The old adage that ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ is almost always true when it comes to business. How often do you think people take the time out from their lives to plan not only for their businesses but also their lives? Probably not enough.
Sometimes business planning is done because the bank has asked for a business plan. Or perhaps a franchisor or head office requires one each year. In such cases the appropriate documents are generated using the latest buzz words, projections, charts and ideas, and sent away to the respective people – with no thought of implementation.
Too often business plans bear no resemblance to reality and are therefore not used on a daily basis. Sometimes they just end up in the bottom drawer or on the top shelf gathering dust.
If it’s in your head then it’s not a plan – it’s just an idea. Getting your plan down on paper requires you to think about the important components of your business. It forces you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and your competitors. It also challenges you to consider what you do on a daily basis and how to measure that activity against the outcomes you're after.
Your business plans needs to be front-of-mind at all times. Not just for you, but for others on your team as well. After all, how can your business succeed if everyone's heading in separate directions? Your business plan also needs to be reviewed on a periodic basis – ideally once a year but more often is even better.
At PlanA Consulting we take a slightly different view when it comes to business planning. We believe your business plan should reflect what you're trying to achieve, where you want to go, the roadmap for getting there and the measurements that allow you to know how you’re progressing and when you’ve arrived.
At PlanA Consulting we break your business planning into the following components, which combined lead toward long and short term planning and daily activities:
At PlanA Consulting it's our role to assist in identifying your business's key numbers. We then work with you to monitor and measure them.
Your business's long-term plan looks at your vision for the next 5+ years. It asks questions such as:
Your business's short-term plan looks at your strategy for the next 12 months. It asks what you need to accomplish in the next 12 months in order to move your business towards your long-term plan.
This planning happens at the start of the ‘activity’ phase. 12 months is too long a period to focus on, so by cutting the year down into four parts (quarters) allows you to achieve more. It also means that when the odd challenge appears you're ready for it, and it won’t put you off course for too long.
The 90-day plan needs to be in place before the quarter starts.
At PlanA Consulting we know that for some people this is the most crucial part of the equation – what happens on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Having a fantastic vision and great strategic is useless unless you fail to implement within day-to-day operations.
Unfortunately, for some people in business this is where they fall over. Failure to implement can happen for a number of reasons, such as:
Business activity needs to be measured against the short-term plan. Just because you're ‘doing stuff' doesn't mean you're going to get the results you want – you need to be doing the ‘right stuff’ all the time.