Planning

Why bother planning? There’s so much uncertainty!

Good article in Wall Street Journal! Will make your blood boil! Or maybe you’ll say, “Hmmm, I see the value in that.” A few key ideas that excite me:

“Many successful business people reject the idea of setting firm goals.” They reject the value of setting big, audacious SMART goals—“specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and timely.”

Things are too uncertain for this. Instead of choosing a goal and then making a plan to achieve it, look at the means and materials at your disposal, then imagine the possible ends.

Use the “affordable loss principle.” Instead of focusing on the spectacular rewards from a venture, ask how great the loss would be if it failed. If the potential loss seems tolerable, take the next step.

Use “defensive pessimism.” Just thinking in detail about worst-case scenarios can sap their anxiety-producing power.

Since I lead planning workshops, why would this excite me? We try to accommodate these ideas in our planning:

— Get your plan done on just one sheet of paper. If you can’t write it on a page, you can’t do it in a year anyway.

— Focus on your toughest challenges, uncertainties, dilemmas, choice points. Any plan that ignores these is bound to fail.

— Balance between business and the rest of your life is a key goal. Build it into your plan.

— Plan for how you will deal with uncertainties. The more uncertainty, the more flexibility.

— Be steadfast pursuing your goals—until it’s time to shift. When a goal has been left behind by events, change it. It’s deadly to stick with it.

Our Small Business Success plan workshop helps you get your plan for the year done and presented to others for their feedback.

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5 Tips for Getting Your 2013 Plan Done

Business owners have a love/hate relationship with planning. We know that regular planning Small business success workshopboosts our chances of success. But it’s hard to carve out time to get it done. Here are five tips for getting it done without making a big deal of it.

Tip #1. JUST DO IT! Get it down in writing. “I’ve got my plan right here in my head” just doesn’t cut it.
Too many business owners let planning slide. Do it every year, or more often if need be.

Tip #2. Be concise. I tell people in our plan workshops that if you can’t write it on a page, you can’t get it done in a year anyway.

Tip #3. Be practical. Write a plan for yourself, that you can follow and achieve. Don’t write a plan to look good for others. Don’t set blue-sky goals just to “push yourself.” Set no goal without doable action items that will get you there.

Tip #4. Tackle your biggest dilemmas, choice points, uncertainties–not just the positive stuff. Any plan that neglects how you will handle these challenges is bound to fail.

Tip #5. Follow up. Build in a plan to review your progress periodically. And it’s best to involve others in this, so you can’t fool yourself. My clients present their action plans to each other and get feedback. This forces them to think things through and clarify their assumptions, so they can defend their goals. Thus, they achieve their goals!

And one bonus tip:

Tip #6. Stick to your plan–until it’s time to change it. Things change during the year, and you need to shift your targets and strategies to accommodate. Balance steadfastness and flexibility in your planning.

Get Your Plan Done in one day at our annual planning workshop. Get 2013 started off right! First session is coming up–Monday, December 17, in San Rafael. More sessions in January–including a virtual session available to people anywhere.

Save 50%! If you’ve taken the workshop before, you get a 50% discount.

Recruit a colleague and both you and they get 25% off. Please forward this to your friends.

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