I love to make plans! Somewhere in my young life I must have heard the old adage “people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan” because that’s how I tended to live my life. Now, I can plan weddings and parties and stuff like that but I don’t particularly enjoy it. No, I like to make plans to reach goals and achieve things. In fact, by the time I turned 17 I had already planned out my entire life. First, I would I would get a Marketing degree from Norfolk State College with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. Then, I would marry a pre-law or pre-med student and have a couple of kids. Finally, I would open a chain of boutiques called Adrienne’s.
It’s funny how things can change. By the end of the first semester of college I realized that I hated Marketing, so I changed my major to Accounting. I mean, who doesn’t like money? Also, Norfolk State didn’t offer a Fashion Merchandizing degree so that was poor planning on my part. And that marriage thing? I fell in love with a guy who went into the Air Force. We do, however, have two amazing sons. Even though things didn’t work out according to my plans, I learned three truths about successful planning.
Planning Truth #1- Define success for yourself
I meet with entrepreneurs all the time who want to build successful businesses but can’t tell you what that looks like. No doubt, we are swayed by ads promising us a six-figure income over night or some other version of what society deems successful. But what does success mean for you and your business? If it means making more money, how much more money do you need? How many units of your products/services must you sell to reach your goal? Maybe you want to grow your business? How much, in what areas and how soon do you want to see that growth? Does the way you allocate your business time and resources allow for the growth that you seek? When you are able to define exactly what success looks like to you, you can set some goals and take steps that will help you get the results you desire.
Planning Truth #2 – Understand the game changers
Most entrepreneurs start their business with at least a loose vision of what they hope to achieve. Armed with our dreams, we open up shop, put our heads down and work as hard as we can to succeed. This can put you at a serious disadvantage. As a marketing student in college, I had nightmares because I thought I would be running around the mall holding a clipboard trying to ask questions to people who didn’t really want to talk to me. Technology was a game changer but I didn’t initially realize or capitalize on it. Because of my fears, I blocked myself in a crucial area of business: marketing. I realized that I needed to do two things if I wanted to be successful: read as much as I could about on-line marketing and work with an expert to fill in the gaps. Now, I can target my marketing activities to people who are willing to engage in a conversation with me. The nightmare has ended.
Planning Truth #3 – Flexibility doesn’t mean failure
When I was in high school, singer Angelo Bond had a hit song out called “Reach for the Moon”. He sang about all the adversity his family faced yet the chorus encourage you to “reach for the moon, you may land upon a star”. I learned that you may have to change your plans but because you started with a goal, some measure of success was inevitable. This is true in both life and business. Remember, I went to a college to major in an area that I did not enjoy and to minor in an area that Norfolk State didn’t even offer. But my underlying plan was to get a college degree, get married and start a family and own my own business. Happily I can say that I have accomplished my goals. Even though my original plans changed, I don’t feel like I failed. I just landed on the stars. I think that’s pretty awesome!
As a fellow entrepreneur, I know that sometimes we can get so caught up in the day to day grind of running our businesses that we sometimes let things slip. We decide that the planning process can wait until a more convenient day. But I challenge you to incorporate these planning truths into your business model today. When you can clearly define success and understand that flexibility will help you manage the game changers, you will be well on your way to reaching your goals. And once you get there it will be time to start planning for your next level of success. Remember, success starts with a plan.
At Hunt’s Business Solutions we would love to help you implement these planning truths so you can reach your business goals. Visit our website www.huntsbiz.com today so we can get started!