To plan, or not to plan. An expert's response to the reasons why businesses don't plan.
Working in small and medium business, you may hear people talk about how important it is to have a business plan. What do you think about when you hear this? Is your plan in your head? Is it documented? When was the last time you monitored your success against it?
When it comes to planning there can be chaos and uncertainty or too much paperwork and bureaucracy.
Finding the time to document and monitor your plan is often the biggest challenge. Here are some common reasons people give not to plan, and my response:
1. I don’t need a business plan…
A business plan is often known by owners and managers but not written down. When you are running a business on your own with no staff, this is not a major problem. However, success is more common among those who document their plans and objectives.
If you don’t have a business plan, goals, objectives, responsibilities and targets, how do your staff and key stakeholders know where you are heading and why? Research shows that staff are motivated when they have something to aim for. A clear understanding of the business direction will encourage enthusiasm, motivation and achievement.
A business plan is also a perfect way to analyse important decisions, improve efficiency, and generally improve the product or service you offer. Your goals, targets and responsibilities are there to move the business forward with clarity.
2. I don’t have time…
Planning leads to success. It can seem time consuming if it is not done correctly with the right focus and the right goals that can be monitored practically and simply.
Using a process that takes the complex detail out and keeps a simple, focused business plan close by will save you time.
Time that you currently spend on meetings, decisions and endless tasks will be cut down with a simple focused process.
It is often useful to use an external guide to encourage, support and keep you accountable.
3. I don’t like the jargon, mission, vision, values etc…
This is a common response I hear. One mould doesn’t fit all businesses. You need to find words that you identify with, and mean something to your business. A language you believe in is vital, as your team will know if you think its all airy fairy stuff.
4. don’t like being pushed or told what to do…
Balance is key to this restraint. In order to help your business and keep you accountable you need to be questioned and challenged. If you are not, then the process will fade and dissolve. The business environment can change daily. Client issues, audits, industry interruptions, competitor actions, staff disruptions and much more can change the direction of the business for a short time or a long time. Having a realistic and simple business planning process, focused on what is important to the business at any point in time will keep things running smoothly.
Guest Author Anna Hughes has worked with small and medium businesses and witnessed continuous time restraints for planning and action. She’s seen passion, commitment and enthusiasm dampened by the day to day challenges that take time and energy. Plan2Action was developed to ensure your plans and ideas are actioned! Anna’s passion is to guide and organise businesses to achieve their goals, monitor their performance and review and celebrate their success.Anna’s experience is from the education industry, and Professional Practice (CA) where she worked with many clients in a variety of industries. Anna has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and Accounting (MQ) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Management (MGSM).
Anna Hughes - Director