When you first started your business, you had a plan. It may have been something roughly scratched out on an A4 sheet of paper, or a complex business plan you presented to your bank manager, or maybe something in between. Your business plan provided you with a mission, a path for your business to help keep things moving in a positive, forward direction.
Then what happened?
If you’re like most businesses, the plan got shelved, shoved in a drawer of the filing cabinet (or folder on your computer) never to be seen again. You got on with the day to day job of running your business, wearing a bunch of different hats, putting out fires and putting in long hours. You didn’t have time to review, update or even look at your business plan.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” As a small business owner, effective planning can be the difference between success and failure, growth and stagnation. You’ve seen enough successful businesses to know that you’re treading a fine line if you’re just ‘winging it’ and not following a plan.
Without a plan, things can go wrong
It’s a balancing act to find the time to create a high-level plan for your business and get through everything you need to each day. What you need is the time, energy and expertise to work ‘on’ your business as well as working ‘in’ your business.
Everyone knows how to plan. We do it from the moment we get up in the morning; we have the end goal in mind, and we work through all the steps needed to get us there. However, the stakes are a lot higher when planning for your business than simply planning to get yourself out the door!
Not only do you need to plan for success, but you need to plan for failure as well… and every scenario in between. You’ve probably heard of or known business people who get ‘blindsided’ and lose everything. It’s often because they didn’t have a plan, or didn’t have the right plan, or failed to follow or update the plan. They didn’t plan for their partner to leave them, or for the economic downturn, or for the competitor to enter the market or for them to be struck down with an illness.
As well as the countless outside factors and scenarios that require planning for, there are internal factors that may each call for independent plans. You may need an annual marketing plan, a quarterly financial plan and a short-term staffing plan, just to name a few. Each one requires individual attention but must also work in unison to accomplish your long-term profitability.
Creating and maintaining a cohesive strategy across different aspects of your business is a vital skill that all business owners must have in order to do well.
Seeking professional help
Unless you’re a real business whizz with experience across many different departments, you’re going to find the task of writing and implementing a cohesive business plan a little daunting. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone.
It may be a wise decision to seek professional help from a qualified business consultant. You have to weigh up the initial investment of bringing someone in to help you draw up a map and help steer the ship against going it alone and ending up lost at sea or running aground.
The best part of working with someone who has planning expertise is they bring with them a fresh set of eyes. They can see things in your business that you can’t, both the pitfalls and the opportunities. They can alert you to potential problems and help steer a clear journey around them. They bring ideas, insights and can give you clarity on how to best achieve your goals.
You may not need their services for long, just enough to chart the course, make sure you have the tools you need to get there and then you can take over the helm with much more confidence. You’ll learn a lot in the process about discipline, focus and where to spend your time and energy. The best part – both you and your business will be all the better for it.
Contact Bartercard and find out how we can help put you in touch with the best person to help you plan a bright future for your business. Give us a call today.