10 July

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Effective strategic planning in business

In my last blog – Business Plans, should you have one? I discussed the need for a business plan as a formal document, and established that in some cases it was essential and not as necessary in others. But there does always need to be some direction in your business, especially in the case of an established concern. And so often as a business owner, it’s hard to find the time and space to properly address the task of effective strategic planning in your business.

There are 4 tasks you perform in your business:

1. Important, urgent tasks
2. Unimportant, urgent tasks
3. Important, non-urgent tasks
4. Unimportant, non-urgent tasks

Urgent and non-urgent are pretty easy to categorize, it’s obvious! However, the important/unimportant area is a lot more subtle. I can hear you already saying that everything you do is important, but the truth is there are varying degrees of importance. 

Distinguishing the difference between important and less or unimportant tasks lies fairly and squarely in what you want out of your business.

When you can clearly articulate what it is you want, it will become very easy to classify tasks that are most important – they will be the ones that lead to the ultimate aim of your business; the “What am I here for…?” I like to call it. But here’s the real conundrum: in almost all cases working on strategic planning in business is an important task but we rarely set it as an urgent task – we find ourselves too swamped in the day-to-day activities of running a business to ever dedicate the time to it. 

Somehow we need to find the time and space to spend ON the business. It needs some urgency applied to it. This takes discipline which is often hard to find when the urgency of day-to-day tasks consume much of your waking time.

A set time allocated to strategic planning, once a week, fortnight or even once a month is a positive habit which should be practiced. It could be a couple of hours, a morning or an afternoon, but it needs to be diarised and treated as important. For many business owners this can be a challenge as day-to-day tasks get in the way.

If this is the situation you find yourself in, where the discipline of spending time working on strategic planning doesn’t seem to hold, then you need an outside influence to keep you accountable. This is where Bartercard can be instrumental in your success. There are plenty of business consultants and business coaches in the Bartercard network who can help get you on track and stay on track. 

A regular meeting with an impartial specialist can assist you with taking the time to look at your business, and discuss your vision as well as provide you with the discipline of regular strategic planning. 

But, there is a big word of warning here. You really do have to want to do it! It’s a pointless exercise engaging an outsider to help you with your business if you continually postpone the meetings or aren’t willing to work with them.

Another piece of advice – do not get someone else to write a business plan for you – it needs to be your vision and you need to have invested your thoughts and passion for your business into it. Otherwise, just like many other reports it will find its way to the bottom drawer in no time at all. It is recommended that you use a consultant or coach to guide you through a process and set you tasks to complete by the next meeting, then ensure you complete them, if for no other reason than because someone is expecting you do it. 

In the next blog I will take a closer look at the Bartercard resources that are available in assisting to build and execute your strategic business plan. It’s not just about conserving cash through trading, Bartercard has a vested interest in assisting you to build a bigger and better business.

Gary Jaffer – Bartercard member
Founder & Principal Consultant
equilibrium9
+61 407 530 953
gary.jaffer@equilibrium9.com.au
www.equilibrium9.com.au

Gary coaches, mentors and provides business counsel to individuals and businesses throughout Australia. He is an accomplished facilitator and engaging speaker.