You Got the Time.. Plan!

Female thinking about TIme to plan and all the elements required to plan
Grow Your Business

You Got the Time.. Plan!

Optimizing the slower times in your business with planning for the future

Do you make time to plan in the slower times of the year?

It is normal to have ebbs and flows in your business.  Certain times of the year are busier than others.  For example retailers are very busy in November and December while service providers like coaches or virtual assistants are not as busy. 

Taking advantage of the slower times of the year to plan, ensures the busy times are super effective and very profitable.

The difference between the busy times and the slower times is the activities you are doing to grow your business.  

Slower times = planning, busy times = servicing customers to drive sales.

Using the slower times in your business for planning

During the busy times you will be doing everything to sell products or services.  Whatever the business requires to attract customers and get them to buy.  Good example of this is the intensity of which marketing enters our email box, social media accounts and tv screens in December.  Marketing is nowhere near as intense in January, because that would be a waste of time and money. 

So if we know the activities that occur during the times customers are most apt to buy from you, what are the activities you do when they are not buying as much? 

The strongest of businesses take time to plan. 

Creating opportunity to plan during downtime is just as important as the marketing plan during busy times. 

We are not talking about writing a detailed business plan used to get financing or sell the business to investors.  This type of planning is a tactical plan. The “what” your business is going to do to achieve short and long term goals.  

Planning provides many benefits

You would never celebrate a personal milestone like a wedding, without some sort of a plan.  Why would you run a business without regular planning sessions?  Planning in your business ensures everyone in the business is aware of the direction and allows for measurement against the plan so that you know when something is not working and you may need to pivot.

 It will help you prepare a realistic vision for the future of your business and in doing so can maximise your business’ potential for growth. (add Link)

by Info Entrepreneurs

Size doesn’t matter when it comes to planning

All businesses have to have a vision of where they are going and what they need to do to get there.  A business without a plan may be successful despite itself.  However that business will never know how much more successful they may have been had they taken the time to plan. 

Single person businesses may neglect a formal planning process, thinking how do I plan when it is just me.  Your business needs direction, as do larger businesses.  All businesses have problems to solve which planning can help with.  And you as the owner needs to know what tactics you want to use to make next quarter stronger than the last. Separating the planning of these tactics from the execution of the tactic is very efficient and achieves better results.  

Planning accomplishes the same thing for a business big or small. 

Use time to plan for the short term

There are many different types of planning which you should incorporate into your business.  The best way to distinguish between them is what time frame you are planning for.  For example you could be planning more frequently to achieve short or medium term goals (less than a year) and then use a strategic plan for the long term (a year or longer).  

As a rule of thumb, short term planning is focused on the upcoming quarter.  For example if it is Christmas time you are planning for the new year, when it is summer you are planning for the fall. 

Writing your plan down does not have to be complicated.  The plan can be as simple as a list of things you need to have happen next quarter to as complex as the week by week account of marketing, sales and operations.  The key is to find a planning process that works for you and your business. 

Some businesses work better planning for a year at a time.  This is because it gives you a goal to achieve for the year.  Working towards a goal helps businesses coordinate their efforts and make decisions on what ideas they incorporate and which ones they do not.

Strategic planning for entrepreneurs

Do not run scared!  Too often, entrepreneurs hear the work strategic and are frightened away.  The term feels very corporate however it should not.  Strategic is an action which can be as big or as small as your business needs it to be.

Strategic planning is an organizational management activity that is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, and assess and adjust the organization’s …Sep 30, 2020 – Balanced Scorecard Institute

A business of one or 100 still needs to know where the business is going.  We would argue that the smaller the business the strategy may have a greater impact because it is easy as one person to get caught up in day to day, or feel like nothing is working.  Without someone there to remind you of the end game, having you plan for achieving the business goals available for a refresher may be the motivation you require to keep going. 

In businesses with a few people a written strategic plan is a great way of communicating the vision,  and expectations on how to get there.

If you are focused on the here and now you can miss out on trends or opportunities and your decisions today can be short sighted.  But when you have thought about tomorrow, today’s decisions will be forward looking as well.

The bottom line is, planning is important.  Important things need to be scheduled.  Determining what time of the year or month you have capacity to plan is step one.  Step two, book it into your calendar!   

Now your planning practice has begun. 

Taking time to plan with brilliance

So let’s talk about how to get started planning.  Forbes wrote a great article with 4 things to consider incorporating when planning.

Best ways to plan

Take a wider view of planning 
  • Beyond the financials opening your mind to new ideas.
  • Take the opportunity to look past current bias
  • Allow your creativity to broaden the possibilities for your business
Allow proper time to plan
  • Setting up planning at least once a year has a significant impact on how you will feel about your business’s ability to overcome adversity. 
  • How you will feel about financial performance
Taking Action
  • Create action for your business
  • Venture into areas your business may never have been before or decide this is a year to stay the course.
Team up
  • Entrepreneurs that team up have stronger outcomes
  • Find other entrepreneurs to plan with if you are a company with a small number of employees
  • Plan with your team if you have more employees
  • The more mindsets involved in planning the stronger the plan

Planning for your business’ success

No matter how your business incorporates planning into its operations, the outcome will be strong when you open your mind to possibilities.   What your business can achieve and how it will get there.

There are lots of examples of what a plan can look like. Brilliantly Forward has an example of a business planning that solves problems tool if you want to take look for some inspiration.  The format has to work for you, your business and your goals. 

Planning for next quarter, next year or 5 years from now is important as long as it is the process that fits into your business. And becomes a regular practice.

Reaching out…

Here at Brilliantly Forward we have tons of experience planning. Some may refer to us a planning gurus.  If you have questions about how to get started planning or if your plan is bold enough, please reach out to us at info@brilliantlyforward.com.  We are full of planning ideas and want to help you succeed.