It’s never to early or too late to check in with your business plan for this year and decide what actions to take to make towards achieving your goals, and to plan your year ahead if you haven’t already done so.
You know how it goes – you talk to financial advisors, they work with you to create a plan for financial savings and investment. You talk to your fitness coach, they work with you to create a plan to reach your fitness goals. You plan your wedding, your home renovations, your family vacations. You spend time and money investing in planning in other areas of your life, why would you not do the same for your business?
Investing in strategic business planning is essential for your business success. It gives you a road map, a sound compass for where you’re wanting to go. It gives you clear direction of how to get from point A to point B without getting lost. A good strategic business plan helps you to execute efficiently and not waste time with trial and error, or with what I like to call, the spaghetti method (throwing something at the wall and hoping it sticks). A good strategic plan keeps you focused.
Having a good strategic business plan is absolutely essential to your success and the lack thereof is why so many businesses fail. In fact, 85% of business failures are due to lack of improper planning and organization.
But you don’t need a grade A plan to success. What you do need is a simple, executable plan that will help you succeed! And you need to do your homework! A written plan is just evidence that you’ve done your homework to ensure the viability of your big idea and to set a clear direction and path to success.
Here are 8 simple steps to creating your business plan for success:
1. Start with the end in mind – where do you want your business to go, and WHY? Write down your goals for the next year, 3 years, 10 years. Really challenge yourself – Dream BIG! If you think small, you’ll play small – so think BIG!
2. Know where you are now, financially, systematically, operationally. This means you’re going to have to get organized with your financials and conduct a little internal assessment of where your are now.
3. Analyze the gaps to see where you need to invest more time/effort/resources. What skills to you need to develop? Where do you need to shift your time and resources? What money and success mindsets and habits do you need to adopt to help close those gaps?
4. Clarify your niche/target market , understand your market and competitors, and build your marketing plan. Do your homework and get really crystal clear here – it will drive almost everything else in your business plan, including how you’re going to fill some of those gaps you identified.
5. Build your service offerings in such a way that addresses your clients biggest pain points with ease, and create a financial plan based delivering those service offerings (focus on a few key priorities instead of trying to offer everything under the sun to everyone). You can now tweak and finalize your marketing plan.
6. Identify systems and your team that will support you and your business. You can’t do it all yourself, as least not efficiently and without burnout. You need a team, whether it’s hiring employees or hiring out certain functions of your business (such as bookkeeping and administration). Decide on the systems that are going to support you the most and create the most ease for you in your business. Systems can be as simple as checklists and calendars, to full operations manuals and fully automated end-to-end solutions. Automate as much as possible.
7. Have back up plans for when things don’t quite go as initially planned. Every business hits roadblocks at some point – power failures, illness, market crashes. And you need to be prepared to make detours so that the roadblocks don’t derail your journey to success.
8. Start driving your way to success, celebrating the milestones as you reach them. Check in with how you’re doing against your plans, and build in what I call reflection days – days that you take to reflect how your week/month/year went, what you’re doing well, and where you’ve fallen short, to look at your numbers and know what they’re telling you so you can keep moving forward.
Remember, business success does not happen over night. And business planning is not a one-time thing. Your business plan is a living, breathing document. It should be visited regularly (I recommend AT LEAST quarterly). Take time to stop and reflect regularly to see where you are in achieving your goals, and to adjust your course as necessary to get back on track if you’ve been derailed.
Where you focus your attention is where you will get results. So get planning and take inspired action to realize those business results that you want desire and deserve!