Plan, Plan, Plan . . . Plan
If your business is going nowhere or not in the direction you want, maybe a lack of planning is the problem. Planning is the primary management task, the importance of which can never be overstated. To go into business without a business plan is extremely foolish; to try to continue in business without one is even worse.
Planning is a pre-determined course of action for reaching agreed goals. In other words, it involves deciding in advance (i.e. NOW):
- What to do (i.e. setting goals, targets or objectives),
- How to do it,
- Who will do it, and
- When it will be done.
The benefits of planning are many, and greatly exceed the time and effort (and therefore the cost) of doing it, reducing the discomfort of the inevitable growing pains. Planning can:
- improve both efficiency and effectiveness in all we do;
- improve decision-making and management;
- increase the probability of success with a loan application;
- be a guide or blue-print with priorities for future action;
- help replace uncertainty and chaos with order;
- help identify strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities;
- enable controls to be used to keep things ‘on track’ to achieving goals;
- enable better integration of complex activities;
- give the business clear direction and focus;
- help avoid unwelcome surprises, ‘fire-fighting’ and crises;
- reduce errors and stress;
- increase motivation and confidence; and
- greatly help dealing with change.