Failure to Plan Part 2

6 09 2010

Last week we introduced the topic of a failure to plan with small businesses.  Many people love the idea of being their own boss and operating a successful small business, but many may not plan properly for that same business endeavor.   There are many reasons why small businesses fail, some of them due to no fault with the originator.  Sometimes a business may fail despite the best laid plans, but those are usually few and far between.  Our focus is to strive to reduce the risk of failure to a nominal percentage.

We covered the lack of a business plan that could quickly spell a new small business’s demise. Part of the importance of a business plan is to include a vision, mission and value statement for your new small business.  It is important to have these statements, but to have them and then not to have any actionable plan to achieve them is no better than not having a vision statement at all.  It is important when developing your vision and mission statement that they actually MEAN something that you can measure.  Just to say that you will be the best in the industry is an empty promise.  How will you be best in the industry?  How will you offer superior products and service?  By making these types of statements means that you should have some form of measurement.  You should have some other company standard that you are measuring yourself, your company and your products and services against.  Without a solid basis of measurements, your vision and mission statements are not any more important or useful than the paper they are written on.

Along with having an initial plan, you should have documented some version of where you believe your business to be in 5 to 7 to 10 years in the future.  Documenting these targets will allow you to make longer term decisions.  Sometimes we get caught up in the short-term fix and lose sight of our long-term targets.  By documenting your 5/7/10 year goals, you will be able to keep in the forefront your long-term goals and may then make  better long-term decisions even when faced with a short-term problem.

A trap that many established businesses fall into is the one where you take time out to do a strategic planning session, write all the decisions down, and then not utilize any of the plans decided upon.  It is often very easy to continue with business as usual, but if you have had a successful strategic planning session, why did you waste all that time if you had no intention of implementing the new goals?  Again, when re-adjusting your strategic plan, be sure that you have measurable targets in place.  You need to have a measuring stick to be sure you and your business are moving in the direction you had planned.

Worst of all is failing to make the tough choices in your business.  There will be times that you may have to stop one project because it just will not produce the necessary profits.  This can be extremely tough if the particular item was a pet project of yours.  You may also have to make the tough decision to let certain people go if they are not producing to your defined targets.  These are all tough decisions, but necessary to maintain the health of your business.  (notice though that all these decisions are based on measurements against a predefined target)

In a nutshell, if you want to have a successful small business, you need to have a plan.  You will need to have that plan documented, you should have clear and measurable objectives so that you know when to make adjustments, you need to follow your plan and adjust when necessary and lastly, you will at some point have to make some tough decisions.  With luck, those tough decisions will be very few and far between.  You will never be accused of failing to plan.  The more you practice planning and adjusting your plan, the easier it will become.

If you are interested in earning an additional income or possibly start your own small business, we may have something that would meet your needs.  Please feel free to review our website and contact us with any questions you may have.  Even if we do not have a business opportunity that is exactly what you are looking for, we would be more than willing to work with you to find your perfect opportunity.

Until next week…

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