Few small businesses under 25 staff (which is the clear majority) have a written business plan at all. Larger businesses tend to have plans but rarely do they work as effectively as they could, tending to be overly complex. But the real key to strategy and planning is not the existence of a physical plan – it’s ensuring that everyone understands the strategy and is fully engaged in the activity of ongoing planning and implementation.
Strategic long-term planning is something which should cover at least a 3-5 year period and then be renewed every 12 months so that there is always a clear plan stretching out several years ahead. You might believe, as many business owners do, that things move so quickly that it’s impossible to know what’s going to happen in even one year, let alone 5, so long-term planning is pointless! Such beliefs are often accompanied by evidence of unpredictable challenges and opportunities. This, frankly, is a damaging belief. Imagine of a Government said that it’s impossible to know if and when flooding might happen so why bother planning for it? Failure in business is not about bad luck, it’s the result of an inadequate plan or no plan at all.
A Business Coach is great for asking you the challenging questions necessary to create an excellent strategic plan. And you may be surprised to find that you already know the answers to most of the questions – you just aren’t thinking about it until you’re asked the right questions. “What will happen if you lose your largest customer?” is an uncomfortable question that needs an answer and a strategy to ensure that when it happens your business continues to thrive. And if your business wouldn’t survive without your largest customer – you need to start changing things now. Questions like this make for a better strategy, a better plan, and a strong business.
Planning is not just about thinking what might go wrong, it’s even more about what happens when things go right! When will you outgrow your premises, when will it be time to expand the workforce? Will you expand internationally? And simpler steps such as when to introduce new products, new services, new sales and marketing initiatives, and new systems and processes.
To ensure that planning doesn’t become overwhelming, your coach will help you plan a regular series of planning processes such as:
- Annual planning day to create or refresh the 3-5 year strategic plan
- Quarterly planning to break the key goals into weekly actions
- Brainstorming sessions on a 1-to-1 or team basis
- Fortnightly or weekly coaching sessions to review the actions and help achieve them
Get in contact with us today to discuss building planning into the heart of your business to achieve excellent sustained results!