If you’ve ever read the book E-Myth Revisted you’ll see that most business managers or businesses don’t achieve success because they don’t plan adequately. They have great ideas and leave too much to chance. Taking the time to commit a plan to paper takes time and energy but can save your business in the long run.
The reason entrepreneurs or managers don’t do enough planning is because they like to be more operational than visionary and the business planning process takes vision. There is also a likely dose of ADHD in there as well I think. They don’t want to make the time to sit down and prepare a plan or commit their thoughts to paper because it may be time consuming or they feel they need a “perfect” plan . But the simple fact is that taking the time to write something down is part of strategic process. It helps refine or synthesize ideas to ensure that all aspects of the business have been thought through. It’s part of the risk management process for a business.
Take a look at most successful big businesses and you’ll likely find a disciplined business planning process in place. When I started my career at Kraft I learned from the masters about business planning and how it all roles up to the corporate strategy. It was a rigorous process that took a few months but in the end everyone had a crystal clear understanding of the various marketing plans and what the company was trying to achieve. It would become the underpinning for how I would manage the businesses I was responsible for over the years.
Business plans don’t need to be re-written every year but they sure need to be updated to reflect the new market realities. Conditions change quickly in the market so managers need to react as well as plan for these changes. However, managing a business without a clear sense of what you’re trying to achieve or how you achieve it is foolhardy.
In my e-book on the Marketing Management Process I outline the classic steps to follow in preparing a solid foundation and reducing the risk factor in your marketing efforts. Not every business needs a lengthy business planning process but it needs a plan and one that everyone lines up to.
Assess you own business planning capabilities by looking at the existing process or plan and ask:
1. Do we have an updated or current business plan? If not, why?
2. Do I know what the business priorities or goals of the company are?
3. Is there a process to present or review the plan with management to check validity and buy-in?
4. Are we managing the business on a monthly or quarterly basis to a plan or forecast?
If you answered NO to any of the questions above then your business planning process needs to be looked at and is likely a reason why you aren’t achieving success.
Remember…….strategy without tactics is a slow route to victory but tactics with strategy is the noise before defeat!