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  • Writer's picturethomasmele

Business planning starts with three simple questions (No MBA Required)

Are you 100% clear on your 2021 business goals and how you are going to achieve them?

Do you know what you need to see each quarter to make sure you are on track for success?

If your answer is NO to either of these questions, you need a business plan.

Here’s the good news.

You don’t need an MBA to create a business plan that will identify your short and long-term goals and show you the path to achieve them.

But if you’ve never written one, it can be very intimidating to even imagine putting one together. That’s why a lot of business owners don’t have an actionable business plan.

Sure, there are some great books that give you a blueprint, (and I have my favorite resource for you on this topic below.)

However, even with a blueprint, the first question most business owners ask is, “Where do I start?”

Revenue growth plan? COGS analysis? Market strategy? Operational process improvements? Team hiring and training planning? Financial modeling?

What if I told you the first step to create your business plan is to ask yourself three simple questions?

Yep, it’s that simple.

Pull out a blank sheet of paper and write out these three questions with enough blank space under each question to write five sentences.

· What should we START doing?

· What should we STOP doing?

· What should we KEEP doing?

That’s it! Try to come up with 3 – 5 items under each question.

If you have a team, make copies of your blank sheet with the questions written out and ask them to come up with 3 – 5 items under each question. Then pull everyone together and let them share their recommendations.

You will be amazed at the ideas your people have and how many of them say the same thing. Here are just a few from actual client meetings that I have collected over the years.

Things we should START

· Empowering and developing our leaders

· Developing and consistently using standard workflows

· Updating our marketing approach and materials

Things we should STOP

· Spending money on things that do not make us money

· Yelling, bickering and bullying

· Overcommitting

Things we should KEEP

· Investing in our people

· Our daily 9:00am huddle

· The family-feel of our culture

What do you think your team would say?

After completing this exercise, you will

· Have a list of top priorities your team would like to do to improve your business today

· Know where you can free up time, energy and emotional capital

· Celebrate the things that are working and commit to continuously improve them

You have taken your first step towards developing your business plan!

Want to do some reading on your own? My #1 recommendation for a DIY business planning resource is a book by Verne Harnish entitled Scaling Up.

Do you know someone that could benefit from this tip? Please share this post with them.

BTW: I am not associated with Verne Harnish; I recommend his book because its content has been helpful to my clients.

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