Taking stock of business goals and how to successfully achieve them are critical.

When you go on a trip do you just hop in the car with no idea of a destination and no navigation tools? Of course not, but in many business, owners don’t have a map for their company. Most think planning is essential to success but have little time or energy to develop a financial budget that then isn’t believed and won’t be used.

The point is: a budget is only the financial consequence of actions you’ve identified you are going to take to get something different from what you have now. The budget isn’t the plan at all – the plan is the actions you need to take to get somewhere.

Follow these steps for an effective and valuable planning process:

TAKE STOCK:

Take a simple snapshot of where your business is now, and trends over the last 9-12 months. Think about what you’ve been doing differently over the period that has affected the trends in sales and profits. Look at the numbers/types of clients you sell to, what you sell, where you sell and how you’ve won new clients. Look at what you’ve changed.

  1. DREAM:

Think where you want the business to go to – bigger? Smaller? Same? Allow yourself to dream – create a vision in your mind of what you want the journey of your business to be over the coming years.

  1. CREATE:

Flesh out the picture – how many customers? Products? Average revenue? Client retention? Staff numbers? Premises? Don’t restrict yourself, just create your future business in your mind. Capture key numbers – compare your performance now against your future numbers and identify the “gap” between them.

  1. ACTION PLAN:

Brainstorm actions you could take to change your key numbers – have a mindset that says anything is possible rather than “I can’t do this because.” Prioritise actions, those that are most important or will get the biggest improvement, set times against them.

  1. NUMBERS:

Now let the numbers “fall out” of the action plan – get help on the financials if this isn’t your bag or you don’t have the time. Do some sensitivity testing (what if?)

  1. EXECUTE:

Get on with it! Focus on the next 12 months and give yourself 5 top priorities, more than that and nothing gets done properly. Get your team working with you – share your vision and share the action plan.

  1. MEASURE & ADAPT:

Action commitments against delivery and measure financial performance against plan every month – take adjusting action as needed and keep focussed.

Good luck! And don’t let the accountants tell you a plan is all about numbers… numbers are only the consequence of the action plan.

Our team can help you create a clear action plan for your business. For more information please email hello@yourrighthand.co.uk or call 01252 820002 and speak to Jennifer Raines, Tim Johnson or Trudy Murphy. We’re always happy to help and offer a free two-hour initial review to help you understand how to make valuable changes to support your business.