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Blog and News

Business Planning Isn't Sexy
12/03/2016 Doug Beckley

I can offer you - right now - a proven, free, and simple system for 2017 that will grow your business, increase your profitability and reduce the risks facing your organization. It is a standard practice of the world’s greatest companies.  And, it is boring, you have heard many times before, and most of you won’t do it. 
Create a 2017 business plan. 
The findings from a recent Princeton University study showed that small and medium-sized businesses that followed an annual business plan were more than three times as likely to achieve their financial goals compared to those that didn’t. Yet 2 in 3 businesses still don’t do it.
You may be thinking, I have a plan. Yeah, you probably don’t. Maybe you had a meeting, crunched some numbers, and your gonna grow about 12% this year. Or, you reviewed some spreadsheets and wrote on a white board what you want to accomplish. Maybe you even hired a bad consultant and paid for a pretty binder…now, where is it?  Or, better still, your plan is right up here (point to your head).
Frankly a good plan is less about its form and more about how you create it and use it. It should be your constitution – a method for your business to act rather than react. A good plan should be a play book and a score card – something you refer to all the time.
So here is the part of the article where I give you 3 to 5 recommendations on creating an effective plan.  Again, if you want something sexy, read another blog.  If you want to build your business, read on.

  • It is so written. The plan doesn’t have to be long, but if it’s still in your head, it’s not a thing!  A written business plan means you are committing to something, you’re serious and can hold your business accountable.  There are 21,714 planning formats you can use.  Call me, I will give you one.
  • Hope is not a goal. Your written plan must contain measurable financial goals. Revenue growth, profitability, key performance metrics.  You may also include goals about customer retention or employee morale. Most of you have heard of smart goals - my version stands for specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic, and time sensitive goals. If you and your team don’t have goals you strive for every day, you don’t have a plan.
  • You must keep score. You and your team must meet at least monthly to track progress toward the plan’s goals and the tactics to achieve them. To avoid getting derailed, have no other agenda items at this meeting. Even if it’s only an hour a month, you must hold yourself and your people accountable.
  • Get out.  Create the plan off site with your key people.  If you can’t get away for a day, this is the best evidence that you badly need a plan. Stop reacting and start acting. And yes, you need your team there - if they are not involved in creating the very plan they must implement, there is no ownership or buy in. You know this.

Lastly, have fun. When you meet, visualize and articulate the victories and payoffs of success. Napoleon Hill said, "A goal is a dream with a deadline."  Remember why you got into this business, and connect your team with their higher purpose. You combine a plan with passion, and there is no stopping you.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss how effective business planning can be implemented within your company, call me at 702-379-6524 anytime. Have a great holiday season!