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Most of the business owners I meet went into business seeking freedom, a better lifestyle, more money or simply because they love to run the show. Financial acumen is rarely at the top of their skill set and many have even said they simply aren’t that interested as long as it works! So it is only to be expected that mistakes are made which can jeopardize their dreams.

So what is the number one mistake at the top of the list?

 

Planning

I know, I know, we’ve all heard it before!

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” it makes sense, it’s logical but how many of us wait until we’ve failed first and then prepare a plan to dig ourselves out of a hole? Or how many of us drift along hoping for the best, to realize a year later we are no further forward than before? Or how many of us don’t commit to decisions, because we just don’t know if we can afford it? Or those of us who what to sell our business but we don’t have time to plan to increase its value, so we never get closer to a sale?

Too many of us!

To be honest, the term “business plan” brings up images of a thick, heavy, wordy document and lots of numbers on spreadsheets.


YAWN

I get it, it’s not the most appealing use of time but it doesn’t have to be that way.

There is a commonly held misapprehension that business plans are only needed to raise finance with the banks or to extend an overdraft limit. However, they really should be so much more than that. Think about it – the reason they like them is that they give the bank confidence that the business is under control, the owner has a plan for how to safeguard their investment and has clear goals for how to grow. As a self-confessed control freak I must say, I like that sound of that.

So, don’t you as CEO want that sense of control and clarity too?

Of course you do.

When considering a house extension, can you image asking for a loan or picking a builder without a quotation? Digging foundations without knowing how big you want it, what style and how the family will cope during the disruption? Of course not. We plan for these events as a matter of course and planning for the future growth for your business is arguably more important.

Now, the beauty of any planning process is that you get to indulge your aspirations; unload all those exciting ideas and then review the opportunity and risks BEFORE you are impacted by them.

 

“A Business Plan is a balance of ambitious aspirations tempered with a hard-nosed reality check.”

 

A business plan lays out what your business aspires to look like in the future, the actions to take to achieve the goals, without risking the entire enterprise, its net worth and your pension pot!

This doesn’t have to be hard, complicated or intimidating.

It can be as simple as taking these 3 steps:

1. Declutter
Identify your business and personal goals and bring together into one place.
2. Back to the future
Frame the future and publish the present. Developing action plans to bridge the gap.
3. Developing CEO stamina
Business is a marathon, so follow through and make it happen with your new found focus.

It sounds so simple yet why is it still the number 1 financial mistake most business make? And perhaps even worse than not developing a plan, is those who have a plan but don’t follow through.

What is stopping you? What is getting in your way?

I don’t have time
I don’t have all the answers
I don’t like writing documents
I don’t have a crystal ball
I don’t want to plan I like the flexibility

For you it may be one of these reasons or it may be another. The one thing all of the above have in common is the fear of the unknown or the fear to commit.

I get it, it is so much easier to let yourself off the hook if you DON’T make the commitment.

I know, I have been there.

For most business owners I meet there is a resistance to commit.

How can you fail when you don’t actually put a stake in the ground to declare where you’re going!

And it’s precisely these things I can help you navigate, direct and master.

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