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Business Tips – Planning to Succeed – Part 1

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It’s no secret that in order for you to succeed in life, there has to be some sort of plan and obviously, this also applies to business success as well. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that the “devil is in the detail”. The more information and detail in the plan, the more you can “measure” yourself to see how you are doing and the more likely it is to succeed. I always say that if “Cash is King” then Clarity has to be Queen!

The problem of course is that many folks have no idea what needs to go into a plan and this statement is backed up and evidenced by the many businesses that fail because individuals have failed to make plans or set goals of any kind.

Here are some guidelines on what you need to look at in order to plan properly.

Your vision, of course, is your dream or your intention. It is the ultimate goal. It could be something as dramatic as having your particular product in every home in the country by xxxx date or as simple as providing training to 500 SMMEs (small, medium, micro-enterprises) on a monthly basis.

What it should perhaps include however is what kind of product and why it should be in every household or what kind of training and why it will make a difference.

Mission Statement
For me, the mission statement is a simple plan on the “how-to” to achieve your vision. So how do you intend to get your product into every household or how do you intend to get the SMMEs into your training? At this stage, I wouldn’t go too in-depth but rather have the basics down as these can be fleshed out at a later stage or as and when you get to the information that you need.

At this point, it is also a good idea to start getting your figures in place – the budgets. Number crunching is not always as difficult as we seem to think it is – just start with the basics and then the detail can be fleshed out from there.

Culture Statement
I must admit, when I ask this particular question, I am often met with a very confused look as well as the statement – “The What . . . . ?” Every business has a culture and pretty much like we are “masters of our own destiny”, we also have a choice about the type of culture we want our businesses to be. The way that you deal with customers and your suppliers or your staff would largely affect the type of culture that your business will become. In many instances, the culture of the company is determined by ethnic or religious influences but whilst we may be influenced by these external factors, it is equally important to ensure that our ethics also influence the culture of the company.

Often, it’s “Who we are” and our beliefs (and I am not talking about religion here), that is what attract people to do business with us.

Whether we want to admit it or not we all have goals – some of them are really simple and we make them without even thinking, like “I need to get to work by 08h30am this morning”. Of course, that is a goal – is it one that you need to write down – not necessarily. Some of them can be seriously difficult and complicated, well actually – if the truth is told, we make them seriously difficult and complicated.

For me, the easiest way to put my goals into perspective is to break things down into bite-size chunks. Where do I want to be in a year or two years or three years or even five years? That’s the end goal – then break it down into the components – what do I need to do to get there and how long will that take me. Once you have written all of that down, it is easier to set goals with timelines, be those timelines hours, days, weeks, months or even years.

Let me give you a simple example. I want to paint my home and I want it done and completed at the end of say 6 months. What do I need to do to get that done? What is the budget? How many rooms are there and in which order will I paint the rooms. What has to be done before I can paint (preparation), how long will that take me for each room (preparing the walls, covering or moving furniture, purchasing paint, brushes, etc.)? What has to be done once the room has been painted (clean-up and uncovering and moving furniture etc.).

Now I have an idea of all the tasks that must be done and I can assign a time frame to each and if my time frames are reasonable and I stick to them, I can complete my task within the time period that I gave myself or not – you see here I can now adjust my “end result” if that is what is required. I have documented my goal and set a plan in place in order to achieve my goal – I can measure myself at every step along the way and see how I am doing.

In the same way and in every aspect of your business, this simple type of goal setting and planning can be implemented to ensure that you achieve whatever it is that you wish to do.

Next time we will have a look at the rest of the guidelines that I spoke about at the beginning of this blog.

Part 2