This challenging economy has taken a toll on most entrepreneurs; owner burnout is common. Many clients we work with have a limited vision of where they are going and how they are going to get to where they need to be. They may have started out with some positive direction, but they have encountered obstacles to their success. The obstacles can range from massive debt or poor cash flow to poor sales, to working too many hours and missing out on important family events, to new competition, to bad employees or losing good employees. Frequently these obstacles make it “hard to see the forest because of the trees.”
There is one simple solution to owner burnout: business planning.
There is one simple solution: planning. An effective plan can transform your life in less than seven days. Now is the time of year to make your plans for your business. Do you have a written business plan? If not, you should get one! Maybe you just need to update your existing plan. You have heard the familiar saying, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” An effective plan can transform your life from despair to hope, from burnout to passion, from bondage to freedom. I don’t make these claims lightly. I see the results of effective planning with clients every week, and they are life-changing.
Business Planning is Like Taking a Road Trip
Think about going on a road trip. You need two pieces of information: Your present address and the address you are traveling to. Once you have that information, you can enter the addresses into Mapquest or GPS and the tool will guide you in the most effective way to your destination. There are a lot of wrong turns and wrong roads that you will avoid by knowing your starting and ending address.
Two things to Know: Where You Are and Where You’re Going
In the same way, with planning you need two similar pieces of information: your present business “address,” your location (in terms of business value, revenue, profits, cash flow, customer satisfaction, etc), and you also need to know the “address” you want your business to travel to (business value, revenues, profits, etc). Once you have determined these two pieces of information, you will avoid a lot of wrong decisions and wasted time traveling down the wrong business roads.
Rich Benefits Achieved by Effective Business Planning
There are a number of benefits you will enjoy by doing effective planning. Since we have owned a number of businesses, and since as coaches we work on many more businesses, we know the solutions to “hidden obstacles.” We help clients remove the obstacles and free them to move forward with their vision. We begin by helping them get crystal clear about where they want to go personally, and then through their business. We teach clients how to effectively plan without our involvement in the future. The end result is that our clients feel like a heavy burden has been lifted off them! They have hope. If you do your planning correctly you will be renewed, inspired and energized.
The Magnetic Force of a Written Business Plan
Words are powerful. As you write down your plan it is similar to a magnet; your plan begins to attract you to your desired destination. The practice of writing down your plans will help to establish your commitment to your own goals. This is like having a contract with yourself. There is built-in accountability, especially if you will share your plan with others. The more people you share your plan with, the better!
Important Elements of a Good Business Plan
The most important element of your plan is what you want personally. Your business should be the vehicle by which you achieve your personal goals. What do you want your business to look like in five years? Your business should reflect your personality, your values, and your strengths. Secondly, you should include in your plan how you want to make the world a better place. What underprivileged people groups are you passionate about? Starving children? Abused women? Make sure you include your passion in your plan. All these things are included in your Values, Vision, and Mission. Finally, you should break down your plan into smaller “bite-size” chunks, and complete some actions each day.
The Incredible Power of a Shared Business Plan
You have heard the wise saying that “knowledge is power.” To achieve your plan, you want to include as many people as possible who can help you get to where you want to go. Include your employees in your planning and share your knowledge with them. Help them to see how they will benefit by achieving your goals. Give them the power to help you succeed. Then your employees will become part of the solution. They will help you remove obstacles; your burden will become lighter. Also share your plan with your customers, your vendors, and any other stakeholders. Every time you share your plan, your audience will become energized, but most importantly, YOU will become energized. Share your plan again and again!
As you include these elements in your business plan, you will be amazed at the almost miraculous change that happens in you, your family and your employees.
Business planning can be life-changing. The sooner you begin, the sooner you can enjoy the tremendous benefits.
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