Have A Plan
Planning is an essential way of getting set for your business’s success. And one practical way of planning your business is by having a Business Plan. If it’s not in the plan, it may not happen.
Planning gives you the edge to start any business with the end in mind. TD Jakes famously said, ‘If you plan it right with a pencil, you can build it right with steel. Pencils are easier to correct than welding!’ If your business ideas are not convincing on paper, you could be driving at a terrible speed with your eyes closed.
If you can’t commit to writing them down, you perhaps won’t commit yourself to follow them through. ‘The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen,’ so said Lee Iacocca an American automobile executive.
A plan provides concise articulation of the journey you are about to embark on and ways to navigate the terrain and doubles your chances for success, especially when you are starting a business. According to H. Stanley Judd, ‘A good plan is like a roadmap. It shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.’.
A Business Plan is a living document that precisely defines your business, identifies your business objectives, and describes your strategies to reach those objectives. It is a dynamic planning tool for preparing, modeling, budgeting, structuring, forecasting, strategizing, and attracting investments, among other things.
Every business idea should first be thought out on paper with facts and figures – more like research-centered planning that covers your market, product or service line, and sales, among other things. The more information you have, the better your plan will be.
Once you have a full understanding of your product, competition, and market, the better. We do market research so as to identify a viable, preferably underserved market, and to determine market demand (what it wants most and it’s willing to pay for). Then, we align our mission, vision, and purpose to meet those needs.
Your Business Plan is like a business design that gives you a good idea of what your finished work should look like. When you plan, you are creating a very specific blueprint to assist you to make sound business decisions that would make your business prosper. Imagine what your business will look like in three years. Your plan becomes the blueprint to make it a reality.
The act of planning forces you to think through whether your business is viable and what it will take to make it a success. By being specific about your business needs and objectives, thinking more strategically to grow the business becomes easier.
In a nutshell, planning is important, for whatever we do in life and business and it’s an ongoing process of setting goals, deciding when and how to accomplish them, and determining how best to accomplish them.
Planning is a critical part of the preparation, and preparation is winning. Just like what it means, the business plan helps you to plan ahead. Planning ahead can mean the difference between business success and failure.
Execute the Plan
Planning does not need to provide you with all the answers but it can help you to identify key enterprise metrics you must pay attention to from time to time, and how to profitably and sustainably meet the market needs.
The real value you’ll receive from planning is sharpening your thinking and organizing your action steps. It will make you prioritize what is needed to run your business. And with it, you can create a clear action plan with defined steps, timelines, and deliverables. This is where precise execution comes in.
Plans are useless until they are married to execution. Your plan is only as good as your ability to confront the market and sell your products or services to them, and keep selling!
Once you start operating, market conditions are such that you have to adjust. This does not mean you throw away your plan, i.e. your Business Plan, but you move quickly to adjust it to the prevailing realities. Sometimes, the market will steer your business in unimaginable places that will violate everything you have planned.
Typically, new businesses fail because the people responsible for them take assumptions to be fact. They don’t work hard enough or systematically enough to identify and validate critical assumptions before either committing large resources to the business proposition or walking away.
Just as an American entrepreneur, MJ DeMarco said, ‘The world has the incorrigible power to corrupt business plans the moment the idea is transformed to reality. The best business plan in the world will always be a track record of execution. If you want investors, get out and execute!’
Business success is never about the idea but about the execution of the ideas. Come to think of it, people invest intangible ideas or in people with track records of execution, and not on Business plans. The value of an idea is hidden in its execution. Execution is always king!
You should have goals that are broken down quarterly or even monthly. Plan out where you expect to be every step of the way in terms of financing, staffing, marketing, and any other relevant department of your business.
In the true sense of the word, the owner of an idea is not he who imagines or plans it, but he who executes it. He who thinks the idea owns nothing. He who runs the idea owns everything. So, after dreaming and planning it, the real deal is in executing it. If you have-not, it’s because you act-not. So, plan and work it!
Tony Ajah is a Business Growth Strategist, and the author of BUSINESS SENSE, and ON BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR.. He maintains a personal blog, www.tonyajah.com where he shares proven business ideas and principles for SMEs.