Ever heard the phrase ‘if you fail to plan you plan to fail’?
That is one of many clichés that people use when describing the importance of planning in business. Planning is the most logical and forward thinking activity anyone in business, whether an owner or employee, can do to achieve success, however it is often one of the activities that gets over looked. Planning is often replaced by ‘just getting on with it’ and very often the results can show that ‘just getting on with it’ can be a very expensive mistake.
The successful people see planning as defining the road to success. By taking the time out of day-to-day life and focusing on what needs to be put in place to create that road to success provides vitality, energy, enthusiasm and direction to achieve the goal. Look at sports teams as an example.
Before each season begins the coaches and key personnel will get together, discuss the aims for the season, decide on who needs to be recruited to achieve success, which positions require strengthening and what they are going to do during the season to give themselves the best possible chance of success.
During the season they measure their success against their season goals and adjust anything that needs to be adjusted along the way. The planning at the starts creates the road to success. Here are some awesome tips to make planning easier for you, whether you are a business owner, an employee or a new sports coach…
Begin by taking a day out
First and most important step is to plan the day you are going to plan. Take a day totally out of your usual working environment so you avoid distractions, interruptions and anything that might take you off task. A new venue will help to give the freedom and clarity to think clearly about what you want to lie ahead without worrying about what you are missing in the office.
It will take a whole day so make sure you give it thought. A hotel out of town, a meeting room in a neutral office you could hire, a friend’s house would be great too. It needs to be neutral and can give you thinking time.
Look back before looking forward
The start of every good planning day begins with a look behind at what just happened. If it is your first planning day then the looking back should be over the last 12 months minimum. What did you do well? What did you do not so well? How many of the things you wanted to happen happened? How did you deal with the things that you weren’t expecting to happen? Where were you expecting to be by now? How close to that point are you?
Those questions are vitally important to learn from the past and make the future even better. It can sometimes be very difficult to look into the past but it can be the difference between success and failure moving forward.
Start with the big goal
In order to define your road to success you need to first identify what is at the end of the road. It is essential to have big, long term to be heading towards. At this stage you don’t need to be able to fully define how to get there but you need to know where you are going.
Thinking back to the sports team, they would target a certain position to achieve at the end of the season. Where is it to be number 1 team in their respective league or simply to consolidate their place in the league above the demotion line, it is a goal and a focus.
If you are in business, what do you want your business to look like in three years time? Do you have a goal you want to achieve? Do you want to only work part time in three years time? That’s where your planning day needs to start, defining a long term goal. If you have never planned before then let this be the main focus of the day.
Whether you’ve been in business 20 days or 20 years it’s never too late to set a big, long term goal. Every major successful business in the world today started out with a big goal.
Microsoft, Ford, Apple all had a day when in their infancy a goal was made and a plan was hatched. Use their great examples to do it for yourself.