Do you hear the familiar sound of overwhelm that is a constant companion to entrepreneurs? It swirls around creating this horrible gulping noise as it drains growth out of our business. And, as one of my smart, gifted clients so aptly pointed out, a swirl always goes down – never up.
Swirling happens when entrepreneurs grow and run their business – randomly. With no clear goal or plan in place, priceless resources get whirled down the drain. Sound familiar? Want to stop the swirl?
An ongoing business planning process actually helps you plan for your business growth – rather than hope for business growth. Here are 5 steps to a monthly planning process for business growth including discovery questions to lead you to some vital conclusions:
1. Goal. The best place to start is to know your goal. Ask this simple question:
- What is/are my goal(s) for the month?
If you’re uncertain or lost focus of your goal, the Goal Workbook is an important resource. Be sure to align your monthly goal with your larger strategic business goals.
2. Resources. Make sure you have the time, money, people, knowledge, & skill set to make your goals a reality. Ask yourself:
- What resources are at my disposal this month to budget toward my goals?
3. Commitment. Like most entrepreneurs, you likely make commitments months in advance. Be sure to take these into consideration when planning for business growth. To ensure the necessary resources to honor previous and current commitments, these are questions to raise:
- What promises have been made for this month?
- What resources need to be allocated to these obligations?
- What commitments no longer align with my goals and need to be renegotiated?
4. Plan. You’ve heard it said, “People don’t plan to fail. They fail to plan”. Planning for business growth is essential for your business. These questions unearth the strategic actions needed to achieve your goals.
- What actionable items make my goal a reality?
- What resources are needed to implement my plan?
- Are there sufficient resources to put my plan in operation? If not, what needs to be adjusted and/or scaled to align my resources with my plan and goals?
- What plan ensures goal achievement this month?
5. Challenges. No business is without its occasional problem. And, who would think to include challenges or difficulties into your business growth planning? You would! When integrated with business growth planning, their impact on your business is reduced. Use these questions to uncover potential “flies gumming up the works” .
- What challenges do I anticipate?
- What can possibly go wrong?
- What can be done to minimize their occurrence and/or impact on my goals?
An active, ongoing business planning process is essential to stay focused on your goals in this “distraction economy”. Monthly planning for business growth guarantees your business continues to move forward. Make it a regular event in your calendar knowing this is a critical piece of your ongoing business planning process.
Planning – like focus – is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets.