Thursday, 26 May 2016

A simple guide for business planning- Ade Olabode

As we all know ‘He who fails to plan, plans to fail’. This might sound simple, but it can make a great difference in the life of a business. The ability to clearly define what needs to be done, over a specific timescale, can be a powerful factor of success.


So why is planning so under-rated? I’ve witnessed small business owners say things like: ‘I don’t have time for planning….I’m all about action’ or simply ‘plans don’t work’.

So yes, it’s reasonable to assume, a lot of business owners don’t realise the importance of having formal plans. Why do we have this attitude towards planning? In my experience of working with small business owners over the years, I believe it’s because it’s not clear that it delivers any value. People don’t see that this could be the difference between profit and bankruptcy of a business.

Did you say ‘in what way’? Well, let me share 3 key advantages of having a formal plan in place:

Provides clarity on your business goals

Having a plan helps you prioritise what’s important to you. The truth is there’s no shortage of projects, proposals, tasks etc vying for the attention of a business owner at any point in time. That’s why it becomes super critical to have a plan, as this invariably helps you to focus on what’s important to you and your business.

Helps your business to grow

Believe it or not, most business don’t grow because they don’t have any plans to do so. In Fairy land, business growth just happens. In the real world, you need to be deliberate and work towards your goals. That’s what a plan helps you to do.

Aligns your entire team around your mission

So now you have a plan, it’s time to let you team know about it. And yes I understand the Nigeria factor, where we might perhaps be not so trusting of others. However imagine your business is a boat in which you’re the only one who knows your final destination? It won’t sail very far! But of course, you don’t want that. Which means sharing your plan with the rest of your team ensures you’re all on the same page working towards a common goal.

Ok, so you get it. Planning is important. But you might ask; what are the simple but effective techniques that I can use today? Here’s a step-by-step guide you can follow. However, what you really need is my simple no-excuses guide which is as follows:

Write a list of goals you want to achieve in 90 days (Tip: It helps to stretch a timeline in the near future e.g. 90 days which also gives you the right balance to get things done).

List the resources, tasks and dependencies needed to achieve above (Useful as this should highlight any potential roadblocks as well).

Break down the plans into milestones (This is a key step which allows you work towards your ‘goals’ in a pre-determined manner).

Review progress at the end of ‘milestones’ (adjust as needed based on relevant information).

Repeat from step 1 (as needed).

So there you have it folks. A short but concise way you can implement planning to drive your business to the next level. What are you waiting for? And if you’ve got any examples or tips on how to approach planning, please share in comments below.



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