It’s probably pretty obvious by now that I believe in planning.
That wasn't always the case.
It’s based on my twenty years of small business experience. Especially the part of that experience we euphemistically refer to as “learning.” The same “learning” that’s haunted my dreams and affected the very trajectory of my life (but let’s save that for another post, shall we?)
Now that I'm older and wiser I believe the best shortcut in business is some sort of executable plan. *
Toward that end let me reveal my unsexy secrets.
1. Define the business model. Know what business you're growing.
When I talk about business models what I'm really asking is, “Who does the business serve and how does the business make money?” Of course those two questions create even more questions begging for answers.
Think about these questions:
· Who benefits from the activity of the business?
· What problem do you think you're solving for them?
· How do you find that customer with the problem? How do you find more of that customer?
· How do you communicate how remarkable you are with the customer?
· How do you actually generate revenue?
· How much does that revenue cost? (COGS/Overhead)
· And what’s the margin?
2. Create the Plan. How are you going to communicate the model?
The answers you gave to the above questions matched to your creativity will support you as you develop the plan.
Your plan works best if it’s a written plan. It also needs some sort of time management, implementation tool.
Even if you create a fairly simple document it will pay you back by motivating you, helping you identify top priorities while eliminating time wasters or wasteful processes. And of course don't forget the financials.
3. Work the Plan. What will you do tomorrow? The day after?
This is where the implementation timetable is useful.
I hate to use the “d” word but to implement the plan we have to show a little restraint; a little discipline. As Austin Kleon writes in his book “Steal like an Artist,” "Be Boring; it’s the only way to get work done."
So there you have it. I'm the first to admit that some of this you've heard a million times. It's like that magical (yet unsexy) combination of diet and exercise resulting in a healthy life.
Most of us have to hear it a million times before we'll actually do it.
*I've said it before in several other posts but it bears repeating; I believe planning has the most impact in existing and expanding businesses not necessarily at startup.