Entrepreneurs tip of the week
This week I offer my thoughts on simplifying business planing.
As long-time readers know, I am a believer in the value of planning. I am convinced that any plan is better than no plan, and that most small businesses do not spend enough time deciding where they want to go, or grow.
Sometimes, I am told that people "don't know how" to write a business plan! And, from a banker's perspective, that might be true, but these same people know how to plan a vacation, a celebration or a party. You can do this!
If you have not done so already begin planning for this year by reviewing last year. Start with what you earned, and how many customers you served. Examine your data for patterns and ask questions. The data may be in your accounting program, in your files, or in your appointment book, but you do have what you need to begin planning for next year. Use that data!
Next, dream a little. How much money would you like to make this year? How much do you want to work? Considering your clients last year, do you want more of the same, or do you want to make some changes? Simply decide what you want for the rest of this year.
Then, the part that terrifies most of us. Decide how you will make it happen. Do you need to raise your fees, do more marketing, or learn new skills? Do you need to hire an assistant, or up-grade equipment? Do you need a coach to mentor you?
Planning is a three-part exercise. Start with what you have, choose some targets for next year, and devise a plan for getting there. Yes, you'll make mistakes, and of course nothing will go exactly as you planned. That's called life. It is NOT an excuse to avoid planning.
A plan will focus your time and energy. Any plan, even notes on a scrap of paper, will give you a sense of direction. Before the year gets away from you, write a plan! A year from now, you'll be glad you did.
Take the time. Make the investment. Hire the experts. Take the initiative. Get away from the daily details to see the big picture and create the future you want.