There is absolutely no doubt, that the statistics behind business planning (or lack of it) and those behind business failure rates, line up, almost perfectly.
- Less than 17% of all businesses ever do any form of planning. (And worse, most never look at it again anyway, but the shear act of doing it, is a very good start).
So, is there a link in planning? I don’t really know, but you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that if you know where you’re going and how’ll you’ll get there, you’ll probably get there! If it’s left to chance, then who knows where you’ll end up!
Understanding why you plan though, is the first real step and there are a number really good reasons. Planning just for the sake of planning? Well why bother? So here a few really good reasons to plan.
1. It forces you to think. The act of planning, forces you to strategically think about every aspect of the business.
2. It sets measurable goals. Goals and objectives you want to achieve.
3. It should motivate you. Knowing what the outcome will be, whether that’s financial or just because your business is succeeding, is a great motivator.
4. It will organise your time and priorities. What are the most important things to do first?
5. It can make you money! Whether that’s through sales, or approaching investors, the strategy is clear.
6. Everyone is on the same page. You, your partners, and the team.
7. You’ll spend your money where it needs to be spent. There’s a proposed budget, so stick to it.
8. It provides a reality check. Are the overall objectives being met or not?
9. You’ll be proactive and not reactive. If you know what to do, and you’ve agreed on it, then just do it!
10. You’ll provide better customer service. When you understand the objectives of the plan, you know what level of service your clients will need.
A plan isn’t everything, and it certainly isn’t the only reason a business succeeds, but it’s a lot! But here’s the real secret. Read the plan regularly. The real secret to planning, is the review process, by asking yourself some simple questions.
- Are we on track?
- Have we done what we said we would?
- If not why?
- And what needs to change or happen, to get back on track?
Plans are fundamentally a work in progress, they have an objective and a strategy, but they can change, and do. But the only way you know you’re on track, is if you actually look at it now and then and hopefully at least weekly, and with a major review monthly.
One of the keys is actually doing what you said. If the strategy attached to sales is based around marketing, advertising, social media or even phone sales, then the question you ask is did we do what we said we would? If you did and you got the results you planned, awesome. If you didn’t why not. What didn’t happen, or didn’t work. What needs to change, or be fine-tuned? But you can only do that if you review the strategies that are in the plan.
It’s another weekend (or anytime for that matter) and a perfect opportunity to start the review process. Get your plans, print them off, make some notes, ask some questions, review the strategies for the remainder of the month. Ask the questions.
Are we on track, or not? One of the real keys with “serious” results in business, is looking at what you did and the process of how you did it, (or didn’t!). The difference between a good result and a great result, may in fact not be that much, a couple of percent. But if you don’t review, you don’t know and you don’t change.
Let’s get those businesses growing, as we planned.
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