Hi Aunty B,
We are a SME that has been around doing the same things on an ad hoc basis for 16 years. We continue to bumble along struggling to pay salaries, let alone distribute profit to the boss, on a monthly basis.
It is a nice friendly place to work.
We don’t have a business plan, we hardly even have a vision! My boss keeps saying to me “I don’t know anyone who follows their business plan, so what is the point?” How can I get him to see there is a need? Is there a need?
There are two problems if you have no plan. You have no targets and you cannot see your future. Both threaten the business. The problem your boss has is he or she equates planning with a formal document required by banks or some accountants that then sits in a drawer.
Forget that, unless you need a loan from a bank.
There are far better ways to plan that are a lot more fun for an entrepreneur and are not rocket science.
First you need to hold an offsite strategy session with key employees and some external mentors to discuss your value proposition going forward. What’s working, what isn’t. What do you really offer your customers, how are their industries changing, how your customer’s customers are changing.
You also need to look at new solutions to the problems your customers are facing and think about innovative products and services you can create. You need to look at threats to the business as well. And you need to set targets that are achievable but stretch you. (See yesterday’s Aunty B).
You need to write up that plan into a new strategy document and action the decisions made. Make people accountable for carrying out the actions and give them deadlines.
That becomes your plan. And it’s not that hard or boring is it? For some more ideas, see this blog from the Boss Lady last week.
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However, the problem you face is a different one. I am sure that if you present this to your boss, he or she may well say that planning is done on the run – the answer that many business owners give.
The second problem you face – but you don’t know it – is you are going to leave your job soon.
You have outgrown your place of work and need a more challenging environment. After all, most small businesses are nice, friendly places to work. Often a person in your position will set up his own business as you can see what needs to be done and how things need to change.
So Tom, while you are looking at the future of your company, look to your own future as well.
Your Aunty B
Recent Aunty Bs:
How do I set revenue targets?
Should we heavily discount our new product?
Should I charge for my online service?
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