Business Planning

Failing To Plan …. Planning To Fail

It’s an old adage, but absolutely true !

Interviewers asked new graduates from the Harvard’s MBA Program and found that :

  • 84% had no specific goals at all
  • 13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
  • 3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them

Ten years later, the interviewers again interviewed the graduates of that class.  You can guess the results:

  • The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all.
  • Even more staggering – the three percent who had clear, written goals
    were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.

So where do you start?

Start With The End In Mind – Jim Rohn

3 – 5 Year Vision

The late great Jim Rohn said to start with the end in mind. What is your business going to look like when it’s finished? And by finished, we mean when it is a commercial profitable enterprise that can work without you, giving you financial freedom to choose what you do and when you do it?

Imagine what your organsational chart will look like and write it down. Be clear about your long term vision. What do you want your numbers to be in 3-5 years. What are your key numbers. Turnover? Profit? Marketing Spend? Team Members? Lead Generation? Whatever your most important numbers are, get them down on paper.

It’s impossible to plan in detail for 3 – 5 years hence as there are lots of variables which can change over time, market conditions, Brexit, currency fluctuations, Corona Virus, etc. to name just a few. Always keep your long term vision and goals in mind though and if you need to revise, revise your plan and strategy, not your goals. Be stubborn about your goals and flexible with your plans.

If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, but never the goal !

Personal Goals

Your personal goals are of paramount importance too. What does the business need to give you for you to fulfil your dreams and goals? Once you know that, you can build a plan.


12 – 18 Month Plan

We can all start to plan more effectively when thinking about the next year or so. What are the key goals and milestones you’ll need to hit in the next 12 – 18 months to move along the path towards your 3 – 5 year vision? What are the key areas of your business which you need to focus on to move the company forward? What new strategies do you need to learn and implement? There are many areas to review in every business:

  • Marketing – Lead Generation, Who are your key markets, Target Prospects
  • Sales – Conversion strategies, sales training, sales process, scripts
  • Operations – systems and leverage
  • H.R. – Recruitment strategy, Training, Systems, Reward, Leadership, Structure
  • Finance – Key KPIs, Debtors systems, Break even monitoring, etc.

… to name but a few.

The Next 90 Days in Your Business

OK so now we get down to the real nitty gritty. Building a 12 – 18 month plan is crucial, but even more important is taking time out of your business once a quarter to plan in real detail, goal by goal, task by task, what you need to do on a week by week basis over the next 13 weeks to move your business forwards and towards your 12 month goals and 3-5 year vision.

Where Do You Put Your Plan?

Hands up anyone who has written a business plan for the bank when you started your business and it’s now in a drawer gathering dust?

Make your plan practical, full of your key goals and tasks, and GET IT ON YOUR WALL.

All the evidence tells us that if you put your dreams, goals and plans on the wall for you AND others to see, you are much more likely to achieve your key goals.

Need Help?

Long-Term Planning

ActionCOACH Bolton runs regular Alignment Days. During the alignment days you will get clarity on your 3-5 year vision, personal and business goals, business opportunities and challenges, personal development plan and you will leave with a 12 – 18 month plan to put on your wall. Alignment days can be in groups for smaller businesses and also run for individual companies.

More Information on Alignment Days Here 

90 Day Planning

Once a quarter, we run a 90 Day Planning Workshop called GrowthCLUB, where our clients and others take a day out of their business and build a clear, focused and detailed plan with key goals and tasks.

Click here for more details of our next GrowthCLUB 90 Day Planning GrowthCLUB