Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

November 2010

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There are as many different approaches to planning as social media sites.  Some of the more common ones we’ve seen are fly by the seat of the pants, whilly nilly, cross our fingers and hope it works, and my all time favorite, throw it up against the wall and see what sticks.

All kidding aside, planning is an important part of any business success.  Given the continued economic roller coaster, planning your best case scenario is essential.

Several entrepreneurial clients have asked about implementing a structured planning process for their business.  Here’s the protocol we recommend.

Day One:

6:00 – 8:00 pm Decompress

An effective planning retreat begins with regurgitating all that’s been bottled up this past year.  To accurately assess your current year, worksheets provided prior to your retreat assist in gathering information related to your business performance. We discuss what went right and what went wrong – without creating a solution! This opens your mind for the dreaming and planning period.

Day Two:

9:00 – 10:00 am Dream

Free of any current year distractions, we discuss where you really want to go in 2011, what it looks like, what it means to you, and how it will feel.  We also tackle any fears, challenges, and/or concerns.

10:00 – 11:30 am Devise

It’s time to open your mind and say ”ahhhh” to unlock the possibilities. No idea will be out of the realm of possibility as we let our minds flow freely during this “idea storming” phase.

11:30 am – 1:00 pm Lunch break

1:00 – 3:30 pm Decide

Given a clear picture of what is possible, and armed with a long list of possibilities, we develop your plan of action complete with objectives, goals, timelines, and projected gains.

3:30 – 4:00 pm Debrief

With your 2011 plan in place, it’s time to bring your planning retreat to a successful conclusion by identifying all that you learned including the value your learning will create for you in the  new year. This anchors your retreat experience and provides greater clarity.

4:00 – 5:00 pm Celebrate

No retreat is complete until the celebration begins.  Following your concentrated efforts, you are ready to honor all you’ve achieved and applaud the success that is to come.

Success doesn’t just happen without a well-thought out planning process. By creating your 2011 plan now, you’ll be ready to rock the new year.  If you want to discuss a Business Success Planning Retreat for your business, contact us at 800.398.6428 or online.

Several months ago, Fast Company ran an article on the supposed demise of strategic planning in favor of strategic execution.  Undoubtedly, many solopreneurs and owners of microenterprises leapt for joy as they read of its hypothetical passing.  Perhaps it relieved some of the pressure felt of the need for a strategic plan.

Let’s face it…many of us as solopreneurs and owners of small businesses do not have MBA’s.  In fact, I’m pretty confident when I say that most of us are “masters of our craft”.  We’ve learned our profession well.  Whether an attorney, accountant, copywriter, web designer, health care consultant or strategic business coach, we really just want to perform the profession for which we’ve honed our skills.  And, we want to do so in an independent, entrepreneurial environment. Truth be told, all of this extra business stuff (aka strategic planning) can really get in the way of that enjoyment – or so it seems.

Before you’ll ever be convinced of the importance of engaging in a strategic planning process, one of the biggest obstacles to overcome may exist, not in the marketplace, but in your mind space.  Throughout the years of working with entrepreneurs, I’ve heard all the reasons for not having a strategic business plan in place from “I don’t have time” to “I don’t need one” to “I’m not big enough”.  Many of these objections come from false information.  Perhaps you, like many artisans, have worked in corporate America where hours were spent on a strategic plan that later became a doorstop.  It’s easy to see how that can leave a bad taste in your mouth.

However, from my experience with entrepreneurs, having a strategic plan in place is even more important for the small business owner.  The amount of information and the volume of tasks you handle in a day is just plain dizzying.  You need your strategic plan to keep you focused and on track.

With that said, let me share a few experiences you can look forward to with a strategic plan to guide your decisions:

  • You’ll be more proactive.
  • You’ll have more time and energy.
  • You’ll be less stressed.
  • You’ll be more intentional in your efforts.
  • You’ll save money from ad hoc spending on ideas that are not well-though through.
  • You’ll have greater clarity and will make smarter decisions.
  • You’ll reduce your sense of overload and overwhelm.
  • You’ll reduce hiring mistakes.
  • You’ll avoid costly course-corrections midyear.
  • You’ll be much more competitive.
  • You’ll work smarter, not harder.
  • And, my personal favorite, you’ll get to your destination faster.

Have I convinced you of the many rewards of a strategic plan?  Don’t take my word for it.  Experience for yourself the many advantages of working from a strategic plan by launching your strategic planning process today.

Do you ever find yourself stuck? Unable to move forward on a project or a goal? In your quest to jar yourself loose, are you asking yourself “Why can’t I move forward?  Why am I feeling this way? Why am I so stuck?!”

Why? Why? Why?

“Why” is a great question to ask if you want to understand underlying motivations.  Unfortunately, these drivers aren’t always so easy to identify.  The inability to discover the answers, along with lack of movement, create frustration, anxiety, procrastination, avoidance, and guilt.

A solution to the inertia is to ask “what” questions.  Questions beginning with “what” are about movement and activity. When you ask “what”, you create energy and reveal solutions that dislodge the log jam of immobility.  This movement leads to further movement – like a snowball rolling downhill – gather more and more momentum with each revolution.

Good “what” questions to ask yourself include:

  • What needs to happen?
  • What needs to change in order for me to move forward?
  • What is it going to take to get off square one?
  • What is one action that I’m willing to take right now?
  • What do I want to have happen?
  • What are my other choices?
  • What has worked for me in the past?
  • What is missing for me?

“What” is about action.    What have you found helpful to get you moving when you’re stuck?

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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