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Planning is essential to the success of any business. When an organisation has a plan to follow, business owners and managers are better equipped to prepare for the future.

A business plan creates a focus for the business, creating common goals for everyone to work towards and helps business owners understand their positioning for growth.

A good plan should help to avoid unnecessary actions and therefore unnecessary expenditure and helps to minimise uncertainties as far as possible (of course there will always be uncertainty in business as in life).

So how do you do it? Here are our top tips.

Daily and weekly planning

Planning shouldn’t just be for long term goals; planning is important for everyday work and business operations.

We suggest leaving yourself an hour on the previous day to run through what’s happening the next day.

Check your diary for any appointments. Are they in person or by telephone/conference call?

If they’re in person do you have an address for the meeting place and know roughly how long it will take you to get there? Do you know where you need to park, and do you have change for the meter (just in case you can’t pay by App)?

If it’s by call are you dialling them? Do you know which number to use? If it’s a conference call, do you need to set the meeting up prior to the call and send meeting links? If it’s via Skype/Zoom, do you know have their details?

Do you need to prepare or take anything with you? E.g. marketing collateral, projects you’ve been working on, samples, presentations.

Important projects/deadlines approaching.

Check the progress. Where are you with that project? Are you on track?

If you have a team, who is responsible for what and are they where they should be?

‘What if’ planning

This is especially important if you’re a small business and don’t have much flexibility when it comes to resources.

What would happen if key players were off sick or absent for some reason? Do you have a back-up plan? Could your business continue to operate as efficiently and effectively as it does without them or would being a person down result in added pressure?

Using a Virtual Assistant is a great way to have someone on standby for those moments when you need someone right away. Hiring temps can be costly as agencies take a percentage, and in the current economy finding good temps can be difficult.

If you’re a sole trader, what happens when you want time off or if you’re sick? Do you have a right-hand man or woman ready to step in? Someone who understands your business functions and operations? Even if it’s just a case of them responding to emails on your behalf.

You also need to consider your social profiles as solo-preneur. If you are the only admin on your account, what happens if you lost access to it? (And yes, this happens more often than you think and for so many reasons). The chances of getting hold of the likes of Facebook to let you back in is pretty much non-existent. Having someone else named as an admin to your pages could be a lifesaver.

The Big Picture

Knowing your overall objective for your business will not only allow you to brain dump everything you store in your head and allow others to understand and work towards that goal, but it will also be a way to measure your progress.

Don’t just create a business plan and then leave it, use it as a tool to keep pushing forward. Yes, you will need to be flexible. As your business grows and develops, so will your ideas and wants. There will of course also be introductions to the industry and new technology that you will no doubt want to utilise in your plans. But having something in place to follow and refer back is always useful.

In that plan we also suggest writing down what it is your business stands for. What are its values and ethos? When a decision needs to be made, having these at hand will aid the decision process and guide those making the decision to uphold these.

Of course, there are so many ways in which you can effectively plan and use planning at key points in your business life. If you need help in creating and implementing your business plan, why not speak to us?

Call Emma on 07977 640119 or email emma@theumbrellatree.co.uk.