Business Planning-Your Direction of Travel
Business planning can be compared to setting a direction of travel for your business.
This compass bearing is the intended route to your destination.
It is not the actual path you will take, as there will be many obstacles in your way, and other factors to consider which constantly result in you correcting your course.
An aeroplane is only ever on course twice on its journey, when it takes off, and hopefully when it lands. The rest of the flight is spent plotting around weather, avoiding other aircraft and constantly making minor corrections to the flight path due to the effects of the wind.
Yet the pilot always has a flight plan, despite the knowledge that it will be wrong for almost all of the journey.
Because if you don’t know where you are going you are unlikely to get there.
The same is true of the business plan, it will require you to measure progress and take action to keep on track of your goals. Just like the autopilot checks the aircraft GPS coordinates against the flight plan and makes thousands of corrections to remain on course.
Why do almost 8 out of 10 garage owners not have a business plan?
In a recent online poll 78% of garage owners did not have a business plan.
Of the 22% that had a plan, half updated it annually, 18% updated quarterly. 32% had a plan when they started but didn’t use it.
The list of reasons is as long as it varied, but the fact is, a significant number of garages are not planning for the future. But why?
Would you start a journey without knowing the destination?
- What would you put in the satnav?
- How much fuel do you need?
- How long will it take?
- Where will you stop?
- What else do I need…passports for example?
It seems logical to plan even the most basic journey, I guess we have to otherwise we wouldn’t know where we were going. Even the commute to and from work is planned, not a formal plan, but mentaly we know when to set off, when we will arrive, the route we will take and how much fuel we need.
So I guess most garage owners have a basic business plan in their head, the sort that checks if the bills were paid, any money was made and then adjusts accordingly. It has worked up until now, so why won’t it work in the future?
This is business survival not business planning.
We have all heard stories about people who die on mountains or on the trail, because of poor planning, not having the skills or experience for the route taken. Tragically they are often found just a few feet away from safety.
The same is true in business, being good at something doesn’t mean you will automatically be successful in a business doing that thing. Without the correct training, skills and experience in business it is luck that will decide your fate.
There are several books on the subject and I can recommend The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber.