One of the hardest disciplines to learn when running your own business is to STOP!, TAKE TIME-OUT from the business for a day and lock yourself (and business partner/s) away for a planning day.
It’s too easy getting caught up in the day-to-day operations particularly if you’re the one generating the business. I know, I was guilty of this early in my business life, until I learned the importance of planning. By implementing these simple steps, I found I that I had better visibility and clarity of how my business was performing, and if it was on track to reach the goals I set. It was far better than flying blind and having a rude awakening at tax time when my accountant did the final figures for the year!
Here’s a few easy steps to start with.
- Schedule a Planning Day each month after your end of month accounts are finalised. Be religious and ruthless in setting this time aside each month. Mark this time in your calendar and don’t move it for anything or anyone!
- Review the results and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) over the last month and assess if you’re on target. (See Knowing your Numbers) Were they under/over your goals?
- If sales and/or profit were below target, how are you going to make up the short-fall in the coming months?
- Review and plan what activities you have planned for the following 1-3 months that will make up any shortfall, or further escalate your growth.
- What additional activities do you need to put in place? E.g.
- A sales or lead generating activity?
- A promotion or additional advertising?
- More sales, customer service or follow-up calls?
- Further staff training to convert more leads, customer contacts and sales?
- A competition and/or incentive for your staff to increase next month’s sales?
- How is your time best spent over the next month?
- What activities do you have planned and are these aligned with your priorities?
- Should YOU be the one to call or visit your top clients on this occasion, instead of your staff?
- Does any expenses need to be trimmed over the next month?
After sharing these techniques at a seminar that I co-facilitated, one husband-and-wife team that were in attendance were early adopters of these steps. Each month they scheduled a half to full day at their home, away from their business, to plan. Each quarter they booked themselves into a 5-star hotel for the weekend for ‘Planning Days’. This not only did wonders for their relationship (which is not always easy to manage when living and working together), but it gave them a joint and united focus on their business goals and plans. They planned and allocated the roles each other had to play, what their focus and priority was, and how they could support each other. As a result of this and many other solid business practices, they grew a very profitable, multi-million dollar business and enjoyed successive years of growth.
Take the first step and block off time NOW for your first Planning Day, then schedule one each month for the remainder of the year. You’ll be amazed at the clarity and focus they will give you, and the success that you will create!
Try this, and let me know of the benefits you gain from them.