This month my theme is the importance of focusing some of your time and energy on PLANNING. The importance of it, how to master it and how it can really help you and your business thrive.
Developing strategy takes time and resources and it requires the time and commitment. Done well it will make your life easier and less stressful, done badly, well poor planning is often worse than no planning at all. So if you’re going to do it, and of course I am a great advocate that you MUST – do it to the best of your ability.
Last justification before we get started, listen, you wouldn’t get in the car and just drive would you? You’d have a an idea of where you are going. Better still you’d have a map (old school) or a SatNav (better still) and you would get to your destination in the most efficient manner. That’s all I’m recommending – a SatNav for business!
I’m clearly a huge advocate of planning – getting out the A2 (massive) pad and lots of coloured sharpies fills me with joy. Those strategy sessions excite me and helping clients plan gives me the same thrill. Yet I know it fills many with horror. Do you plan ahead or are you guilty of taking every day as it comes?
Here are just a few benefits of effective planning:
1) To set direction and priorities
2) To get everyone on the same page:
3) To simplify decision-making
4) To drive alignment
5) To communicate the message
There’s a quote I love from the entrepreneur and time management expert, Benjamin Franklin; “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” But what exactly does this mean?
How good are your great ideas if you don’t have a plan to get there? What about that target you set yourself? How will you get there? Without planning, you fail to set goals. Without setting goals, you’re bumbling along, seeing where each day takes you and seeing what happens. Until it’s too late. You’re reactive rather than proactive. You wait for the error, then react accordingly, instead of being proactive and preparing in advance.
You never plan to fail in business. You plan to grow your brand and increase sales. So if you knew that failing to plan was effectively you planning to fail, would you address your strategy slightly differently? Of course you would.
But how can you ensure your planning strategy is succinct with business success?
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start your planning sessions small, focusing on the next 1-3 months and set yourself a goal that you’d like to achieve at the end of those 3 months. What do you want to achieve? Are you hoping to launch a new product or service? Maybe you’d like to double your current sales or have 6 more clients in that duration. Write the biggest goal down – somewhere you can see it EVERY DAY. Pop it on your desk, on your bedside table or as a reminder that alarms and alerts you every day. We need to see something 7 times before it becomes ingrained in our minds. The same also applies to your potential customers – they need to see your brand 7 times before they click the button to learn more, enquire or make a purchase.
Once you’ve achieved success and worked out a planning strategy that works for you for the next 3 months, go bigger. Try 6 months then 12. Where would you like your business to be in 12 months time? Thing big, make super sized goals and then work with someone who can support you and keep you accountable for that time.
Then, this time next year, celebrate the success. Then the process starts again!
How you choose to plan is entirely dependant on you as a person. Some love hand written lists, some prefer to keep things digital with the help of spreadsheets. I suggest you try a couple of different methods before working out what works best for you.
If you’re really struggling to find the motivation and planning expertise, do get in touch. I offer a FREE BUSINESS SUCCESS STRATEGY SESSION to get you started. You’ve got nothing to lose.