Over the course of the last few weeks. I have been practicing what I preach. I have been engaged with business planning for my technology company TerraProForma. Through this effort, I have been reminded that the time spent ensuring the business is on the right path is an investment, not a distraction or an expense. Since establishing TerraProForma in August of 2016, we have pivoted. Said another way, we have adapted our approach in response to the many things we have learned from our experience, advisors, partners, and current and prospective customers.
In my consulting practice, I advise clients that a business plan is a snapshot of their enterprise, expressing an understanding at a moment of time. The plan provides a framework for decision-making. Most importantly, a business plan should be a living, breathing document, not a decoration in your office. Which is why your plan should be top-of-mind as you operate, understood by your team and something you can adapt for the realities of your business as they unfold. Let’s face it, things change. Not all your assumptions are correct. New opportunities emerge and you need to have a means of evaluating them.
My recent planning efforts provided clarity. The exercise has been a good reminder of why my consulting clients sometimes find it hard to make the time to plan. When you are immersed in daily operations, planning can seem like a distraction rather than a means of improving effectiveness and generating results.
Having reviewed and updated my plan, I feel positive and in control: aware of what I know, what I need to do and where I need to learn. Making time to plan and treating that time as an operational necessity has benefits.
Advice to readers
This advice, is not abstract, it comes from my own experience as an entrepreneur and someone who has worked in public and private organizations.
Do you have a plan? Dust it off and do a check-in. Are you keeping to your plan? Why or why not? If not are your reasons really excuses? If you have diverted from plan, make the time to revise and update.
If you don't have a plan, take some time to think about:
Where you want to go;
Why you think it’s a good idea to move in that direction;
Your target audience and the problem you are solving;
The barriers to achieving your objectives;
The opportunities that can help you succeed;
How you can activate the opportunities and remove the barriers;
What resources are necessary to realize the vision?
Without a plan, businesses just react to circumstances. Being reactive is not a recipe for success.
Make planning part of your operational approach.