Monday, May 25, 2015

Small Business Planning Doesn't Need To Be A Major Project

My partner Jeanne and I met yesterday to do some business planning. We are very different in the way we think and work. Jeanne is a very creative person. If you mention one idea to Jeanne, within 5 minutes she will have 10 related ideas. I am the detail person. I need to know the specific steps that need to be done to make that idea a reality.
If you are a solopreneur or if you have one or two partners, finding time to plan is vital for the growth of your business. You don't need to set aside days to plan, a few hours can be sufficient if you follow a few guidelines.

Set aside three or four hours every other month for review and planning. Put the date on your calendar and don't let business get in the way. Make it an unbreakable priority (only death will get you out of this one!) Unplug during these meetings - no cell phone, no iPod or Blackberry, no email.
Preplan. Each person needs to write down their expectations for the business. What needs to be improved? What new ideas would they like to implement? If you are the only owner, involve an employee, your spouse or trusted friend. This will give you an outsider's view of your business.
Document the meeting. One person needs to be the record keeper. Pull up Notepad or a Word document on the computer and take notes. Make sure that everyone can see the screen. On good way to document the meeting is with a mind mapping program. Freemind is a free program that is very easy to implement. The goal is to take an idea and brainstorm on that idea. Take for example a new product launch. What does it take to produce the product? This would be a few words off to the right side of the product. Each one of the side nodes could involve subtopics which would branch from the side node. What goes into marketing? This could be a few words off to the left. Each one of these may have subtopics also. When you are finished you have a map of what needs to be done.
Make a decision and act. If you are like Jeanne and I, you have more ideas and unfinished ideas than can be completed in the next couple of months. Pick one or two and then act. This is where project management comes into play. You don't need any complicated software to manage your projects. Take your mind map and put it into Excel. Add any detail steps that are missing from your original brain storming session. Assign a person(s) that will be responsible for completing that task. Give the task a deadline. Indicate on the spreadsheet when the task is completed. You may want to have a brief weekly update session where you review your progress.
Follow these basic planning steps and you will find that your business is growing. More importantly, because each person had the opportunity to state their desires in the beginning, there will be a buy-in by each partner and the tasks will be complete close to their deadlines.
Business Training Team is a membership website that provides training for small business owners and their employees. On our site you will find training on Microsoft Excel as well as other topics of interest to entrepreneurs. We have recently added a video on using Excel as a project management tool. This video is also part of our stand alone course [].
Article Source:

Article Source:

No comments:

Post a Comment