Do you really need a business plan for 2013?

by Kate on December 26, 2012

As 2013 commences, you might be thinking about goals for the year. If you are, don’t just make goals – do the planning that will help you accomplish them.

Business planning helps a business be successful. Unfortunately, many small businesses underperform because their leaders either have no plan, or the one they have isn’t appropriate for their needs.

The results of lack of planning are reduced profits, missed opportunities and sometimes a struggle with balancing business and personal needs and priorities. It can lead to the owner merely coping day-to-day, or living pay cheque to pay cheque – essentially meaning they have a job rather than a business.

Perhaps you’re thinking “My business has done OK so far without a plan”. That’s great!  Some people do well enough in life and in business without a plan or goals, or at least they seem to, or say they do.

But even if things have been good so far, there’s no guarantee it will continue that way.

Or look at it another way, what could you achieve in business or your personal life if you had a sharper focus? What’s on your wish list?

Alternatively, things might not be so great at the moment. Perhaps you recognise some of these signs that planning is needed?

  • Low or declining levels of profit
  • Declining sales or lack of sales growth
  • Lost customers
  • Poor cashflow
  • Difficulties aligning work and personal priorities
  • You’re worried about how you’ll make enough to fund your retirement

Planning won’t guarantee a smooth path, but a sound plan and committed action will certainly help you achieve your goals.

Are you ready to get started?

Despite all the words written on the wisdom of planning, we often meet people who say they are too busy to plan, or they know they should have a plan, they just haven’t got round to it yet. Many simply don’t know where to start – so they don’t!

Yes, planning takes time. To do it, you’ll need to step away from day-to-day activity and think deeper about the business. But we really can’t expect a business to deliver the results we want or need if the goals aren’t clearly defined and we’re uncertain what we’ll do to accomplish them.

So how do you get started ?

For a business owner, a good starting point is to consider your personal needs, values and goals. For example, regarding relationships, finances, community and social contribution, health and wellness. You can find suggestions for how to think through this here.

Then you can get into the business planning process, which will will help you answer three questions:

  1. Where are we now?
  2. Where do we want to get to? For example, what will be achieved, by when?
  3. How will we get there?

The complexity of your planning process and the written plan, will depend on your circumstances. It might be a solo endeavour, or might involve others. But whatever your approach the most important thing is to actually do it!

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Three ways past success can stifle business
December 28, 2012 at 4:10 pm

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1 Kate Groom December 27, 2012 at 8:32 am

Excellent news, Deb! As the years go by I realise the importance of putting in effort to think through these things, and to revisit once a year to check in on what’s now important. One of the benefits of getting older ;-)

2 Deb Evans December 27, 2012 at 6:09 am

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again to think about and re-evaluate our goals, priorities and objectives. For me, you have hit the nail on the head by reminding me that: aligning work and personal priorities.

I’m ready to start planning!

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