Your Business Your Way: Business Planning in Action

June 8, 2021

“Let’s go back to your business plan.” Clients know this is the first thing we are going to ask when they hit a bump in the road or have a big opportunity open up. Knowing where you have been, where you are, and where you want to go makes a business sustainable, successful, and enjoyable.

Some businesses survive without a business plan, but, more often than not, they find themselves at a crossroads with no direction. They are left making spur of the moment decisions which may affect their ability to grow, pivot, or focus on the future.

Think of your business plan as your personal business GPS. It’s a way to look at all the potential routes and pick the one that fits your business and fits you. The business plan is about you and your business. People will come along with opinions about how you should drive, which turn you should take, and where you should stop for lunch. There will be a wealth of good options, but what is the best direction for you and your business?

 

If you don’t have a business plan, it is never too late. We sit down with people everyday at our office to brainstorm and commit their business plans to paper. Business planning does not have to be complicated. We can help you commit your ideas to paper and plan.

Once you have your business plan, make it work for you. How do you stay on track and utilize the plan to help you make hard decisions for your business?

 

Stay with me here for a minute – imagine that you own a dog walking company (I used this example last week, and someone said, “I did own one of those.”). You have been successfully walking dogs in your neighborhood for several months. You like the hours and flexibility and love being able to meet neighbors and get outside. When you wrote your business plan, your goal was to make money to supplement your family’s income while still having time midday to run errands for your elderly parents. Eventually, you would like to partner with a vet in your neighborhood to open a place for pets that would expand beyond just walking. Your business has grown, and you are making good income. A well-meaning friend gives your name to a cousin who lives about 30 minutes away in the next town. She wants you to come walk her two dogs two days a week for the same amount you are making now walking dogs every day in your neighborhood. Sounds great. They also want you to sell the dog treats you have been making.

What do you do? GO BACK TO YOUR BUSINESS PLAN!

This scenario may seem like an easy decision. You make more money for less work and potentially have a new business opportunity to sell dog treats. But is it really what is best for you and your business? Do you want to be in your car commuting? Do you even like baking? What about all those neighbors you have gotten to know and enjoy seeing every day? Could selling dog treats be something that could really help your partnership with a vet off the ground?

Go back to the business plan goal - to make money to supplement your family’s income while still having time in the midday to run errands for your elderly parents. Eventually you would like to partner with a vet in your neighborhood to open a place for pets that would expand beyond just walking.

For this scenario, there is no right answer. In fact, you may choose to change your goal and pivot because your family or finances have changed. Go back to your business plan. Evaluate your business. Make a conscious decision based on facts and your business goals. Then re-evaluate how you are spending your business time and money to meet the goals.

A good business plan allows you to maximize your time and make a profit.

 

So next time you are faced with a hard decision for your business, give it a try. Look at YOUR business plan and YOUR goals and rest assured in your decisions that you are doing what is best for your business.

For more information on business planning, contact our team at info@gayjoneslaw.com.