Many small business owners do not engage in any real, substantive planning activities, even though planning will do more to move the business forward than anything else they can do. This is often because:
a) they are so busy putting out the fires of today that they don’t have time to worry about tomorrow, or
b) they believe it is a waste of time to produce a plan document that will sit on a shelf collecting dust and never play a meaningful role in the management of the business.
The most successful business people find time for planning despite the daily fires that need to be put out, and these leaders insist that the results of the planning regimen become an essential tool for making decisions and managing the business. It’s not an either/or proposition. It’s both. We’re going to put out today’s fires and execute a plan for tomorrow.
The planning process need not, should not, be a complex, onerous task. It’s a simple activity that defines where we want to go as a company, where we are now, the steps needed to get us where we want to go, and a timeline for accomplishing those steps. That’s it.
If your company does not do any serious planning, start now. If you need help with your planning process, go get it. Your business will travel down a path of some kind. The only question is, will your business travel down a path toward the destination you have chosen for it? Or will it go down a path random circumstances have imposed upon it and lead to . . . where? The answer should be obvious.