There’s a saying in business, and in life: Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. These five Ps are a reminder of the need for another very important P in business—Planning! So, why not start 2021 with a sound business plan for the next year and beyond?
Effective planning can mean the difference between the success or failure, or between the growth or stagnation, of your business. Sadly, many business owners create a fancy business plan to appease their bank manager during their start-up phase or growth period. They then tuck this valuable document in the bottom drawer, never to be seen again. Years later, they often find themselves scratching their heads, wondering why their business has “suddenly” gone off the rails.
In business, your goal is simple—increasing sales and increasing profits —but achieving both goals require that you think ahead. Here’s what to keep in mind as you consider your long-term vision.
Planning is not only important—it’s imperative!
A well-constructed business plan outlines your business’ goals and the clear steps needed to achieve them. A good business plan, however, should never be set in stone, but instead have the flexibility to change as challenges or opportunities arise.
The key is to plan for the future, while keeping your feet firmly on the ground, and knowing what your next step should be. There’s no point in planning where your business is headed if you don’t yet have a clear idea of where you are today. Every plan needs a starting point.
You can start by taking stock of your current position. From there, you’ll know exactly what you can work with (i.e., resources) and what needs working on, and then design the best approach to reach the milestones needed to achieve your goals.
Staying focused along the way
Being an effective business leader takes a lot of energy and focus. You have many hats to wear and are constantly being pulled in multiple directions. It takes dedication to stay true to your plan and stick to the path to success.
The mindset you have around your business and the daily practices you implement can make a big difference. Remind yourself of why you’re in business in the first place. Too often, business owners get caught up in the “what”—the “doing”—and lose sight of the core reasons of “why” they do what they do.
If you dig beneath the surface, you may discover that the “why” is not so much about money and success, but more about service and making a difference.
Practical planning is a persistent priority
Apart from setting your goals for the future and having your business plan in place, there is day-to-day planning to be done to get where you want to go. For example, you may need an operational plan, a staffing plan, marketing plan, financial plan, even a lean plan, the names of which are self-explanatory!
Each is a separate plan yet must work together to achieve your long-term goal of improving your profits and shoring up your bottom line. The ability to create and maintain a cohesive strategy across different aspects of your business is one of the most vital skills a business owner must have. However, this is where many will often struggle. After all, you’re good at what you do, but you can’t expect to be good at everything that’s required to successfully run a business.
You may not be an expert in every aspect of business, but you’re hardly the only one. Few entrepreneurs have the across-the-board experience necessary to develop and implement a comprehensive business plan that incorporates everything from customer service and social media to gross profit margin.
If this is the case for you, it would be wise to seek help from specialist professionals. They can do a little or a lot to help you, or even mentor and support you in creating the plans you require. It’s well worth the initial investment for a good consultant. It will cost your business a lot more if you try to do it all yourself without the expertise.
Where to find help with business planning
The Bartercard network has a host of professional services available to assist you in drawing up your business plan. Sitting down with a professional can not only help with the practical aspects of business planning but can give you clarity around your business.
You may be surprised by the questions they ask about areas you have given little or no thought to. More than just a ‘dry’ planning session, most professionals are adept at finding the hidden gems in your business that you may have overlooked, while also seeing possible pitfalls you may be blind to.
It’s worth investing in the services of a professional who can help set your business up for growth today and in the future.
Plan to Expand Your Business Network
Contact Bartercard today and we’ll show you how you can easily access professional services to help you plan the growth and success of your business. The Bartercard trading exchange is a great place to find customers to buy products or services outside of your traditional channels. Make your small business a Bartercard member today!