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If you fail to plan you plan to fail

posted 14 Dec 2010, 15:32 by Leighton Hill   [ updated 4 Mar 2011, 09:31 ]
I'm sure you have heard this comment before but how many people really take notice. Planning may be regarded as trying to see into the future and which is daunting. After all we don't possess a "crystal ball" and seeing into the future is impossible.

So, is planning really seeing into the future? I don't think it is. Planning is gathering as much information as possible for doing or achieving something. Think about setting out on a journey by car. Do we get into the car without any idea of where we are going? No we plan - at the very least which way we will turn when we get to the end of our drive or the street we live in. If we are a little more organised and haven't made the journey before we probably consult a map or program the destination into our GPS.

This is planning. We have looked into the future to a degree because we have reviewed our map or set up our GPS. We still don't know what the future holds but we know which direction we're heading and if nothing untoward occurs we will arrive at our destination as hoped, or planned.

If we have taken our planning exercise a little further we may have sought out what might be trouble spots on our planned route and worked alternative routes should the potential trouble eventuate. We may estimate the time our journey will take and, if it is a long one, plan some rests. If the reason for our journey is to attend an appointment then if we are to make the appointment on time it is essential that we take such steps. We should also check out where we will be able park within easy reach of the appointment.

We should take the same care when planning our business.

1 - Do you have a plan for your business?
2 - How old is your plan?
3 - How often do you review your plan?
4 - Do you have a system that compares your business's actual result with it's plan?
5 - If so how often do you make this comparison?
6 - Is your plan sufficiently flexible so that you can react to changed circumstances?

The answers to these questions should be:
1 - Yes
2-  Less than 6 months
3 - At least every 6 months
4 - Yes
5 - Weekly and monthly, and
6 - Yes

You may think this is all too hard. After all it's hard enough keeping track of sales and paying suppliers bills without having to make plans and carry out comparisons. If you think this way though it's like driving with your eyes closed and hoping that you won't hit anything! But with the right systems and discipline it's not hard at all and the weekly review of results becomes a great focal point for all staff. Once the systems are set up it becomes easy.

If you don't have a plan, don't have systems that allow you to make valid comparisons or didn't have the correct answers to the questions posed about your planning process then you need to TAKE ACTION NOW - do not wait -  contact us and see how we can help you build the best business planning system to suit your business.