Friday, 2 May 2008

Are you relying on luck?

Do you buy lottery tickets or enjoy the odd flutter on the dogs or horses? Perhaps you play a bit of roulette or blackjack? What about your business? Are you gambling that it will succeed too?

If that’s your strategy, then the odds are stacked against you and you’re likely to end up out of pocket and looking for a job.

And yet this is just what I see so many business owners doing. They don’t know how they’re going to get their clients or make sales. And they’re very busy being busy but they don’t know whether what they do works because they don’t monitor anything.

If you don’t have a proper business plan AND a marketing plan, you are relying too much on luck to carry you through.
Here are some of the other results of not planning:
  • You don’t know if your cashflow is enough to keep you going through a lean patch
  • Budgeting doesn’t exist – you just spend as you need to
  • You don’t like opening letters from the bank or credit card companies
“Successful people plan on paper” – I can’t remember who said that, but it’s so true!

Do you think people like Bill Gates or Richard Branson achieved their success without planning on paper? Sure, maybe in the very early days they winged it. But as soon as their businesses started getting serious, you can bet they started writing down their plans (or they got someone to help them).

Perhaps you believe you’re too busy to take time out and write your plan. So you wait until you’re less busy…. with less clients on your books, and less money coming in….. Or maybe you don’t like making plans or targets because then you might just have to do the work it takes to reach those targets.

Running your own business should be a combination of fun and work. To get that balance you need to rely less on luck and more on planning. You need to add a healthy dose of self-discipline as well.

One of the problems I’ve found through working with entrepreneurs is that they often aren’t sure what they need to plan (and they don’t like to ask for help because they think they should know). The guidelines given by banks and some other agencies can be so wordy and vague that they just add to the confusion. They also seem to call for very long (and boring) plans. In my experience, the more pages in the plan, the less likely it is to be looked at regularly.

It is possible to have simpler plans – as long as they include the essentials. What are you selling? To whom? How many? and How much? Then think about HOW you’re going to achieve this, what marketing tactics will you use? Pick just a few to start with and measure their effectiveness.

Make your plans, write them down and review them at least once a month, ideally look at them every day – this will keep you on track and working harder to reach and exceed those targets.
Don’t let your business go to the dogs – get planning and increase your odds for success!

© Louise Barnes-Johnston, 2008

Louise Barnes-Johnston is “The Business Accelerator”. She provides business coaching and mentoring for entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses. Get a copy of her FREE report “10 Ways to Boost Your Business” at

1 comment:

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The business plan will be your guide for enterprise success. It will help you determine your goals, analyze how you are going to fulfill them, explore the possibility of expanding your business, defining your competitors and your customers, as well as determining the strengths and weaknesses of your enterprise.

There are several companies that are offering business plan services. Yet it’s always recommended to make one on your own. After all, who else knows the business more than you. You may, however, ask some help or advice from professionals. Make sure, too, that you will be properly guided with it as you go along your business. It’s, in fact, recommended to refer to it all the time. Make some adjustments too, but only when it is necessary. As much as possible, stick to the plan.

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