Prevention is better than cure

With the New Year fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about next year's plans and aspirations.

Many businesses put a great plan together when:

  • They start up
  • They need finance
  • They need an investor

The most successful businesses do all of the above – but it’s a live and current document that they review and update regularly – as a pro-active and positive part of managing the business. It’s best used to:

  • Re-affirm your vision for the business – in line with economic, market and technology changes
  • Set out what you want to achieve in the next 12 months (and beyond if you wish)
  • Agree action plans to turn the “What’s” into “How’s” – and “Who” is doing it
  • Think ahead – brainstorm contingency plans to cover vulnerabilities, obstacles, threats etc. This is a great way of avoiding the “OSINTOT Syndrome” (oh sugar, I never thought of that”)
  • Set out your budgets with quarterly reviews
  • Assess what financial support you will need – and where to get it.

Sounds simple, but making time to do it is generally the hardest challenge. Believe me, it’s the best day's work you and your team could do and reminds me of “the wood cutters story”.

Imagine a wood cutter with his saw, slowly working his way through the forest, relentlessly cutting trees down without a break; totally focussed on the job in hand. At the start of the week, his saw is sharp, his energy high and his motivation is strong. As the saw goes blunt, the work is harder, the energy is sapped and the motivation drains. The focus is on the job of cutting down the tree rather than the bigger task of clearing the forest.

Imagine the same wood cutter with the same saw. This time he stops regularly to sharpen the saw and review his progress. He is proud of what he’s achieved and looks forward to what still needs to be done with the motivation, skills and tools to do it. And he’s actually looking forward to next week!

Think of your business plan as your chance to “sharpen your saw”. Good luck!

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