Business Planning – It’s Not Just for December
Every year, December comes around and you start thinking, “What do I want to achieve next year?” You get all pumped up and excited for a fresh start on January 1st. But do you actually write these goals down? Chances are, if you are like many, you have not and now it’s April 2013. Well good news, it is never too late (or early) in the year to put your plans into writing. So now that your annual tax related work is done (in the US anyway), you have a chance to ensure success in 2013 by actually ‘planning’ for success.
Every year, December comes around and you start thinking, “What do I want to achieve next year?” You get all pumped up and excited for a fresh start on Jan. 1. But do you actually write these goals down? Chances are, if you are like many, you have not, and now it’s April 2013. Well good news—it is never too late (or early) in the year to put your plans into writing. So now that your annual tax-related work is done (in the United States, anyway), you have a chance to ensure success in 2013 by actually “planning” for success.
We know it’s in our nature to make excuses: I’m buried trying managing the day-to-day work. I don’t have time to dedicate to a huge project like this. My company is too small to need a written plan. The Walking Dead AND Game of Thrones is on this weekend … The list goes on. But let’s face it, you know that if you’re truly dedicated to making more money in your business (and your personal life, too), you can’t afford NOT to set clear, measurable goals, formulate a plan and then execute on it. If I haven’t convinced you yet, let me give you three reasons why you should.
Business plans hold you accountable. You got out of corporate IT to have the freedom and flexibility of being a business owner. Now that you’re the boss, who’s there to hold you accountable? Write down your goals and put them up in a place where you’ll see them on a daily basis.
Business plans provide a roadmap. Reaching your goal requires consistent, day-in and day-out dedication. If you’ve read Jim Collins’ book, “Great by Choice,” you’ll know that executing a 20-mile march every day is key to being a top performer. Ask yourself: What can I do on a quarterly basis to reach my target? Then work your way back, assigning activities on a monthly, weekly and finally a daily basis that will put you on track to reach your goal.
Business plans help you measure. You can’t correct something that you cannot measure. If you don’t have an end-goal to work toward, how can you measure your progress? Designate reminders to check in with yourself to see what progress has been made and adjust accordingly. (For those who don’t want to do it alone, we recommend getting a business coach or peer group like HTG to keep you on track.)
So take the approach that no matter the month, a plan helps guide you—it can start at anytime. If you do the “march” toward your objectives, funny thing—you will begin to get things done. If you would like more information and get a jump start on your business plan, we put together additional ideas in our recent eBook, “Business Plan Blueprint: Turn your dreams into actionable business goals.” It’ll take a whole lot of the guesswork out of this for you. It shows you what tools you can use to formulate your plan, and where to measure for success. There’s even a business planning worksheet at the end with a framework to help document it. You can download the eBook here.
There’s no “ideal” time to write a business plan, but if you continue to put it off, know that you’ll continue to push off reaching your goals.
What do you find to be the most intimidating part of putting together a business plan?
Check back next month when we compare and contrast business plan development with, “Game of Thrones,” and “The Walking Dead”!
Julianne Pagliaro is marketing manager at ConnectWise. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual platinum sponsorship.