Do businesses and other organisations have a dilemma when it comes to deciding whether to have a business plan?
Apparently it is! In Kent for example, I have read that over half of small businesses have no plan of how their business will run, few objectives and even less measures to tell them how they are doing.
To some extent this is understandable, first priority for any organisation is to be in a position to pay the monthly outgoings such as bills, materials and wages, running a small business, a charity or a social enterprise, occupies a lot of time and effort, for small rewards, with the average sole trader for example earning less than £20,000 per annum, lower than the average national wage.
It is nose to the grindstone most of the time to keep business and income coming in with little time available to plan or evaluate.
What is surprising is that when we all have things to do in our private life, we tend to plan, think about the things that need to be organised if you go on holiday, for example, book flights, accommodation, currency, transport to and from the airport, who will look after pets, travel insurance etc., the list goes on, but magically it all gets sorted, through planning and making things happen.
So, for most of us, it is not about the ability to plan, but making the time to plan, when we have to, we do, in business or managing an organisation it is about making time to plan and evaluate, a priority.
Taking time out to decide where the organisation is going and why, then putting a plan together, will result in less frustration, less tail chasing, less pressure and improved results, often giving managers and business owners a better return for the same amount of effort.
Why? because you have a clear sense of direction and a good idea how to get there, and a way of measuring how you are doing along the way.
Many people believe a business development plan is a thick document with lots of complicated stuff in it, not so, it can be whatever you want it to be, from a basic framework which provides direction to a detailed plan with steps to getting where you want to go.
Many templates exist for business plans, but a template is not enough, it is best to get some external input, at least at the start, and preferably on an on gong basis, to build and monitor the plan, this should deliver better results.
So, take time out to begin to pull a plan together, talk to a business coach such as myself for some help and input.
I find that having a Discovery Session, as outlined on my website is a great way to start the journey to putting an effective plan in place.
Terry Botfield – Business Coach and Mentor