I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy a movie, TV show or book where I see a glimpse of the ending and then go back in time to the beginning of the story. I like this approach because I know where everything is headed regardless of all the twists and turns in the storyline that make me happy, anxious or nervous. By starting with what and how the story will end, we still can feel the twists and turns, but knowing they make it to the finish line gives us a grounded feeling.
It’s the same with business; but in this case, it’s called a specific, detailed and measurable business plan. This living, nimble and daily checkpoint document is the most critical thing you can do and have for your business. It’s your roadmap to the end of the story. It’s your path to where you are going regardless of how crazy the twists and turns are in your business, your market and the overall economy. It’s a real-time document you can adjust and evolve, yet always holds the anchor foundation of where you are going and your long-term goals.
Studies show that companies grow 30 percent faster with a business plan, and entrepreneurs who have a plan for their idea are 152 percent more likely to start their business. But for many, creating their business plan is easier said than done.
Here are three fundamentals that many entrepreneurs (and companies) don’t do with the level of detail needed to build a bedrock direction. Each step, however, is essential to achieve your greatest potential. Doing each will compel you to take personal time and require leadership meetings to sprout, evolve and finalize the core principles of your organization.
Step 1: Think Forward
Define your three-year vision for your business in as much detail as possible. The types of customers, the product/services you offer, how many offices, how many employees, a complete org chart, who your competition is and how you differentiate from them, how you will market your business — basically, how it will look, feel and smell. You want to construct something that seems completely real. Once this happens, you can reverse-engineer all the details into daily action steps and create that reality.
Step 2: Define Your Values
Your values hold the vision; they build your culture and help you make decisions on everything you do in your business. Your values define who you hire, what to do in different situations and how you treat your internal world, which is how you ultimately treat your customer.
Step 3: Listen to Your Gut
When you build your business plan based on your values, you are in full alignment and ready to take action. The key is to always monitor your alignment with your vision and values as these are the anchors of your business. If your alignment shifts internally, with your clients and/or within the industry or economy, you must adjust. That is why a business plan is a living, daily blueprint. You want a detailed, specific and measurable business plan so you can always monitor your alignment and action plan and adjust as you grow your business.
Look at it this way: If I asked you to put together a jigsaw puzzle without showing you the cover, think about how much longer it would take you to complete it, not to mention how frustrating it would be. When you have the final picture to look at and know the end result, creation is speeded up considerably and the journey is a lot more enjoyable.
Act today to find and create YOUR corner office. YOUR Business Matters!