At the beginning of every year, I lead a workshop for business owners, guiding them through a process to create an Annual Business Plan. Now that we’re a few days into 2018, I wanted to share with you seven mistakes that business owners commonly make in planning, and what you can do to avoid them.
Failure to Put Your Plan in Writing
Most business owners will launch into the year with no written plan in place. That’s a mistake. You may have thoughts, plans, and goals in your mind…but if you fail to put them down into writing, you’re very likely to forget about them and not accomplish what you desire this year. There is power in writing it down, getting it out of your mind, and putting it on paper. I’m so excited about the group of business owners who attend our Annual Business Planning Workshop because these are the owners who will focus, plan, and achieve great things year after year.
Failure to Review Your Plan Weekly
The key to success is not just having a plan – it is reviewing it regularly to stay focused and to measure progress. Many business owners will spend time and energy to create an annual business plan and then file it away never to look at it again. It just goes in a drawer or on a shelf. Regular review is essential to success. What good is a plan if you never look at it?
Ignoring Customer Feedback/Input
Sometimes we get in a rut as business owners. When this happens, we miss the subtle – and sometime not-so-subtle – messages and feedback from our customers. We must always be observing and listening to them. Their feedback should be valuable to you. Our customers’ and clients’ wants and needs change over time. The way they buy, the things that matter to them, change as time progresses. Are you listening to them? Do you have a system to regularly attain customer feedback?
Underestimating Your Competition
This is more common with business owners who have been around a long time. They do not know how damaging the competition can be because they are in denial about their diminishing advantage. Your competition is doing planning. They are getting feedback from their customers and improving their services and products. There are new businesses sprouting up every day that may do the same thing you do, and you need to be aware of the potential to take your business away. While you shouldn’t obsess over your competition, you shouldn’t ignore them either.
Ignoring Your Strengths
The most successful business owners know themselves well. They know their strengths and their weaknesses, but they focus on their strengths. The less successful get obsessed with their weaknesses and miss the tremendous leverage they can have in developing their strengths. In our Annual Business Planning Process, we encourage business owners to take an inventory of their strengths and weaknesses every year and see how they can minimize their weaknesses and take tremendous advantage of their strengths.
Shying Away From Reasonable Risk
During a sluggish economy, it’s normal to pull in and be conservative. Maybe the last few years haven’t been as profitable as you like. However, when opportunity is staring you in the face, you need to be ready and willing to take a reasonable risk. Don’t be afraid!
Failure to Learn and Grow Personally
The truth is that if nothing significant changes in me as the business owner, very little of significance will change in my business. You and I are the keys to growing our businesses. If we aren’t growing, our business won’t…our people won’t. We must be intentional about learning and growing ourselves! Take time to read books, browse blogs, listen to podcasts, go to seminars and learning workshops. What are you doing to grow personally and professionally?
If you need help creating an annual business plan, don’t fret! We are here to help. Contact us and see how we can help put you on track to grow your business in 2018.