It’s that time of year when you should be working on your business plan for the next financial year. Please, please, please tell me you do a plan each year? You simply cannot succeed in business unless you take it seriously and understand the game of business itself.
I encourage my clients and readers to observe and learn from successful big businesses. Having been on the Board of an organisation with close to $1 billion turnover, I learned first hand how disciplined larger companies are. They do not fly by the seat of their pants, nor stumble hopefully from one year to the next. They set clear growth targets every year, put clear strategies in place and hold individuals and teams accountable for the delivery of those targets. The CEO must inspire, motivate and direct his people towards this delivery and has overall accountability. His/her senior management team must set targets for their own department and are held accountable for the delivery of these. Within the teams, team leaders have responsibility for the successful (on time, to budget) delivery of their projects.
All of this is made possible by two things – a business plan and a team to deliver on it. This is the game of business at its most basic. As a small business owner operator, you may feel that you don’t need a business plan. You may not yet have a team big enough to deliver on it even if you did. Yes?
No matter what your size, even if it is just you, if you are serious about growing a business (rather than creating a low-paying, high stress job for yourself), you must have a plan. And part of this plan must be to grow a team to help you.
A big business will typically be divided into ‘departments’ with each responsible for delivery of objectives for the different areas of the business. These would typically be:
- Product development
- Sales & marketing
I recommend to my clients and readers that no matter how small your business right now, that you begin to implement the disciplines of a larger business. Imagine your business when it is fully grown – what departments does it have? Write them down and set objectives for each department. Then develop strategies for the delivery of these objectives. What developments need to happen and what resources are required? Tie your targets and any expenditure required into your annual budget (you do manage using a budget right? If not check out this article on preparing an annual budget) and start your financial year with a road map of monthly objectives and actions to make it happen.
Have you ever noticed how a small dog will take on a big dog, regardless of it’s size? It doesn’t know it’s small, it behaves as though it is big enough to tackle the world. This is the attitude you need to adopt with your business too. By all means, be nimble, be smart and take advantage of the benefits of being small. But learn the lessons from those companies who also started out small once (Apple, Virgin, The Body Shop to name but a few) and install some planning discipline into your business – sooner rather than later.
Remember – think like a big dog.
From the desk of Liber8me. Business mentors and publisher of the book Liber8 your Business: The revolutionary business planning technique that will set every small business owner free