Rick Meekins is the Managing Partner at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy, an Atlanta, GA based small business consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations.
How’s Your Plan?
How planning can and will impact the success of your company
Apple bought Beats by Dre…AT&T bought Dish Network…Facebook is after WhatsApp. Which question is more important – the what, as in what did they buy or the why?
Well, more than likely, these were part of their plan to perhaps gain more market share, expand their capabilities or offerings, purchase some new technology or knowledge or some other strategic initiative to increase shareholder value. In the case of these businesses, they have their board of directors and stockholders that are holding them accountable for achieving or exceeding the company’s strategic goals. No acquisition is done in a corner or without some type of planning.
As small business owners, while we aren’t beholding to our stockholders, at least to the extent of larger companies, we should have some type of accountability to ensure that we are creating and following through with the strategic initiatives that the company requires. This could be – should be – people who would be willing to have a stake in the success of your business and will be committed to making sure you don’t drop the ball.
If you have ever spoken with someone about or read about people who want to make significant changes in their lives, you know that they start out with a goal, and perhaps a number of milestones. The understanding is, however, that most of the times, more difficult plans to achieve goals fail. Think about the number of times people try to lose weight, quit smoking or break other habits.
The key is to tell people around you – in your inner circle – who will help to hold you accountable to your plan. If you consider the success of Addictions Anonymous (formerly Alcoholics Anonymous) this is similar to their approach – a room full of people who will hold you accountable, who have been where you are and will celebrate your successes. Furthermore, you would have a sponsor who you can reach out to at any time and who will come and find you if you fall off the grid.
The people around you could be members of the small business community – those that have been where you are and those that are going through the same process as you are with your company. You will also want to have a sponsor – a business coach or advisor who will be the person who is intimately aware of and involved with ensuring that you are creating, pursuing and achieving your goals, and to be the person you strategize with when things do go differently than you might expect.
Building an extraordinary company doesn’t happen by accident – it requires planning, execution and monitoring progress and results. As a business leader, this should be your primary emphasis. If you run your company based on inertia – just doing what you have always done – eventually, you will run up against an obstacle and your business will stop. If you don’t manage your company and its resources – people, productivity, products, money and time – all of which should be part of your planning – again, you will end up out of business.
When you plan strategically – with the emphasis on finding some way to create sustainable distinction in the marketplace – and execute your strategy like Apple, AT&T, Facebook and so many others, you will find that your company has the ability to weather storms, move through obstacles and maximize the use of your company’s resources.