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If you want to get somewhere, use a map. The highly regarded author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen R. Covey, said this about maps: “Suppose you wanted to arrive at a specific location in Central Chicago, but suppose you were given the wrong map. Through a printing error, the map labeled “Chicago” was actually a map of Detroit. Can you imagine the frustration, the ineffectiveness of trying to reach your destination? You could try harder…double your speed. But your efforts would only succeed in getting you to the wrong place faster. You’d still be lost.”

A business strategic plan is the map that will get you to the correct desired destination…reaching your business goals.

Do I Need a Business Plan?

The direct answer is yes. Every organization, large and small needs a map. A business strategic plan provides the direction and the progress markers for your journey. A plan helps every business work smarter and more efficiently. It is not something that should be cumbersome, overly time-consuming or complex. But it should be done and then kept “alive” instead of resting on a shelf or hiding in a file drawer.

Here are 5 ways to approach business planning to better ensure your business success.

1. Make planning a real process, not an afterthought.

Take the time to make a sincere dedicated effort to this important work.

2. Involve your key team members.

They are “in the trenches” and know the business so they will have valuable perspectives. With their input, you will get buy-in toward the results and they will work harder to achieve the goals that you develop together.

3. Take a “hard look” at your business.

What key things do you really want and need to accomplish? What do you do well? What are your weaknesses? How well do you operate today?

4. Quantify your goals.

They should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. That makes them SMART goals. Review progress regularly. Report progress to your team in a way that they will feel accountable for progress.

5. Keep your planning flexible.

Make this a “living” plan that you periodically review and update.

Do not only establish goals and metrics to achieve them,  but also provide the operational or executional steps to get there. Then, your business execution is properly aligned with your goals.

Some fine points:  

  • Do make the plan for yourself and your team. It is not a showpiece for outsiders.
  • Don’t seek perfection. Rather, seek realism and usefulness.
  • Don’t make the plan a laundry list of tasks that need to be accomplished. Keep it focused on the primary goals that will ensure your business success.

Take Advantage of Professional Help

Contact the professionals at Busch CPA in Palos Park, IL, serving Chicagoland. They are forward-thinking advisors for today’s entrepreneurs and provide superb accounting, finance and tax management services.