Often I find myself wondering where the week has gone, when yet another Friday arrives. The to-do list is only half complete, as 'stuff' has just cropped up, preventing me from being able to complete and cross out all of the tasks on my list.
This is a similar situation for many of the businesses I work with, as with every will in the world 'stuff' happens. 'Stuff' not being a negative word, but often comprising of new pieces of work that come in, last minute opportunities that are just too valuable to miss, time critical client work and I guess life and business in general! It is often for this reason that the planning and development work of a business is put temporarily on hold to cope with all these time critical pieces of work and opportunities. Temporary is however, a very dangerous word because how long is temporary?
People that are working on their own in a business or in a very small team, do frequently put business planning and development temporarily on hold and in fact really do struggle to find time to work 'on' the business, rather than just 'in' it...but it is so vitally important if you are going to be able to develop and grow your business!
Your business action plan doesn't have to be war and peace, in fact a single side of A4 paper will be sufficient, as long as you have clearly defined goals, have dates to work to,know who's accountable, have ways of measuring in place and review your plan regularly. Reviewing at intervals for goals that spread across a longer period of time is also important, as reviewing before the end of the term will allow you to make any adjustments to what you are doing, to give yourself a better chance of achieving your aims.
Regular planning is in my opinion the best, little and often being the key. By simply setting aside an hour or two each month to just focus on and review where you are with your business would be a great start!
Some businesses that I work with often don't find the business action planning as exciting and fulfilling as the doing in the business, but it really is crucial for the success of any business. It is extremely important though to ask those difficult questions, the ones that challenge your thinking and really get to the bones of the situation or idea. The saying 'two minds are better than one' is relevant in this situation, as with two of you (or more) you can discuss and generate new ideas and it is a more sociable way to work than working on your own.
It is not only developing your business that is important, but also developing yourself. Increasing your understanding and knowledge of certain business topics is equally as important as any business planning activity, as the better informed you are, the more informed your decision making and planning activities will be.
So ask yourselves the following:
Do you struggle to find time to work 'on' the business rather than just 'in' it?
If you lack motivation working on your own?
Are you able to ask yourself those difficult and challenging questions?
Do you struggle to work to deadlines and keep your business on track?
If you have answered yes to these questions you may want to consider working with a business development adviser or business coach, as they will be able to support you.
You may also be interested in my business development workshops which combine developing you and your business and are held in small groups of 6 or 8 people. A session where you can work on your business and learn at the same time! Two workshops that I am currently offer are:
Creating Content For Social Media.
Mastering Email Marketing.
For more information get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org