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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.

Depending on which study you read, you get conflicting viewpoints of the economic future of small business. This is exactly what Carol Tice noted in her recent post ” The Best Economic Indicator for Small Business Owners.”  Some business studies say things are looking up with lots of optimism in the marketplace; other studies indicate entrepreneurs are barely holding on by their fingertips. Who do you believe? And, more importantly, which study do you consider when planning the future of your business?


Although the many studies present interesting information, in many ways the economic future of your small business is an inside job. That’s really nothing new. Even during strong economic times, some business succeeded while others failed.

There are, however, three actions you can take to create your own economic climate of growth.  These include:

  1. Strengthen the belief  in yourself and your ability to achieve your dream.
  2. Create a well-thought out strategic plan based on what you want as opposed to what you think can be achieve based on the latest study.
  3. Commit to the strategic execution of your plan.

When it comes to determining the future growth of your business, say “YES” to trusting your inner expert.

Picture this.  You’re traveling down the road at 90 mph.  Music is blaring. Kids are hanging out the window. And, the scenery?  Frankly, it’s all a blur.

There are some potholes in the road, the engine’s knocking, and you notice that Bobbie is missing – all clear indicators that this trip is headed for trouble.  You’re moving so quickly there’s little time to make sure you’re headed in the right direction…let alone determine where you’re at along the continuum of business growth.

Each business travels through four stages of growth and development on its way to maturity.  Common characteristics, growing pains and a primary focus define each one of those stages.

Do you know what stage defines your business?  It’s not uncommon to misidentify the stage.  Don’t make the same mistake as some entrepreneurs who base their business stage on years in the industry rather than revenue.

Is your daily business activity consistent with the primary focus of your stage of growth?  In this fast-moving information age, it’s easy to get distracted by other activities outside the primary focus.

Rev up your business growth by identifying your business’ stage of growth and aligning your daily activity with the correct focus.  It’s a trip worth taking!

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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