PLANNING

The First Step Toward Success

Contrary to popular belief by some, planning should never be a boring waste of time. A well-constructed plan is an investment that will pay solid dividends.

Plans Come In All Shapes & Sizes

There are many different kinds of plans. The trick is to know what kind of plan to build, and when. There are times when a simple "tactical plan" will do the job. In the case of a new business start-up (or an existing business that might be ready for an overhaul), a full-bore business plan might be the way to go. There are many choices.

What Is A Plan?

The simplest way to define a plan is to look at it as "organized common sense." It can take a lot of information and put it into a form that is quickly understandable and addresses real needs. The basic function of information is to help you make decisions.

If you're missing a key piece of information, chances are your decision(s) will be less than great. On the other hand, if you overload yourself with too much information that isn't necessary, you'll end up getting confused and probably making more of those "less-than-great" decisions. These days, information is available in unlimited amounts so getting "overloaded" is easy to do...happens every day! The solution is to ask yourself "What do I need to know?" before you get started.

After that, it's a matter of searching out the information and "filling in the blanks" to create an effective plan that will work for you.

What Do The Big Guys Do?

In larger companies, the only way to operate is on a planned basis. Without plans, there would be a whole bunch of employees running around in a constant state of chaos.

Collectively, these plans represent the platform for running the business. They are usually accompanied by a good measurement system to assess how well the plans are working, and to decide what changes might be necessary to continue forward progress.

Should a smaller, independent business be any different?

Well, YES...the number of plans can be rolled up into simpler versions but NO... the essence of providing an operating platform is critically important for any business of any size.

In a large company, it would be unusual to see people show up at a meeting without their plan(s) in hand. Those plans represent the course of actions being taken, measurements on "how we're doing", and the basis for making decisions during & after the meeting.

If you apply the same basic thinking to a small company, it would be entirely logical to conclude that having a plan and staying on course should make it much easier to figure out where you're going and how you're going to get there.