Business planning

Planning provides a strategy and this is a customized way of doing things that works best for that business. The plan should involve each staff member. Follow up should also be done to ensure that all this is practiced for success.

In my experience leading dozens of business planning workshops in countries all over the world, I’d say only about 10% to 15% of teams I’ve encountered have an effective business planning process. Sounds low, doesn’t it? What many business owners fail to understand is that good planning equals good management.

Here are three steps to get you planning better and, in turn, improving your management.

1. Devise a plan. As the business owner, you start by writing important details down. You don’t need to sweat every detail of creating a long document. Instead, jot down essential points as bullets, and tables, and bare explanations. The strategy element of planning is to focus on what you’re good at, what matters, which people are most important to you and what you can do for them. It’s about positioning, determining your target market and product focus.

  1. Define success. In order to chart your path, you’ll need to define long-term goals. Think broadly about how you see your business in several years.

From there, get specific. You’ll want to establish milestones for when you want to accomplish certain goals, and know who you will want to carry them out. Go beyond sales, costs and expenses, and look at what really drives your business. It might be conversions, page views, clicks, meals, trips, presentations, seminars and other engagements.

  1. Put it in motion. Can you see the management brewing? Tracking and analyzing numbers can help you manage the work behind the numbers. You’ll be in a better place to recognize and highlight what’s working and what isn’t working for your business and your team.
    Suppose traffic is up, but conversions are down. You collect your data, review it with your team and develop a plan to make changes toward reaching your goals. That’s management.

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A good plan needs to be well thought about , researched and also practical. This reduces the chances of failure. There should be room for adjustments during application and later the process should be reviewed to check if it was successful or not.

As a Business Planning Advisor, I meet with lots of entrepreneurs full of ideas and energy. They’re always excited to share their dreams and vision for their business. But when I dig a bit deeper and ask questions about how they’ll accomplish their goals, I often hear responses like, “I have it all worked out in my mind, “I’m not sure how I’ll do that,” “I still need to think more about that,” and, “I didn’t consider that.”

Taking the time to think, analyse and write down your business plan is not only important for the business planning phase – it’s also vital for reflecting and learning during the start-up and growth journey. It will also help you develop your business along the way, from streamlining your operations, getting new clients and assessing your finances, among other great benefits.

  1. Focus, Focus, Focus

Chances are, if you’re just starting off, you have dozens of great ideas about your business, from marketing campaigns to operations. But the most important thing to do when you’re first writing a business plan is to focus!

Take your time when you’re writing your business plan. Avoid distractions, find a quiet place and pay attention to the task at hand. When you’re ready, write down all your ideas on paper so that they’re all right in front of you.

  1. Evaluate Your Ideas

Take the time to analyze and review the great ideas that you’ve written down, and then place them in order of most important to least important for starting your business off right. It will help you identify the resources your ideas will require and the time it’ll take to implement them.  It will also help you realize how much you can do at once.

  • Prioritize which ideas are most important for your business’ launch and success.
  • Outline the resources and time your ideas need to become a reality.
  • Double check to make sure that each part of your business plan looks viable and is consistent
  1. Go for It

Being able to prioritize your ideas and plan out their needs will help you to define and set firm goals in your business plan. Make sure that your goals are achievable, measurable and timely, too.

Having goals firmly written down will focus your actions and give you direction. It takes a little effort, but it’s worth it – more certainty and less doubt will make you a more confident entrepreneur.

  1. Review

Great job! Now take the time to go back and review the results of your plans. Compare the achievements with your goals.

  • Compare your results to your goals.
  • Reflect on your end results
  1. Learn

Did you achieve what you planned? If not, what did you learn from it?  Were there any unexpected results?

  • Reflect and learn from your experience
  • write down all your thoughts and discoveries. Be honest and factual. There’s no right or wrong answer.

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