How Good is Your Plan?

There is a very good reason why the adage ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ has been around for so long. As it turns out, it’s based in reality and particularly holds true when it comes to launching your own business…but also when operating your life.

Let’s begin with your own business. Whether you have been successful for 20 years, or are just about to begin, how well you plan will directly impact the level of success you achieve.

Running a business is not a task to be taken lightly.  Planning in several areas is a prerequisite for success.  For example, in addition to addressing the big picture of how to generate business, you must also take the time to focus on seemingly small points that will ensure a smooth-running office on a daily basis.

If you are just beginning a business, small questions need answers:

  • How will the phone be answered and by who?
  • What office equipment will you need to get your work done?
  • How will the work be produced?

If you have been in business for a while now, but without a true ‘plan’ in place, larger questions need answers:

  • How will you handle daily tasks?
  • How will you handle weekly and quarterly tasks?
  • Who will be your backup in the event of a prolonged illness or disability?

All of these issues may seem obvious; however, failing to take the time to address each one, could leave you ineffective and unable to develop and maintain a successful business.

Knowing what to expect. You should have a solid understanding of exactly how much revenue you will need to generate each month in order to cover your expenses. Include everything!  If you are already in the business and have done this before, do it again now and see if your income is enough to cover the current expenses.

When you have itemized all of your monthly expenses and added them up, it will be clear what the business must generate in order to avoid going into debt.  Then you will be ready to begin planning how to meet those expenses.

To create new business, you will need to write a detailed list of where your business will come from?  Then make a conservative estimate of the fees your business will generate each month.  If there is a shortfall in income, you should consider what, if any, expenses you can reduce/eliminate until income has grown.  If you can’t reduce expenses, you must make a plan to increase income.

Still think this only suits your career? Think again. Go back and check each area of successfully planning a business and see how similar it would be to designing a life that you love. What kind of plan could you design for the things you want in your life?

In all areas, by creating a plan, you will be planning to succeed, not failing by default.  During the planning process, keep in mind that a plan must be flexible.  Do not just write out your plan and toss it in your desk drawer or file it away in a computer folder.  As you progress, compare it with your actual results on a regular basis (at least once per quarter). Then adjust your plan accordingly.

There isn’t anything magical about planning, nor do you need specific skills. You simply need to make the time to think thoughtfully about what you want and how you will go about getting there. Make the time to design a sound plan and then follow it, because failing to plan is as good as planning to fail.

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