Leverage, Estimate, Action, Polish – leads to improving and growing your business
Where do we Start
For many years there have been masses of business plans available on the internet and all have been very similar. Pages and pages of information that is hard to put together, difficult to make sense of and monitor. They have been developed from large corporate organisations and for the view of banks and for business owners to get external funding. Most small business owners struggle to complete them or don’t bother, and rightly so.
This doesn’t mean planning is not essential or useful, quite to the contrary. The issue with these is the format they have been compiled in.
The research I have conducted, confirmed what we have been told for years, that most small business owners don’t plan at all. Those that do (which is only less than 10% - 10/100 = 10 people) only do short term superficial planning on things they know they can do, not things that will lead to success.
Of the 10% who do plan (10/1 = 1 person), 5% (.05/1 = .05 person) do so well and of that 3% (.03/.05 = .0015 person) generally achieve at least 80% of their goals.
What do I need to have an effective business plan
There are steps involved to create an effective and useful business plan but they all require clarity.
Planning takes clarity and effort, but not as much effort as the actions. Get clear.
Your long term vision is a reflection of yourself. How much you know yourself and are connected in shown in the long term clarity of your plan. How much you know yourself is reflected in the level of detail you have in your vision and plan. The trusting you can achieve it is reflected in the mission.
If you want to have more clarity, get real with yourself, uncover the hidden and let go of the fears, embrace the tucked away about you, your dreams and what you’re good at and what you love doing.
The only things in your Vision and Intentions are those that you are passionate about. Yes it is true there will be Milestones and Goals that don’t drive you as much or at all, but if they are linked to the things you are passionate about then your motivation and ability to manage the business and team to achieve your desired success will be much higher.
The important part here is to leverage everything you know about yourself and your business in the planning process and in the content of the plan, the strategies chosen and your personal actions.
Clarity is core
If you have clarity around what your key strengths are and what you want to create in the longer term then you can put things in your plan that others would let them get in their way or stop them in their tracks.
When I say longer term I mean big hairy audacious goals that many people put in the “would be nice someday” basket, yet too scared to think about exactly what you want it to look or feel like and how it might happen. It is when we embrace this and surrender to the dream, accept that we can have this and do deserve this that the Universe can start to assist in it’s actualisation. It knows what we need, when and from whom it is best serving everyone.
There is another contributing factor here to the level of clarity we can have around what we want to achieve and that is the scale of the objective and our personality.
Let me explain this with an example, a story.
Quinten was a social worker working for an international aid organisation. He was involved in the funding allocations for different branches and streams of the organisation. Quinten became aware of the fact that much of the funds received paid for the wages of organisations management and staff and that only about 3.5% went through to provide aid. His personality was that of a person who is Earthy and has great long term vision, for the team particularly. Quinten could see where and when the funding allocations should be modified and have a more significant impact on the objectives of the aid project. A few years late he created his own international aid organisation for young international students to receive basic essentials, where most of the funds and resources donated went to the aid recipients. One of his fund partners (Robert) had a different personality and couldn’t see the long term benefit to the rec...
Your turnover is OK and your customers are happy and keep coming back, but you still feel less than excited about your business. It’s not that you have lost you passion, you just have less motivation than you used to or feel you should. Many people in business today are women and they are juggling. They are still expected (either by themselves or their partners) to keep house, bring up kids and run their businesses on their own. Us women know that is an unreal expectation for anyone to have on us let alone on ourselves. We try this for a while and then we get frustrated or overwhelmed or snowed under or a combination of all these. A partners may say that our goals are unrealistic, but we know there is great potential and limitless possibilities available ‘out there’ and available to us. So it is not that we are being unrealistic about, but we don’t have time and/or the energy to see what is really happening in our businesses.
Most who have their own business find it easy to put all their spare time into the business. When you have a family too it becomes more of a juggling act.
Some have a misconception that work life balance means spending the same amount of time in your business as you do in the rest of your life. It is not that at all, it is about having time for the things highest on your values and to spend enough time in each that fills you up and gives you joy.
Many women today desire more life from life than our parents seemed to have. We begin to question ourselves in depth about that and what we are doing. Many are working in jobs or in their own business so we can have challenge outside our family and fulfill our life's purpose, as well as many other reasons.What we are really longing for is to be recognised and appreciated for our efforts , knowledge and experience. Is that enough though? When you get those feelings do you still question what you do, punish and criticise yourself and wonder if it is really enough? Will it ever be enough?
So what is really going on?
This often comes down to a few factors, such as low self esteem and low feelings of self worth. Or maybe you are taking on more than you need to so you can receive better feelings about yourself and show you are 'worth it'.
Most people these days have many activities and roles they commit to. Often there is too many and we eventually feel obligated in too many areas of our lives and for too many tasks – we spread ourselves too thin, sacrificing our inner health, physical and happiness. Are you doing this at the moment?
If so the actions below will help you lighten your plate so you don't spread yourself too thin.
For at least a week (preferably four) keep a detailed diary of how you are spending your time – each task and how long it takes. At the end of this time list the tasks you have done and how much time they have taken. You are likely to be surprised.
Now it is time to categorise the tasks you have undertaken and total the time spent in each category. Your categories may include – household, family, friends, career/work, business, creativity, fun, physical health, mental health, spiritual, socialising, love or personal time. For example, if you have spent 3 hours on housework that would be categorised as household.
Next make a list of all the things that are of value and important to you and rank them most important to least important. The most important are things that make you motivated, make your heart flutter and full of love or joy. For example – Family, helping others, business, honesty/integrity, love, health, etc,. Contact us if you would like free a copy of our worksheet to assist you with this.
Now it is time to categorise the tasks you have listed in Action 2 against the your ranked values from Action 3. To do this you must add up the time spent against for each of your valued areas (Action 3). This will highlight any areas of your life where you are not living your values. For example if you had household as taking 8 hours and that is not in your values list then you have a discrepancy. An example is if you have family as taking 36 hours, fun has been measured to have taken 42 hours of the month and these areas are highly ranked in your values, which is ranked higher, fun or family? Let’s say Family was ranked higher on your values than fun, you should note this and ask yourself why you spend so much time on your fun and not with your family.Differences like this raise the question “What do I need to change to live according to my values?”To answer this you can look at the tasks you do that take up time and are not high in your values. Can the family members work together to accomplish some of these tasks to share the load and assist each other to have more time to do things that are important to them, or is it time to get someone outside the family to do theses tasks. This often improves family relationship and the quality and enjoyment of life.