Welcome to a series of articles all about business growth. Over the last year or so we have all been focused on Covid-19 and the challenges to be faced over the years ahead. It has not been a particularly happy time for many. While some businesses have had to close or reduce staff, many have kept going and there are new ones starting most weeks.
This series is all about the future and the optimism that comes with growth. Let us remember that starting and growing a business is as much about the innovation, drive and determination of the people who do it as it is about the products or services they sell.
Last week I looked at the need to be well organised – today I focus on the need to be dynamic and active and geared towards growth. A business plan written 12 months ago is unlikely to be of any use as you move forward on a new path. And of course, you will still need to plan for the unexpected – to be as resilient as you can be.
Plans are nothing; planning is everything. One hour of planning can save you ten hours of doing. There is no doubt that proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance. If you are going to grow your business you need to be the best planner you can possibly be and try to surround yourself with others who are also good at planning. A plan is merely the end product of good, effective planning.
Your business growth will not happen by accident. It will need careful and thoughtful planning on a daily basis. You will never be able to steer your business through any major crises unless your planning is strong and dynamic NOW.
Reactive planners often make hasty and wrong decisions because they simply react whenever an event occurs that requires action. Proactive planners think ahead, and they consider the past, the present and the future. They are dynamic and able to adapt in order to promote growth within their businesses.
To develop your planning skills, focus on the following few steps:
Engage with others – involve other people who are affected by your plans and seek their opinions.
Get help and advice from a business coach or mentor. Get someone who is prepared to deliver tough love when it is needed!
Make sure your plan is accessible to everyone affected by it and review it with them weekly – make changes as you go along. Actively seek feedback on the success of your plans.
As a dynamic process, your planning will involve changes in direction and sometimes backtracking before moving forward in a slightly different way. Before you make major changes get the view from an outsider, from someone who is not emotionally involved with you or your business. Check out the reasons for making the change – are they driven by business growth or by something else.
Set yourselves small goals along the way and celebrate the achievement of each one! This will motivate you, and those around you, to keep pushing on, especially when the going is very tough.
Remember that the business growth journey is tough for everyone, especially at this time. Try not to be too hard on yourself! All journeys will face challenges and setbacks – be determined to find a way around, through, under or over them!
If you feel like giving up, try to talk to others who have been or who are on a similar journey. Everyone wants to give up at some point – it does not make you a bad or weak person. Reconnect with your passion and your vision – with the reason why you are on this journey in the first place. Remind yourself of how far you have come and what you have achieved so far. Imagine how you will feel when you reach your destination!
Goals are just dreams with a date. Keep your focus on the dream and set yourself small steps to make the journey more manageable.
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You are on your own. And you know what you know. YOU are the person who’ll decide where to go. From, Oh, The Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss
Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.
I look forward to hearing your experiences about being dynamic, proactive and growth focused.
Next week is the last in this series where I review the steps for growing an effective business. As always, please contact me if you have an interesting story to tell and are happy for it to be told.
Breadfruit Consulting (www.breadfruitconsulting.com) is a Vanuatu-based business providing advice, training, coaching, and mentoring to businesses throughout the Pacific islands. Breadfruit specialises in a range of business development activities including ‘business continuity planning and action’, helping businesses to survive in a crisis, designing and starting new, sustainable businesses. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Founding partner at Breadfruit Consulting.