The Trouble with Planning

Are you working IN or ON your business? Here are four tips to help simplify planning for 2024.

2 min read

white ceramic mug with coffee on top of a planner
white ceramic mug with coffee on top of a planner
Where is Your Focus?

Over lunch, I met with a potential client. We were talking about her vision for her company. She had excellent ideas for her company’s future. Yet, she was frustrated that her company’s growth had stalled. I asked if she had discussed her ideas with her team or documented any growth plans. She said, “I just don’t have time. Anyway, I’ll figure it out as we go.”

Can you guess why her company plateaued?

Four Tips for Planning

An adage says, "Where attention goes, energy flows." As leaders, things vying for our attention bombard us daily. So, where does your focus go? Usually to the biggest fire or the squeakiest wheel. The impact is that planning tends to be short-term reactive instead of strategic and proactive, resulting in lower productivity and slower growth.

Here are four quick tips to get you started:

1.Work ON, not IN

It’s critical to pull yourself out of the day-to-day operations to work ON your business. When you’re IN your business, you typically only see what’s right in front of you. When working ON your business, you can see a new perspective about what's possible.

2. Schedule Time

Schedule some uninterrupted time on your calendar. (Trust me – the world will not stop turning if you’re unavailable briefly.) Even if it’s an hour a week – that’s a start. Otherwise, planning will fall victim to the ‘someday’ syndrome.

3. Write It Down

Sit down with a paper and pen, your iPad, or your computer. The goal is to empty your head – not write a full-blown business plan. Ask yourself where you see your business going? What do you see as future opportunities? Just start writing and be open-minded. (Shove your inner critic in a closet for a while.) Do you see themes emerge?

4. Collaborate

Take your ideas to your team. Get their feedback, hear their ideas, and begin to collaborate. You can pick the best ideas from there and then create a strategy.

Viola! You’re on the path to proactive planning. See, that wasn’t too bad!

Planning. We all know we should do it. Yet, when I ask business owners if they have a documented plan for 2024 – many look at me sheepishly or take that as the cue to present the elaborate plans…in their heads.

Sidebar: Let me address a common misconception. Plans in your head are NOT business strategies. Two big reasons: 1. Unless you're at the Psychic Network, your staff can't read your mind. 2. No one else has access to said plans, let alone act on them.

To achieve your 2024 goals, you need a documented and aligned plan communicated to your staff and stakeholders. As business owners, we know this. Yet, so few of us do it. What's the block?

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