How To Conquer Your Business Planning Neglect

By Asa Beavers

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.


What you’re going to learn doesn’t require huge time investments, and it’s easy to change as your business changes. However, you must stay away from bright shiny objects.

Following are my tips based on the K.I.S.S. philosophy [Keep It Simple Stupid]. Once you see how easy business planning can be, you’ll soon begin to ignore that stupid, annoying, influential inner voice that wants to make it harder than it really is.

Make planning part of your business DNA...

First you have to get your mind set right and not let the stupid inner voice dictate your actions.

I remind myself what the best business leaders would say if I bellyached to them about having a plan for my business.

They would say, 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 inner voice and put you in control.

Finding a simple format that works for you…

For this exercise, you’re not creating a formal business plan you might take to a bank or investor for funding. You want something that’s compact and easy to read so you can keep it front and center on your desk and in your mind. Ideally, you will eventually arrive at having a one-page plan, but that will take some time. I suggest first chunking it down into smaller sections and complete those sections one at a time.

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

A strong foundation is necessary…

You can conquer business planning neglect. 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 business plans. 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.

Managing by the numbers…

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 you predict how your business is performing and will perform in the future. With this data available you can set some goals and objectives for the upcoming quarters and year.

What… How much… By when…

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. 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 specifics to a 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. 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. And in 90 days you go through the prioritization process again, adding new action items and removing things that get completed.

Make business planning part of your business DNA...

It really does all comes back to this idea of making it part of your business DNA. I admit that planning does sound really simple when you break it down like this, but I never said it was going to be easy. Every business is different, and every business is going to have different sticking points. Finding what works for you is the key and like anything else it takes practice, and repetition. Once you turn it into a routine, you’ll soon find yourself feeling in better control of the business and unlocking its full potential.

Having a roadmap to building a stronger, more profitable business is worth all the effort, and it really does become easier over time. That is why business planning is crucial.

Let's Connect on LinkedIn...

You're welcome to connect with me, Asa Beavers, on LinkedIn and I'll invite you to join my LinkedIn Group: Strategic Leadership Essentials for Entrepreneurs and Other Business Leaders. Also, please check out my complementary Business Essentials Toolbox