5 Myths about Business Planning

5 Myths About Business Planning

When people go through a bad patch in business, they sometimes refer to it as “a bit of bad luck”. But is it? Sometimes we do get hit with something unforeseen – but most often this “bad luck” is simply the result of failing:

·       to Identify a properly thought through plan for your business, and:

·       to implement and then to monitor that plan.

So, to address this problem, here’s a double-barreled tip:

One: Complete a short, sharp, business plan that’s effectively a prioritized action plan with timelines and responsibilities…in writing.

Two: When it’s done, don’t put it in the bottom drawer. Keep it in a place where you can see it every day – like the top of your desk. Then develop a routine for comparing your actual performance with your plan at regular intervals to see how you’re going. If you do all that, you should end up in a much better position to make sound management decisions on exactly what you need to change, how much needs changing, what needs reprioritizing etc.

Now, let’s look at 5 myths that stop many businessowners from doing all this:

1.     ‘I don’t have the special skills needed to do a Business Plan’.

You don’t have to be a genius to plan or set your objectives. No one knows your business better than you and your team. However, it does make sense to get outside expert help to facilitate this process. It’ll stress test your thinking better. It could even help you to see things that you can’t see clearly because you’re too close to them.

2.     ‘I haven’t got the time to do it, and it costs too much.’

Think of the time you spend planning as an investment in the future profitability and health of your business – not a cost. And ask yourself “what’s the cost to me of not having a properly thought through plan covering both the short and longer term for my business?”

3.     ‘With a simple business like mine it’s easy to see what the problems are.’

Simple answer: if you know what the problems are, then why haven’t you dealt with them yet? Put together a plan right now to eliminate the problems.

4.     ‘I keep my business plan in my head.’

Without a written plan it’s too easy to gloss over, or forget an objective. You may even end up fooling yourself that you’re achieving what you need to achieve. If your plan’s in your head, how can you expect your team to know what it is and to buy into it? And what if anything happens to you? Your family/partners need to know your plans and objectives for your business too.

5.     ‘In my business, I can’t plan ahead… it’s month to month.’

That’s being reactive, not proactive. In life there are only 3 types of people – those that:

-        make things happen

-        watch what happened

-        wonder what happened

You job as a manager is certainly to avoid being in the last of these categories. Think “let’s make things happen” in your plans, and then monitor them carefully so that it’s unlikely that you’ll ever end up having to ask “what happened”.

Don’t make excuses by blaming things that you’ve got very little control over – things like the economy, taxes, government, laws and exchange rates. Your challenge is to manage….to get on with it, to put a clear plan into place, to accept the limitations of the things you can’t control and to focus on what you can.

Think PPPPPP - proper planning prevents pretty poor performance.