Planning is key but reviewing it is even more important to business success.
In a recent article featuring research conducted by the Australian Centre for Business Growth, 650 SMEs were asked had they ever experienced business failures. 22% answered yes and put the primary reason down to lack of leadership, poor management and/or no planning.
For some reason, less than 17% of all businesses do any form of business planning. I keep asking the question and keep getting the same answer and when you throw in marketing plan on top, even less have them.
Add to that statistic, many businesses that believe they actually do them never actually ever look at them but believe that they’ve done a plan, so all is good.
A plan whether it’s a business or marketing plan is basically a road map. It’s the strategy of how you’re going to get to where you want to go and it really only works if it’s reviewed to make sure you’re on track. Luck could get you some of the way but if you develop a strategic plan to grow a business, the easiest way to ensure it goes there is do what the plan says!
The fundamental reason that I think business or marketing plans aren’t done is that most people think they’re just too complicated and they probably don’t think they need one. The other value is self-accountability. Ensuring that what you said you were going to do, to get where you were going to get to, actually happens.
Most small to medium sized businesses have no one to hold them to account. To actually do what you said you would. Most franchises are held to account by their franchisor, to ensure they comply with performance and the way things are done. Corporates are generally held to account by their board and their shareholders but privately owned businesses generally don’t have that, if the business doesn’t perform, (unless really badly) no one will take the business away from you or fire you.
So the business plan becomes that tool that ensures you hold yourself to account.
There are multiple ways to write a business plan.
- The one page document. (Mybusinessnow EzyPlan360)
- Multi page, a little more detail but still a simple plan.
- And full blown, the type a bank or potential investor needs.
In 99% of cases the one page document will do if completed the right way and if used to review and manage the business regularly. At least monthly but weekly is even better.
One page business plans need to contain a simple and quick overview of the business, answers to some basic questions, strategic plans for how key aspects of the business will be done. A simple SWOT analysis, outcomes and goals and the review points. Where the business should be in say 3, 6 and 12 months. The secret is in questions, they create clarity around where you want the business to go and how it gets there.
Here’s a quick simple guide (but just download our free EzyPlan and it’s all there for you)
- Review: where is the business now, sales, key accounts, and turnover.
- Potential: what could the business do if it ran at 100%
- Review the key business drivers: Rate each driver as it is now.
- Sales growth
- Service experience
- Staff skills
- Product innovation
- Marketing. (To make it simple, this could in fact become the marketing plan or build a separate one page marketing plan from the EzyPlan framework.)
- Identify what needs to change to get to where you want to go. Eg, we need to make ten sales/new clients a month. That will take two sales people, trained and managed well and we will get that result.
- Changes needed, review again what needs to happen in each key driver to get the result needed.
- Review points: where will we be, what sales/income are expected in 3, 6 , 9 and 12 months.
- Skills and training review. What skills does everyone in the team need to grow with the business to get the results needed?
Business planning like business itself, isn’t complicated. In fact it’s easy if you just do what you planned and said you would do.
The secret to planning isn’t so much the strategic plan but reviewing it to hold yourself and your team accountable and actually make sure it happens. I get it, things get in the way, we’re exhausted when we get home and we just don’t get around to it and another month turns into another month and we can look at it again next month. In most cases we don’t.
The simple answer to business success is keep it simple. Develop a one page plan, look at it everyday if you need to and simply break down what needs to be done daily, weekly and monthly. Reviewing it every day ensures nothing gets missed and if by some chance it did one day, you can catchup on that the next. But miss a month, or two and it just gets harder to catchup with what the plan was in the first place.
Mybusinessnow is all about helping businesses grow, better, faster, simpler and easier. Most things that need to be done to grow either were never known (you don’t know what you don’t know), get forgotten over time, or just never got around to.
Keep it all simple. Mybusinessnow is basic business fundamentals that help businesses grow and in many cases massively but also about solutions, strategy, structure and supported accountability. If you’d like more information jump onto our website at Mybusinessnow.com.au, or send me an email to email@example.com and if you’d like to join us at one of our free introduction to Mybusinessnow events starting in January just send me an email.