Strategic Planning is only for the corporate world, not a small business owner right?
Strategic planning has the misconception of being time consuming, labor-intensive and intimidating to most small business owners, which makes it an easy task to procrastinate. Even when you do get around to it, having the vision of five years from now tends to be elusive and indefinable as you struggle in the day-to-day scramble of right now. It often-times leaves you wondering how relevant is this to me and is it even worth it?
So often small business owners have insights into their business with great intentions and expectations of implementing them, but it just falls to the wayside of the impatient clients and putting out fires. Everything else becomes more critical than the most important things that will move their business forward.
You probably find yourself in the position where you are too busy working "IN" your business to take time to work "ON" your business. You understand the importance of planning for your business future, but the challenge is either you don't know how to go about it in an effective way or by the time you "get around to it" the year is already halfway gone.
To build a successful business, one that is sustainable, meaning it can run without you, takes strategic planning. Effective planning enables you to set goals, carry out your vision and bridge the gap from where you are today, to where you want to be in the future.
I don't know about you, but this year flew by. It feels like just yesterday when I was setting my goals for 2019 and now here I am preparing for another year. Before next year slips away from you, let me give you a few tips on how to jump start your planning efforts:
Understand What Drives You: Your Why
I believe that people are dying in their business every day, just as my father had at the early age of 62. He never got to enjoy the full fruits of his labor and I see the same pattern arising in many of the business owners I consult with. One of the reasons this occurs is because they lost sight as to why they went into business in the first place, the reason their business exists. Your business does not exist just to make you money, (note that it should be profitable and you should be able to make a living at it, otherwise it is just a hobby) it exists because of a burning desire to make a difference. Yes, you have to make money in order to stay in business, but you have to have a bigger WHY than just paying the bills and getting through another day.
Know Where You Are Going
What are your goals and aspirations beyond the business? I encourage you to take time this holiday season and reflect on your ideal life. Once your business is thriving and you are able to live the lifestyle you have dreamed of, what would it look like? How will you be spending your time? Who would you be spending your time with? What activities would you be doing more of? What would life look like for you? Take this time to dream, don't think small and live in the realm of what is possible or realistic, but what is your ideal life.
Know What It’s Going to Take to Get You There
Now that you understand where you want to go, what will your business need to look like to achieve these goals, organizationally, financially and culturally?
- How big does the company need to be? (How much revenue does it need to be generating, how many employees does it need to have, what assets does the company need (i.e., building, office space, equipment)
- Know Your Numbers: How much revenue do you need to be generating just to get by? How much revenue do you need to be profitable and pay yourself a decent salary that allows you to have extra? How much revenue do you need to be generating to live your ideal life? How much revenue do you need to be generating to hire your next employee? Knowing your numbers is going to the life blood of your business. For every goal you set, make sure you understand the numbers supporting it.
- What kind of impact do you want your business to be making? What do you want the community saying about your company and its reputation? Why is this important? Without this in mind you are building your business on sand. You've heard the saying, one unhappy customer tells more people about their experience than a happy one.
Set a Date, a When
Set a date as to when your business will be at the point of achieving your dreams. We suggest setting a date no more than 5 years out if at all possible to give you something to stretch you. We all know that if it is not planned it is not happening. Set a clear target for yourself.
Set Waypoints, Your Next Steps
Chunk your goals down into smaller more manageable steps. Understanding where you want to go and what your business needs to look like to get you there, what is the next waypoint to get you closer to your goals? Is it a specific revenue amount? Is it to hire an employee, if so, how much revenue will you need? Is it to get a new location? And then what? What is your next one after that and so on. Then determine what your actions steps will be to achieve these waypoints.
We hope you found this article helpful, if you would like to take this a step further, then join us for our next Strategic Planning workshop on January 10 in Richmond, Virginia. To find out more and to register, click below.