Do what you gotta do
If Jim Webb had had you in mind when he penned this classic he’d have added “… but make sure you write it down first.”
Every business should prepare a written business plan and review progress against its objectives on a regular basis. But too many businesses fail to do that. Even more frustratingly, some people put huge amounts of effort into preparing ‘The Plan’ before the business is started… and then just leave it sitting in a drawer gathering dust!
A better expedient is to write a simple, more practical plan with short term objectives, and then to review progress against that – ideally with an independent mentor (see section 8 ‘The view from the outside’) every month or quarter.
Your plan should be brief, factual and objective. It will be best if it can be kept to just one side of A4 paper. So we call it the “One-Page Plan.” It should include the few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that enable you to measure performance, and a measure of the few ‘drivers’ that you identify as being critical to improving that performance.
Such a ‘One-Page Plan’ can be a powerful tool to make sure you:
- Write down your key objectives.
- Set out three or more practical steps to help achieve those each month (the ‘drivers’).
- Measure how you are delivering the drivers.
- Review the KPIs to ensure that the system is working.
- Critically review the drivers in light of the performance to see whether those are the right things to be doing.
- Update the plan regularly to make sure that you continue to concentrate on what’s important.
Since introducing the “One-Page Plan” into my own business, our performance has improved both demonstrably and dramatically. Why don’t you sit down now and build yourself a simple One-Page plan?
“Every business should prepare a written business plan and review progress against its objectives on a regular basis.”