The best laid plans

Where would a business end up if it didn’t have a plan? More than 50% of businesses cease trading before they reach their 3rd anniversary. And it’s reasonable to assume that the ones which fail quickly either didn’t have a plan, or didn’t follow one.

It’s unfortunate that most early stage businesses are working without a plan, or with a plan which is inside the head of the founder. Only 5% of UK businesses have ever committed their plan to writing, and they are the ones that are most likely to succeed.

So, if you want to elevate your business into the top 5% of UK businesses, then all you need to do is write down your plan!

On paper or in a digital document, but write it down. And then revisit it regularly. Your business plan should set out how you’re going to keep moving things in the right direction, and hence part of your plan will be how “the plan” forms an important element in the process.

Nobody writes a business plan to fail: “securing orders in our first year will be tough – and we’ll be living hand to mouth – the second year will start like the first – and then it’ll go downhill rapidly – leading to a really bad year 3 where we won’t be able to pay our creditors and the business will cease abruptly”!

Quite the reverse really. Everybody writes a plan (meaning the ones who actually write it down) which says – struggle in year 1 – then get better in year 2 – then really take off in year 3! So, if you really want to succeed in business, all you need to do is follow your own plan. The one you wrote down. The one which says things will always be getting better.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? Then why is it so hard to persuade people to write down a plan? As any business coach will tell you “implementation is everything”. That’s what business coaches do – write their own plans – implement their own plans – whilst using various techniques to try to guide, motivate, incentivise, cajole and persuade their clients to do exactly the same. Write it! Implement it!

If your business needs a bit of a boost, then take this advice, plan the work and work the plan. But you must get it down in writing!