I have a question for you. In a perfect world, what would your business be like? Seriously, if everything were going just as it should, what would your small business be like? What would your sales be, how many employees, your profit margin, your markets, services or products? Guess what? With a business plan, and regular planning sessions, your business could be exactly what you want it to be.
There is a quote by Malcolm X that is pretty powerful;
“Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”
Now, before you completely dismiss the notion because of who I am quoting, stop and think about the quote again. Earl Nightingale stated that “you become what you think about,” which is more or less the same thing.
So how does this apply to your small business and business planning? Simple. By thinking and planning about what the business will look like, you are more likely to make that vision a reality. But you have to be sure to come up with a realistic and achievable vision.
How should you go about setting the vision for the business? You should start with a realistic time frame. For some businesses, everything outside 6 months is an eternity, and for others, everything before 2 years is meaningless. So set a time frame that is reasonable for you business.
Let’s say that your time frame is 2 years. Your vision statement could start out with:
“Within the next 2 years, grow (Your company) to…”
By crafting a vision with a definitive time goal, you make it measurable, and measured goals are more likely to be achieved.
Next set another goal for your business that is also achievable. For our purposes now, we are going to use revenues, but you can use the primary thing you follow for your business or organization, such as number of employees, billable hours, or number of patients for example.
So continuing with our vision statement above:
“Within the next 2 years, grow (Your company) to $250,000.00 in sales…”
So now we have a vision that is tied to a realistic deadline, and also tied to a measurable that is easily identifiable, sales.
Now, start to create a clearer vision of exactly who your business serves, and what you offer. This will help you identify the target market(s) and what you will be selling or providing. For our illustration, we will say that we are a computer repair and networking group:
“Within the next 2 years, grow (Your company) to $250,000.00 in sales providing computer repair and networking services to small and mid-market companies (or even more specific – to companies with 5-100 computers on site) in…”
So now, the planning process for your business has allowed you to paint a very clear picture about what you will be doing, where you want the business be in terms of revenues (or other goals), and when you want to be there!
Next, define where you want to be doing business. Again, be realistic in your vision as to where you will do business. This is probably the easiest part for some, but not for others.
“Within the next 2 years, grow (Your company) to $250,000.00 in sales providing computer repair and networking services to small and mid-market companies in the metro Denver area.”
Look at the vision statement above. Pretty clear isn’t it? When it comes to writing a plan for your business, it is often best to start simple. By consistently spending some time planning for your business, and starting with a simple vision statement as part of your plan, it will be much easier to make your vision a reality.
So, what should you do next? Create a vision statement for your business. Take a few minutes now, and begin planning for what it will look like tomorrow. Small business planning is how you can plan today for what your business will look like tomorrow.