In the past 6 months, I’ve spent considerable time in boardrooms consulting with small to medium sized businesses and I’ve gained an even deeper appreciation for something we’ve been told since grade school yet often gets pushed aside.
Of course, they nearly all started their businesses doing “this thing” but, as time goes, as the business grew, as profits went up, as clients came in, and as we got increasingly busy “working” it gets neglected and, eventually, comes back to bite them in the behind!
What I’m talking about here is PLANNING. Now, I don’t want this to be yet another “goal setting” article, so I’m not even going to touch that word.
But if you’re looking to break the 100K mark (NET NET NET!), or break through the 500K mark, or the 1mm mark, or the 10mm mark, etc. it’s VITAL that you understand…
The Plan Doesn’t Matter But The Planning Process Is Priceless
Do you sit down monthly, quarterly, yearly with your team and plan out the next 12 months, the next quarter or even the next 30 days?
Meeting with your team on a consistent basis with the sole purpose of future planning (NOT putting out immediate fires and dealing with current affairs) is a major key differentiator between success and failure.
Does the plan go perfectly? Rarely. Things change, circumstances demand shifts, economies change, global direction may shift, or technology may throw you for a loop, but understanding the plan, the direction, and the purpose of your company throughout the entire organization is essential to long term viability.
Of course, while planning, as much as possible try and remember this simple 6P formula…
Perfect Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance
Now, don’t get bent out of shape on the word “perfect” … It does NOT mean that you need to know the exact solution to a problem and you have zero flexibility.
What it means is that you should have the foresight to brainstorm as many, if not all, of the possibilities to any given situation or plan and put steps in place to navigate those possibilities.
For example, let’s say you’ve decided to build an airplane to fly from New York to Australia in under an hour. You task your team with building the absolute biggest most intense engine ever built with speed and accuracy at the forefront of the project.
Everything goes to “plan” and the engine is the fastest out there, and the world is watching as you get ready to rip down the runway for the first time.
You “punch it” and go flying down the runway and become airborne nearly instantly and all things are going great.
Until you realize you never built a way to handle the change in air pressure. Or a way to communicate with the towers, or a way to turn the darn plane.
You spent all your efforts focusing on your main plan – a fast airplane – but you forgot to plan for the myriad of other things that go into flying.
That’s my view of “perfect planning”. It’s understanding the major goal, and still planning for everything else around that goal.
Perfect prior planning is understanding and being prepared for the wind, the storm, the birds and the towers.
So, how HIGH should you strive for?
Aggressive But Possible
I personally have two belief systems that, when I tell people about, receive a somewhat conflicting response.
I believe that you should 10X your goals (read Grant Cardone’s book 10x Rule), which means basically whatever your goal is, 10 times the goal, and of course 10 times the amount of actions you planned on doing.
I also believe that your goals should be aggressive but possible.
I don’t find this conflicting, and here’s why: MOST people/businesses I’ve consulted with UNDERSELL themselves. They are their biggest limiter. They don’t believe in their ability or the true potential of their business or market to the degree that I do and so they end up setting very menial, conservative and nowhere near aggressive goals.
And thus, I feel that MOST people can quite literally 10x there goals and they would then become “aggressive but possible”, as oppose to “impossible!” like some may think.
“But I don’t want to fall short and get all depressed and miserable that I’ve failed.” Boohoo.
Let me ask you this: Would you rather fall short on a $100 000 goal, or a $1 00 000 goal? I don’t know about you, but 50% of 1 million is way better than 50% of 100 thousand. Or even 100% of 100 thousand.
Of course, reaching a goal just because you set it is a very POOR reason to have goals. Instead, I recommend you have…
Purpose Driven Goals/Innovation
If you think to yourself “I want to make a million dollars” without thinking about WHY you want that million, you’re probably going to fall flat on your face.
The world recognizes and rewards you for the VALUE you add to the market, the world.
For example, maybe you want to make a million because that means you’ll have been able to get your life enhancing product into the hands of X amount of people.
I’ve always found that the market rewards purpose driven companies with long term success, as long as they continue to add value.
Find your WHY, and use it to drive you. Of course, don’t forget that sometimes bigger is NOT better.
Bigger For Bigger Or Bigger For Better?
I had a client that I did some work with a few months back that, within the first 30 minutes of our initial conversations, said repeatedly that he wanted to grow to a team of 50 employees (he had 15 at the time).
I kept asking why, and he kept giving me indirect answers like “because imagine how much work we can get done and how much profit we can make!” and it took me a fair amount of time to get him to realize that bigger just to be bigger is RARELY profitable or the right move.
I’ve worked with companies who have 3 employees and bring in 3 million a year, netting a solid 200K to the owner, and companies with 50 employees bringing in 50 million a year, netting a measly 60K to the owner.
Unfortunately, size doesn’t matter.
You don’t need 50 employees to get something done that could be done with 5. When you grow just to grow, you end up working really hard just to pay the bills, and you stay up all night stressed about payroll.
With that being said, make sure you understand that problems will arise, but when they do…
Only Cry Once
I recall a situation that happened when I was running my fitness studio that really affirmed the power of controlling your emotions.
I had just purchased a brand new all in one desktop computer with a nice, large 27” screen for the front counter and I was in love with it.
One evening, after teaching a fitness class, the exhausted students found their way out of the lobby and one student stumbled and bumped the computer…right off the desk… and it fell to the floor, crashing and smashing to pieces.
Everyone instantly turned to me in shock to see my reaction, expecting me to love my mind. Instead, I looked at the computer and decided “what’s done is done, there’s no sense belittling my clients over an accident” and I didn’t say a word. I turned around and headed straight back into the gym to teach my next class.
I never brought it up again, I never talked about it, and I never let it have any power over my feelings.
In business, things are going to go sideways. Staff is going to screw up.
Life, business, relationships, oceans, they’re all the same. There are ups and downs. Good times and bad times. But the key to navigating, surviving and even thriving in any cycle comes down to VISION.
Vision Is Like A Drummer On A Dragon Boat
Have you ever been in a Dragon Boat, or watched one of their races? If you have, you surely noticed the drummer. Although it may look like they’re just beating a drum mindlessly, they are a HUGE key to the entire process, and it’s their continuous beating of that drum (vision) that keeps the entire team in sync and on track.
Catch a drummer miss a beat and you’ll see rowers break pattern and subsequently slow down, lose time, change directions or worst turn over.
Okay, it’s not that simple. I’m not going to misguide you into thinking that if only you had a vision you’d be rich beyond belief, but like a positive attitude, having a powerful vision significantly improves your odds and makes the entire process more enjoyable.
Putting It All Together
As we all know, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is right now. The same applies to planning the direction, purpose and vision for your company. If you haven’t up until now, that’s okay, but if you still haven’t tomorrow, now you’re asking to be wiped out!
Winging it is the mark of the amateur, and preparation is the mark of the professional.
To your success,
PS – Not sure where to start? Not sure how to formulate a solid business strategy? Not sure if your current strategy is working or capable of delivering what you’re after? Not sure how to get the entire team in line with your vision? Having trouble keep the culture in line with the vision? Can’t figure out how to create a marketing strategy that trumps the competition? Let’s connect and go over the plan. Leave me a voicemail at 705-662-0836 or better yet, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
PPS – If you’re in the Sudbury, Ontario region and want to take part in a bi-weekly business mastermind group, let me know. We’ll be covering all things business: marketing, lead generation, technology, social media, sales, culture, leadership, problem solving, innovation, etc. The purpose is simple: Educate, Problem Solve, Innovate and Network. Please, no dreamers, only do-ers.