conquer business planning neglect

How To Conquer Your Business Planning Neglect

When it comes to business planning, the inner voice in your head voice can be seriously annoying, and powerfully influential.

You’ve probably heard of the importance of making time to work ON your business, specifically focused on planning. So you think about it, and that’s when your inner voice really kicks in.

It probably sounds something like this…

“I know making time to plan is important for the business, but I’m super busy. This just isn’t the time. After all, what I’m doing now seems to be working pretty well. I know things aren’t perfect, and sure, planning could help. But I don’t even know how to get started. There’s got be an easier way to do this. For now, it’s probably best to just stick with what I’m doing, then in a few months when things settle down, I’ll look into it.”

Once again, the annoying, influential inner voice convinces another business owner that planning can wait; that working ON your business isn’t nearly as important as working IN your business.

I hope that’s not you. I hope you are making the time to identify bottlenecks and find solutions; and analyze results and make adjustments.

But if you haven’t yet learned the importance of working ON your business or learned what you should be doing as the business leader, I’m going to simplify it for you right here.

Read More
simple strategic plan

Build A Strategic Plan That Follows the KISS Principle

Here’s the sometimes familiar inner voice of a small business owner…

Business Planning…

“I really need to build a plan for my business this year. But we’re busy and I don’t have time for that now. Anyways, what we’re doing now is working pretty good. Sure it could be better, and I know planning could help. But how do I get started? What format should I use? I’ll tell you what, let’s just stick with what we’re doing now and maybe get around to it in a month or so when things aren’t so hectic.”

First off, planning shouldn’t be a once a year thing, or something you do when there’s nothing else going on. Your business is dynamic and ever-changing and so too should your plan. And second thing, it has to be fairly simple so it doesn’t take huge time investments.

KISS Principle

So here’s a few tips based on the KISS Principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). By the way, Stupid is that inter-voice that keeps you from doing the things you know are important.

Here’s how to quiet that inner voice and make planning part of your business DNA…

Get Your Mindset Right

First, you have to get your mindset right and not let the stupid inter-voice dictate your actions. A quote that I keep lodged in my head is, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail”.

Then I remind myself what the best business leaders would say if I bellyached to them about having to plan. I can’t repeat the words here, but I’m sure you can guess that they wouldn’t be pleasant.

But seriously, to get your mind straight you have to let yourself dream about what you want to accomplish and create a vision in your head of what your business and your life will look like when you achieve your objectives.

Burn that vision into your subconscious and it will stifle the stupid you and its annoying little voice.

Use a Simple Format

Finding a simple format that speaks to you can be a challenge. After all, we’re not trying to create a perfect final edition masterpiece. We want something that’s compact and easy to read (following the wisdom of the KISS principle). This way we can keep it front and center on our desks and in our minds.

Arriving at a one-page strategic action plan takes a bit of work that will probably be completed bits at a time, so I like to chunk it down into smaller pieces.

Start Broad

To get the mind working and the juices flowing, a good place to start is with what currently is working or not working in your business. Focus broadly first by putting some thoughts in writing about how you feel about how you manage your time, how the team is performing, and how the money situation is. Give each of those a rating from 1-5 and explain why the rating.

SWOT Analysis

Next, perform a SWOT analysis. What are your business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats?

Company Vision Statement

If you haven’t gone through the exercise of creating a vision statement for your company it’s definitely worth the time investment. This kind of thinking is what will drive your entire strategic plan.

And unlike the specific objectives and strategies that you’ll initiate throughout the year, the vision for your business will most likely never change, so once you go through the exercise it won’t be a recurring task.

The vision may include your core values and the core purpose of your business. It might also include a brand promise, a statement of what differentiates your business, and how you meet your customers’ needs.

Keep Accurate Records & Measurements

One of the most important things I think a business can do is keep accurate records and measurements. Financial statements, key performance indicators, dashboard reports, and any data that help your predict how your business is performing and will perform in the future.

Set Goals & Objectives

With this data available you can set some goals and objectives for the upcoming quarters and year. Once you know what you’re aiming for, you can identify and list all the strategies and action items you need to improve upon or add.

Categorize & Prioritize

I break the business into functions/categories and create lists of action items for each of them, like sales, marketing, financials, delivery, team, systems, time management, and other details of the business.

Now with a long list of action items you can carve them into priorities. Remember one thing, if everything is a priority then nothing is a priority. Please keep the KISS Principle in mind. You can’t start and accomplish everything all at once. You still have a business to operate.

But once you’ve prioritized, you have a chance to accomplish the most important things for the next 90-day period. Consider developing your own company scorecard. And in 90 days you go through the prioritization process again, adding new action items and removing things that get completed.

Practice & Repeat For A More Profitable Business

OK, I admit that it sounds really simple when you break it down like this, but I never said it was going to be easy. Like anything else, it takes practice and repetition. But having a roadmap to building a stronger, more profitable business is worth all the effort, and it really does become easier over time. Keep the KISS Principle top of mind!

Readers, you are welcome to connect with me on LinkedIn, if we are not yet connected. In addition, feel free to schedule a no-obligation, 30-minute meeting with me.

Read More