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.
We've all heard about our weight plateauing when we're on a diet, but did you realise that your business can too? It's almost like being close to reaching your goal weight and being thrilled about it but still needing to do or be more.It’s not that you have lost the passion for your business but perhaps there is a little less motivation than you used to feel and you probably don’t know why. Maybe you know something is holding you back, but you are not able to see the beautiful rain forest for all the trees.
It happens to us all
Many people in business today are women who are juggling home, family and social lives as well as running a business. Often we set high expectations and get frustrated or overwhelmed by all there is to do and that business has to be all about black and white, good and bad, the logical and fixed. Instead of realising that today’s business world is about utilising personal spirit, using different perspectives and approaches, flexibility, instinct and intuition. It’s not that we are being unrealistic, it’s that we are being overzealous and don’t have time and/or the energy to see and feel what is really happening in our businesses and take notice of the new ways of operating ourselves and our business.If your business is not really meeting your expectations or you haven’t had time to set any meaningful goals, then it’s time to take stock and ask yourself the deep questions in your own private quiet space, or call on expert assistance in the form of a business coach. Many see this as a luxury for their business, but if you’ve never run a business before – and most of us haven’t – then like having a good accountant and solicitor you need to have someone who can guide you objectively.
What? No business plan?
Recent research conducted on about 200 small businesses showed that less than 98% have a written business plan or clear goals. Taking the time to work out what you want from the business, where you want it to go and how you are going to benefit now and in the future is essential. Also answering the following questions is important as they are not included in your standard business plan template:• What do you want your business to give you, your family and lifestyle?• Do you have a strong foundation of yourself and how is that contributing to your business?• How does “who I am being” contribute and add value to the business function and how can this be maximised?• How can you become more true to yourself and reflect that in how my business operates?• Is your true value showing through your business results?None of us would ever dream of driving in a foreign country without a road map or GPS. Think of your business as a foreign country and the business plan as your road map. Now think of the adventures you can have along the way, especially if you know where you are heading to and trust your instinct and intuition.The only thing that may stop you – and it happens to us all – is fear and old conditioning. We often get ourselves stuck because we are mentally and physically comfortable and not willing to change or at ease with change. Analysing your business, working on the mindset and mental aspects can often address these fears.As women we are much better at looking at the emotional side of business and often this and the mind is where many blockages to achieving success can be.In reading the map and working out our travel route we create a strategy for getting from A to B, and not being taken off the path by flashing signs. Similarly, business coaching provides the tools to create a strategy for getting our businesses travelling along the right route and assessing the benefit of taking notice and following the alluring flashing signs.
Getting the groove back
A business plan that incorporates these points will help put that zing back into what you do by moving you out of your comfort zone and being true to yourself. This is when greatness can begin, we can get clearer vision, motivation back, new enthusiasm and greater gratitude. Rather than being stuck at just above your goal weight, we are told to try new exercise methods - the same applies for your business where new thinking, perspectives and actions can l...