Rules in business
Want to achieve great things this year?
Plan for it. But don't follow the rules.
If you're really serious about achieving your dreams, then planning things out is a time-proven technique. But its also something that many people fail at in their attempts.
Here's my foolproof strategy for effective business planning.
Ignore what you think you need to do.
That means no templates, no writing pages of information about everything you want to do (step by step) in your business.
Keep it simple.
That means summarising the details that matter. Pages of details will only constrain you and reduce your ability to be agile when you most need it.
Break it down.
Have a different document for each component of your plan.
That means your business continuity plan exists on its own, as does your business strategy, your exit and succession planning, your action plan, and any other kind of plan you are making. You don't have to have all of these kinds of business plans in place, but if you do it's a bloody good idea to have them separated so you can work on them in smaller chunks of time.
Start with your Vision, Mission and Values.
Always. If you don't know who you are, what you exist for and who you want to work with then it doesn't matter how much you plan, you aren't going to achieve it easily.
Identify your risks.
Know what things could cause any part of your vision to crumble. Nothing is too small or outlandish here - if the internet were to crash for a day, what would that mean to your capability and workflow? What if you broke your arm tomorrow, or needed extensive time off for any family-related issues? How would your business continue?
And be honest about your desires. If you're going to put the effort into running your own business then be bold about stating what you want. If you want to rule the world then bloody say so! Painting wallflowers is a waste of time if you really want a giant sunflower.
Once you know your big picture, then identify what the smaller pieces of the puzzle are - what needs to happen before that picture is complete?
We're still not talking about planning out a list of actions to take, instead I want you to think about it more as a bucket-list for your dream life and less like a rigid business plan.
What destinations do you want to visit or adventures do you want to have? This isn't the place to plan out how you travel there, but its a list of the goals you have on your business journey
If you've never written a business plan before then it is an absolute waste of time to spend a day doing it without also identifying how you're going to put things into action.
Most people create big fancy plans and then stick them in a drawer and never look at those plans again until they are asked for them.
Start small, keep it simple and know how the plan you're creating relates to your business. Then take small steps daily towards achieving it.
That means when you start, create micro-goals that will contribute towards the bigger picture. If you want to get better at planning, creating goals that you know you can achieve (so small and simple that they're laughable) is one way to practice consistency.
Once you've established a habit of achieving these micro goals, review what you did and how aligned you are with your big picture and then get more ambitious about your next steps.
That's a two-fold exercise. You've not only practiced consistency in creating your habit of goals setting and action taking, you're also reviewing where you've been against where you want to go - one of the most important steps in effective business planning - and you're also now in the flow of your business capacity with a realistic viewpoint on what you're able to achieve.
Effective business planning requires a solid foundation for success.
Dial back your ambition at the start of the year.
Create laughable goals to get in the habit of taking regular action.
Then, review your progress and and increase your ambition.
Small steps towards the habit of goal setting and action taking will enable you to achieve the impact you want to make.