Kindly provided Leicester Gouwland, (pictured below right), from Findex Financial Advisory and Accounting Services
There are lots of reasons businesses aren't growing. Studies have shown us that planning and implementing the plan was the reason some businesses grow, and other businesses do not. So, it seems a 'no brainer' that anyone general in practice would undertake some form of planning, right?
However, the reality is that planning often does not happen, and the reasons offered for not planning include, a lack of time, the cost, and a general fear of planning. As I write this I still wonder why a practice owner would not invest in planning if they had a significantly increased chance of having a more profitable, valuable business with less stress. Waiting until things are going badly before planning, can be an expensive and risky way of running your practice.
Common mistakes to avoid
The first is not planning at all which leads to a practice being reactive, rather than proactive.
Taking the time to plan is difficult if you are bogged down in the day-to-day work and creates a difficulty when trying to create a habit of planning.
A to-do list is not planning and a better option to start with is a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis (SWOT) . The strengths and weaknesses are internal to the practice and the opportunities and threats are external to the practice. A SWOT analysis is a great way of considering the big picture.
Once you have determined your plan, another common mistake is not implementing the plan. Again, time is often offered as the reason. The best way to ensure implementation is to have a monitoring and feedback process in place. Using a facilitator will help with the planning process, particularly with the follow up to ensure implementation. When there isn't this structure in place keeping the interest and energy can be difficult, particularly when the day to day side of the practice is ever present.
Doing the actual plan can be cumbersome and difficult to coordinate, however this can be overcome by using business planning tools such as BusinessSorter. These tools may it easy to undertake the plan with helpful prompts and is efficient and accessible. You can achieve more in a shorter period.
The natural focus of practice owners when planning is to focus on the areas of business they understand and are comfortable with. This may be at the expense of the other areas that are in more need of attention.
Another natural focus is the finances, however not too many businesses grow by cutting costs, so the focus should include other key areas as well.
If there is a lack of engagement by some practice owners in planning, then it is going to be very difficult to successfully prepare a plan and implement it.
What are the critical actions to planning
- Undertake a SWOT analysis
- Focus on what will help you achieve your business purpose
- But consider all areas of your business
- Establish priorities to work on - no more than three
- Record who will be responsible for the task and by when
- Meet regularly to ensure implementation
- Update your plan regularly particularly when circumstances change
If you are the sole business owner planning is still very important, however make sure you have someone to discuss your plan with as you are likely to need assistance from people outside your business to achieve some aspects of your plan.
If you'd like to get in contact with Leicester, email him at Leicester.Gouwland@findex.co.nz