Planning for the Future of Your Business: Work Smarter, Not Harder
There is immense power in taking ideas from your mind and putting them on the page. Just by writing down your goals, you are 42% more likely to achieve them. Therefore, one of the best things you can do for your business is to develop a detailed business plan that you can rely on to guide you forward.
The Importance of a Creating a Business Plan
Creating a business plan is all about gaining insights into your business and leveraging these to develop strategies that propel you towards success.
When the big, tough decisions roll around, it is vital to have an understanding of your core mission and goals to fall back on. A business plan provides this in a clear, concise document on hand whenever you require it.
You can work and work, but if you are focusing on the wrong thing, it’ll all be for nought.
A business plan helps to keep things simple. Does an action align with the priorities outlined in the plan? If not, it is not worth undertaking. This allows you to focus on your organisation’s future by working smarter, not harder.
Business Planning Brainstorming Exercise
When developing your business plan, one size does not fit all. Before charting the practical, operational elements of your business plan, you must first be able to identify the ‘big picture’ goals for your business. From this, you can map your direction, ensuring all elements of your plan add to these higher goals.
To begin figuring out these ‘big picture’ goals, start with a brainstorm responding to these questions (excerpts taken from ‘What’s Your Plan?’, written by global expert in business planning, Suzzanne Laidlaw):
What drives your business engine?
What is the vision of your business in the future that is so powerful it inspires you, your team, your clients and suppliers? What are you and your company passionate about? What does your business do and what is the greater purpose of your business? What are you promising to deliver to your customers?
What do you need to learn to be the best at what you do?
If you can identify the gaps in your learning that will impact your business, scheduling time to increase knowledge in those areas will be instrumental to your business success. Write a professional and personal development plan, focusing on what areas can you work on to improve your results.
What is unique about your business?
Have you reviewed where your industry is heading and who the big players are? How do you measure up? What differentiates your business from others? Why would your prospects buy from you over your competitors?
Do you know where your money is going?
If you don’t have an up-to-date budget and cashflow forecast, it’s impossible to track your financial success and trends over time. Knowing your numbers aren’t just about your profits (or loss); your numbers tell a story, and understanding them intimately will teach you how to read between the lines and develop strategies based upon what the numbers tell you. Book in a regular date in your diary to review and track your financials, and act on anything required.
Do you have the right people in the right roles?
Who currently fills each functional area of your business and who’s missing from your team? Create a current org chart, write job descriptions for each current (and future) team member, get clear on specific duties each team member should carry out to meet their KPIs and identify any gaps. If you don’t have the right people, your business can bed ragged backward instead of propelled forward. Once you’ve identified who (or what) is missing, create a future org chart as something to work towards.
What strategies will be most powerful in your business growth?
What will be the quickest strategies to achieve success in your business, and have the biggest short-term impact? Put time aside for whoever is accountable to work on your chosen strategies and decide how you’re going to track each strategy (so you know if and when you achieve your desired result). Any low-hanging fruit or opportunities for immediate improvement in your business, will help you to keep the business alive whilst simultaneously working on business growth strategies for long-term viability and success.
Answering these three core questions is a great way to start assessing your business's strengths and what makes it unique in the market. So, get out your notebook or some butcher's paper and give it a swing.
How do I start?
The best way to start is by dedicating a designated time to sitting down and focusing on your business plan. Take this time to zero in on your plan, free of distractions of everyday life. The clarity that comes with knowing that all you have to focus on today is generating ideas for your business adds immensely to productivity.
Again, work smarter, not harder. If you try to develop a business plan while your mind is scattered with other stressors or responsibilities, you won’t get anywhere.
For example, take a business planning workshop with your peers or dedicate a few hours at the end of the day to work with an online business plan builder at your own pace. The sooner you find the time to develop your business plan, the sooner you’ll begin making positive steps forward.
Suzzanne Laidlaw Business Coaching facilitates 2-day business planning and business coaching workshops, for groups of business owners to develop their plan over two consecutive days. This is an ideal way to create a comprehensive business plan, with the support of a global expert and with other like-minded business owners in the room who you can brainstorm and network with. Suzzanne Laidlaw has aided countless executives in the pursuit of growth and efficiency. She will supply you with the resources and strategies to optimise your operations and profitability, with bespoke solutions catered to your business.
Suzzanne’s next workshop is scheduled on 13, 14 February 2023 in Leederville, Western Australia. Book now!