If you want to accomplish something of significance, then you need a plan.
Some examples of “things of significance” …
(i) start/grow/turn around/manage a company;
(ii) achieve a career that has impact (very senior, gets professional recognition etc);
(iii) buy/upgrade a house;
(iv) take significant holidays.
You can also achieve “smaller goals” much more effectively, if you have a plan. eg Improve your golf handicap; lose weight etc.
Today’s blog is going to focus more on business planning … sometimes I call it “strategic planning” because the very nature of planning is strategic!
I wrote a blog entry in April this year titled 10 Reasons Why Strategic Planning is Mandatory for Any Business. That should be enough reasons for any business person.
When you start a business there needs to be a business plan, which is a tool to demonstrate that the entrepreneur has thought through their business idea, and has a realistic understanding of how the business will achieve success. It is an important document for any investor … but equally important for the entrepreneur them self.
However … that is just the start of the journey. As time goes by, things change … both internal and external factors can affect the “plan” and therefore it needs to be regularly revisited (a) to ensure the company is progressing according to expectations; and (b) to “course correct” the plan based on new data.
This is Eagle’s 16th year in business and we have planning sessions four times a year … which works well for our company. We don’t always come up with new ideas, although there have been plenty of new ideas over the years. Often we focus on continuous improvement and on investments such as where are we going to spend money this quarter … it might be marketing, technology, new resources and/or training. We will revisit our messages to make sure that we are consistent and current in our messages to market. We also spend time looking at the competitive landscape, understanding where opportunity might lie and what threats may be there too. These sessions are the right occasion for the management team to bond, air out any differences and re-commit to our common goals.
I can’t stress the value of these sessions enough … and was reminded of that when we had our quarterly management meetings last week.
Not every business needs quarterly meetings … but I would suggest that if you have a planning session any less than twice a year you are missing out on opportunity.