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Are your pesky customers getting in the way of you doing business planning?


August 11, 2020 / fbcadmin

Kerrie Sheaves
Foundational Business Consulting

business planning

Are your pesky customers getting in the way of your strategic business planning?

It is a common problem; small business owners are just too busy doing business, to do any business planning.

We prioritize customer billable work and selling our widgets over working on the business – even if that customer work is possibly not profitable or enjoyable.

We avoid business planning – because it is not our natural skill and doing the work seems easier.

Why do we avoid business planning? One of the reasons why we avoid strategic planning is that in general we have an inaccurate understanding of what we think we will need to do, and how much time it will take away from the business to work on the business.

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in ten years” – Bill Gates

We also don’t really know where to start and get overwhelmed just thinking about what we need to be thinking about!

Here’s some quick tips to help you begin your planning.

We avoid business planning – because we think we don’t have time to do it.

The truth is you’re probably not going to get big slabs of time each week to think and plan in one go. Sometimes we can take a few days to retreat or attend a planning day. However, my experience of working with hundreds of small business owners over the years has confirmed that taking a few days off to plan is a rare event. And that it’s not enough to keep you on track everyday.

Given how quickly the world and business environments change doing one planning day every year or so probably won’t do much to help you in the day to day to stay focused and heading in the right direction.

If you can take a day out of your business once a quarter to do a dedicated goal planning day, you should definitely make that happen. It can really help you to breakdown the big hairy goals for the year into realistic and achievable mini goals for each quarter, which makes the task less overwhelming.

“If one does not know to which port he’s sailing, no wind is favorable” – Seneca


We avoid business planning – because we are afraid we’ll discover that we’re on the wrong track.

What happens if I do sit down and review and plan out my business, and it means I need to make major changes to be profitable and happy?

It could mean some hard choices have to made, we might have to rebrand, change our offerings, fire some customers, stretch ourselves in ways we have never done before.

Change is scary. And a great way to avoid change is to just keep doing what you are doing even if it’s getting you nowhere or working unnecessarily harder than you need to.

“We don’t have to be smarter than the rest; we just have to be more disciplined than the rest” – Warren Buffett


Should you take time out of your business to do deep thinking, research, and planning?

Yes, but that time might look like micro-planning sessions, of an hour here and an hour there, all leading into a bigger planning process over a quarter for example, rather than full days out of your business.

Think about your planning time in bit size chunks, chip away at it. Get some help to structure that strategy and planning and then eat the elephant piece by piece.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey


Your direction is more important than your speed

Planning takes a lot of energy – every time you begin working on an aspect of your business plan, you will discover a hundred things you did not know and don’t know how to do.

To be able to make strategic decisions you need to know enough about everything.

But that doesn’t mean you have to be the expert that does those things. This process allows you to identify the things you need to know how to do, and the things you’ll need to outsource to get done.

“Master your strengths – outsource your weaknesses” – Ryan Kahn

It’s time to stop using those pesky customers and their needs as the excuse for why you haven’t allocated enough time to move your business forward 2020.

Start by being clear about your goals for 2020, and what you want your business to be in the marketplace.

Then get organized, start taking ownership your time, and do work on your business plan each day and each week as micro tasks you fit in between customer work.

“You will never find time for anything. If you want the time you must make it.” – Charles Buxton


Need help to get the process started – book a planning session with our Strategic Business Consultants today

Call us to find out more today!


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