find that time to devote to this task then maybe there is something seriously wrong in your business
- Start with yourself first. It is a folly to try and establish a business plan without understanding what you want out of it personally. Only after you have established key personal goals can you build a business to achieve them. When setting personal goals getting aligned with spouses and business partners is critical. Most businesses (and sometimes personal relationships) blow up due to misalignment.