Planning: A Business Owner's Key to Success
Updated: Jul 12, 2019
Planning - What's the big deal anyway?
The truth is that there's a big difference in growth rates, profits and success of businesses that are run in a strategic way with planning, and those businesses whose owners choose to "run on instinct". Another expression is "flying by the seat of your pants". What's the main difference between choosing strategy vs. choosing chaos?
Willingness to Prioritize and Plan.
In the construction business, many solo operators and small shops with fewer than 8 staff run themselves ragged overseeing every aspect of their operation, from equipment purchasing, to sales, project management, marketing and the list goes on. These owners are perfectionists who don't feel they could trust anyone enough to feel comfortable delegating important work to them.
So they end up staying up into the wee hours pounding out estimates, checking purchase orders, and basically running on a hamster wheel day in, day out, without really improving their bottom line or growing their business.
When a business owner finally makes the decision to get strategic about their business, it's a major turning point. Have you ever heard the expression, "Fail to plan, plan to fail"? Its 100% true.
What does planning look like? It's pretty simple, actually. It involves a few steps:
1. Take stock of where you are now and decide where you want to be.
2. Set some SMART Goals and decide how you are going to track progress.
3. Set up your tracking (delegate this task to your office manager or virtual business assistant - but not a family member) and set a schedule to review what you are tracking (once a month is good to start). Examples of things to track: where your new leads are coming from, time sheets by employee, supplier reliability, sales process, online reputation metrics.
4. Look at what's not going well, what needs to improve, and map out your current workflow for that item (eg. customer service, estimate followups, time sheets, online marketing, staff retention, etc.).
5. When you look at how things are working right now, your current workflows, there will be some changes you will want to make instantly, and others that will take some time. Write down what's going to be involved, prioritize everything and think about what's the best way to attack the problem. If you don't know a solution, then reach out to your business network, advisor or consultant. You don't have to figure it all out yourself!
6. Hold your team accountable. Don't expect your staff or consultants or assistant to produce value without accountability. If they know there will be a review meeting on the last day of each month, then they will work toward that goal. Keep communication lines open and see the results you get.
7. At each review meeting, look at what you've tracked and see where you are in relation to your goals. At that point, decide as a team if you want to make any changes in your strategy.
Now you see that Planning and Strategy are the intelligent way to run a business. Successful business owners will know which efforts and processes are a waste of time, because you'll see they don't provide value.
When time is set aside for planning, when planning becomes a 'must', you can only improve and grow.