When I started my business 24 years ago I prepared a Business Plan for Business Gateway so I could get access to some funding and then I popped it in a drawer and didn’t look at it for years. I was busy, busy, busy working ‘in’ my business doing the work and didn’t come up for air – until I was forced to when I ran out of oxygen!
That happened five years into my business when I realised it just wasn’t working. I had no money and struggled to pay the bills. I knew I had to do something about it otherwise I would close the business as the effort just wasn’t worth the rewards – or the lack of them! So I dusted off my Business Plan.
Why did I go back to a plan that was five years old? Because I’d spent a lot of time on it and it gave me the chance to compare where I was now to where I thought I would be. It certainly gave me the kick up the bum I needed, I was way off plan and was nowhere near where I thought I would be in year three.
But it forced me into action as I knew if I continued doing the same things I would close the doors and get a job – just another business casualty. I’m so glad now that I didn’t, but I was really close to giving up.
I reassessed my goals for the business (and myself) then pulled out the key results I wanted for my business. From there I put down the important numbers to help me run my business – my performance indicators. Numbers that are relevant for me to measure on a monthly basis. These numbers have changed throughout the years as I started with the simple things I could change. Things that would make a dramatic difference to my business and then I went on to look at the longer term changes.
Once I’d done it for myself I started doing it for clients too on a one to one basis and then later on I created my mentoring groups. Everyone who’s stayed the course for two years on my mentoring groups have made a dramatic difference to their business.
I got myself a business coach too (I tried several over the years!) but never found they really helped me move my business forward. I realised that as an accountant and a coach I had many of the tools at my fingertips to help myself as well as other people. But I still have a business coach today, I’ve found one that works for me. It’s great to have an outsider’s perspective on your business and someone who will hold you accountable for getting stuff done. If you want a coach, make sure they can deliver on their promises!
Now I train other accountants in the UK how to help their clients through the same mentoring process. I’m passionate about helping small businesses all over the UK and the world become better and for the owners to get the rewards for what they do. Most small businesses do not make much money, contrary to popular belief. So if this is you, you are not alone!
I have a plan which I look at every month and assess where I am now to where I want to be in the future and look to see if I’m on track. Using the car analogy, it would be pretty scary to drive a car that doesn’t have any dials. How would you know how much fuel you’ve got in the car? Or what speed you’re going? Or whether you need to top up your oil? And what about no mirrors? What makes you think you can drive your business without having the feedback that your performance indicators give you? After all, that’s all the dials and mirrors in your car are.
As Sir John Harvey-Jones said “Planning is an unnatural process; it is much more fun to do something. And the nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression.”
Dust down that Business Plan, get your goals out and get planning!!
If you need a helping hand to plan your way out of this crisis please call 0141 889 4247 for a chat to see how we can help.
You can also join our Business Hub for FREE! Click the link to get access, https://www.businessmentoring.online/offers/PigDcZyp