Monthly Archives: October 2013

Small Business Planning Involves Setting and Achieving Goals

 

I was talking to Peter one of our clients recently and he told me that one of the best thing about his small business is that he is Small Business Planninghappy with his business. He has operated his small business for many years and as I reflected on his statement I realized that so many small business owners across the world cannot make the statement that Peter made.

When we take a step back and look at our life most of us realize how quickly our life is passing before our very eyes. The hours flow into days, the days flow into weeks, the weeks flow into months and the months flow into years. Before we know it our life is all over.

If you find yourself operating a small business that is frustrating, aggravating and disconcerting, unfortunately you were spending you the only lifetime that you have in less than happy situation. For many people their business is a hassle and source of stress in their life. They feel like they are going nowhere fast. On Sunday evening they dread going to work on Monday morning, because they know that they will face the same problems, challenges and undesirable situations that they have faced in the past. They feel that this next week will be the same as every frustrating week before and they have no real hope that the future will be any different than the past.

Therefore, since life is short; it is desirable to operate your small business in such a way that makes you happy. Obviously the objective and goal is to create a small business that makes you happy and you enjoy operating.

So how do you create a small business will make you happy? First of all, no one can really make you happy. You can choose to be unhappy even in a tropical paradise; so an element in having a business that you enjoy is actually choosing to be happy with your small business, but that will be a topic in a future blog.

If each of us had our druthers we would magically just create a business that we would love to operate. However, the last time I checked there was a shortage of magic wands around. Alternatively, following the grass is always greener on the other hill approach; we could choose to operate someone else’s business that we think would make us happy. But that would require us to buy their small business and who knows, the business may not turn out not to be the “walk in the park” that it appears to be from the outside. Furthermore, once the business would be ours we might take a happy business situation and turn it into an unhappy situation. Therefore the next most viable option is to create a business that you “love”.

While there are many, many aspects to creating a small business that is enjoyable to operate, in working with business owners over the past 25 years I have found that there are six the key elements that are present in most situations in which business owners are happy with their small business. I will tackle the first element in this blog and remaining elements in future blogs. For related small business planning  keys for your business see Small Business Planning Steps for Growing Your Business and The Payoffs and Payback of Small Business Planning.

Small business planning involves setting and achieving goals for your business

Small Business PlanningMany studies have been done which show that the most fulfilled and happy people are ones that set specific goals in their lives. In working with over 1,200 businesses I have seen that setting goals and then achieving those goals is a very, very fulfilling experience. However just having a bunch of goals that are not connected to each other in a cohesive way will lead to a situation in which most people will sooner or later say “Why am I doing this?” and “In the long run does achieving these goals really matter?”

However, if these goals are specific, concrete, detailed, and connected to an overall purpose for your business these goals will guide you into a “Vision” for your business. Your Vision for your business is the “destination” where you want to take your business. It is the end purpose for your business. Having a compelling Vision for your small business and then achieving that Vision is the most important factor in determining your business’ is destiny and your happiness with your business.

Time sequenced goals for your small business become mile markers on your road to having a successful business that is a pleasure to operate. This means that having goals which are tied to your overall Vision for your business and then making progress towards that Vision is the first key element to being happy with your small business.

Therefore, whether you are currently happy with your business and you want to increase your happiness or you were not pleased with your small business, take a step back and ask yourself; do I have a consuming Vision, a destination, a direction of where I want to take my business and have I identified time sequenced goals to ensure that I am on the correct road to Vision? In providing small business planning services I have found that once you have this compelling Vision for your business and you lay out the proper goals to achieve this Vision you will see the enjoyment, satisfaction and happiness with your small business increase.

 

The Payoffs and Payback of Small Business Planning

Small Business Planning

From an overall standpoint the top reward for engaging in planning for your small business is that you are able to operate your business as a fully systematized factory versus a fruit-stand business. The specifics of this are that you:

1. Reach more customers

2. Generate greater revenue

3. Serve your customers better because your “products” enable your customers to reach their goals in a better way

4. Move from working in to working on your business

5. Provide a more comprehensive solution to your customer because of your additional products

6. Get off the business teeter-totter

7. Create a business that has a value if you choose to sell it

8. Have a business that is a joy to operate and a delight for your customers

Specific Benefits of Small Business Planning

Let’s examine each of the above benefits in more detail:

Reach more customers

Because your business will be more than just you and perhaps some helpers assisting you, you will be able to reach more customers as a result of being an “economic factory” as compared to being more like a “fruit stand”.

Generate greater revenue

As a result of having more customers and additional products, you will generate a greater amount of revenue for your business. The increased income is obtained because just as we discussed in Avoid Tyranny of the Urgent with Small Business Planning, a systematic approach to operating a business enables you to take your business to the next level.

Serve your customers better because your “products” enable your customers to reach their goals in a more thorough way

As a consequence of designing, engineering, and perfecting your products and their delivery, your customers will be able to achieve the goals for which they purchased your product in a better, easier and more appealing fashion.

Move from working in to working on your businessSmall Business Planning

When you move from a fruit-stand model to a factory model you will no longer feel like you are only a “cog” in your business, but you will be able to oversee your business’ operations and ensure that your business is operating correctly.

Provide a more comprehensive solution to your customer because of your additional products

As a result of understanding your customer, their needs and the goals for which they purchased your product, you will be able to create additional products in order to satisfy your customers needs better. Because of these additional products that are optimize for their benefit, your customer will be able to achieve more of their goals and attain them in a better way. With regards to their goals, enabling your customer to achieve their goals in a more comprehensive fashion is definitely an objective worth pursuing.

Get off the business teeter-totter

As we discussed in Branding – The Fourth Step of Small Business Planning, being on the Marketing & Sales/Production teeter-totter is a very frustrating experience. Being able to move to a more consistent process of obtaining sales and then fulfilling those sales commitments is highly desirable and will allow you to get away from the emotional roller coaster of a teeter-totter type business.

Create a business that has a value if you choose to sell it

As we saw in Small Business Planning Steps for Growing Your Business when you have a fruit-stand business you may not be able to sell that business at all, as compared to an “economic factory” type business where a buyer will gladly pay for that business because they can observe that the factors of production are present and the business is not overly dependent on you as a business owner.

Have a business that is a joy to operate and a delight for your customers

Small Business PlanningBecause life is short and each of us only has one life to live it is incumbent to create a business that is fun and enjoyable to operate. A business that is a pleasure to operate and one that enables your customers to reach their goals in life becomes both a delight to you and your customers. I will discuss this concept greater in a future blog.

So start today with the small business planning that will provide you with the proper systems, products, and brand identity which will move you from the “endless fatigue of an exhausting fruit stand” to the “enduring freedom of an economic factory”.