Plan Your Way To Success

If you are a small business entrepreneur, then there is no doubt that you are familiar with planning. There are all kinds of planning – Start-up planning, exit strategy planning, and strategic planning. Of course, being familiar with and actually performing key business development planning are quite different. Entrepreneurs who excel at planning can quickly find themselves victims of their own planning process, because, as planning pays off, and the business grows, many entrepreneurs become victims of their growth causing them to ditch the business planning process that set off their business growth in the first place.

The Business Planning Process Dilemma

Absent of an ongoing, active planning process, it’s easy to become disorganised and unfocused. Distractions, interruptions, and unplanned requests of others create competing priorities for your time. Sadly, this misaligned approach leaves the most critical business growth activities unfinished.

The result is that your business gets stuck in neutral while precious time is spent on lesser-valued activities. So, even though you’re getting things done, you want to make sure you’re doing the right things to ensure your business growth.

The Importance of Planning

To succeed in an “interruption economy,” an active, ongoing planning process is essential for small businesses. Active ongoing planning is the kind of planning that allows you to focus on the critical activities that move your business forward.

This sounds labour intensive, but the truth is, an ongoing planning process is known to save time, reduce stress, incite happiness, and spark greater satisfaction. Plus, you’ll worry less about having time to address the important business growth initiatives.

The hard part – discipline and leadership are required to implement this – and keep it going!

Types of Small Business Planning

Planning for business growth requires intentionality. Skills required for planning on purpose – keeping on top of things -not letting things fall through the cracks – moving your business forward strategically and intelligently – have changed over the years. Just as upgrades to operating systems are required to keep computers performing well, we also need to upgrade our planning skills.

An active, ongoing planning process consists of 5 phases of planning:

1. Annual Strategic Planning: Your annual strategic planning process provides the framework for decision-making that translates into daily action that keeps you focused and on fire.

2. Quarterly Planning: Small business planning conducted quarterly accomplishes two critical objectives:

• It establishes focus for the upcoming three months
• It gives you the opportunity to realign or readjust your planning practice.

3. Monthly Planning: Staying on top of what’s working – and what’s not — in your small business is a vital part of your business growth process. Monthly planning allows you to make those small adjustments that keep you on track.

4. Weekly Planning: Small business entrepreneurs have one thing in common – the desire for more clients. Obtaining more clients requires careful planning. A weekly plan combined with strategic thinking will make sure client acquisition remains a top priority.

5. Daily Planning: No matter how much business planning makes your stomach turn, the success you’ll enjoy in your business is worth every queasy moment. Set the tone and direction of every day with a well-thought out plan for how you use your resources.

Although it may feel like a massive time waster, it isn’t! Planning is the most important activity for your business. It keeps your focus razor sharp and helps use your time wisely to complete the projects and initiatives that move your business forward. So plan your year, your month, your week and your day and unlock the secret to successfully growing your business.