No matter how much people like me extol the virtues of Annual Planning many Business Owners that I talk to don’t have one. Last week I tried to address any potential value objection that might be in place for creating a Plan. I hope that everyone understands from that post that having an Annual Plan helps your business provide what you need for it in the upcoming year.
Given that anybody who does not do an Annual Plan is probably avoiding it for one of three reasons. First, they don’t have the knowledge on how to create one. Second, they don’t have the knowledge on how to execute based on a plan. Third, they could have anxiety around the process and the result based on having a plan.
Now, I can’t give you step by step instructions in this medium. But there are people out there like myself that help businesses with their planning. Business Owners often look at these costs and try to avoid them. If they then went on to how to research Annual Plan creation and did it themselves, I would be happy. They don’t. These owners don’t realize how much about their business that they are not in charge of their business and their future. They normally come to me after their business has turned sour and it is a much more difficult and expensive problem to fix. Think of planning as the ounce of prevention.
Plan execution is another problem. People often don’t take time out to think about their metrics and how to measure progress in their business. Because of that, they view the monitoring of the plan as an overhead to the business. Which is why that it is critical that only key metrics be reviewed on a regular basis. If you think about it, you probably should be reviewing these metrics anyway. All that is being suggested is that goals around the metrics be produced. The setting of goals is another problem. People are unclear how to set these goals. There are two simple paths to get started. First, if you meet a goal will you get out of the business what you want. Second, does the goal feel uncomfortable? If the answers to both are yes, then you have probably set a good goal.
Then there is old FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) that causes people not to create and execute a plan. In many cases, this is about a fear of failure. If you track a metric and you are not meeting it, you can feel like a failure. The truth is that a failing metric is only a failure when you don’t make a change in response to it. Leading Indicators are intended to be tripwires to warn you about future possible trouble. Trouble detected can become trouble avoided. Imagine if you could fix a revenue gap before it occurred? How much less stress would you have?
So create an Annual Plan and become the master of your business!
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