Business Planning...Freedom Starts between the ears!

Can you believe that we are over half way through 2017 already? The end of the financial year brought with it a time of reflection, as we looked at the books, reviewed our business plans and become accountable.    

Plan to Achieve! It’s no accident

If you don’t want a life of imitation, then one thing’s for certain – you need to plan to be different. If you were a fan of our Plan to Achieve suite of resources you are going to love our new Business Planning Toolkit. It’s designed to support those of us on a mission to achieve awesome.

We have long been a fan of using planners, but there’s nothing more annoying than the rigidness of a printed bound diary or business journal. You love using it for a month and then start to find fault with what it doesn’t do for you. Planning is such an individual, and we think creative process. Whilst we love and religiously use a paper based diary system, we find it hard to conform to tradition. What was available just wasn’t working for us. That’s why we made our downloadable Business Planning Toolkit and decided to share it with our Scope Vision enthusiasts. We wanted to give you the freedom; to put planning in your own hands. You can download it, print it out and plan your journey. No page restrictions, no useless areas in your planner – if you don’t use it – remove it! Plus you can print as many of your favourite planning tools, as often as you want! We believe, if your planner doesn’t work for you – you should change it – but never lose sight of your focus.

How to plan to achieve

At Scope Vision we believe that business planning shouldn’t be daunting. There’s a formula to follow if you want to succeed. It’s a matter of visualising where you want to go, and then creating SMART goals to keep you accountable as you action plan how to get there. Your focus then shifts to monitoring, as you review and collaborate, staying focused on the mission.

If there’s one thing we know about business, it’s to keep your eye on the ball, even if you can’t see the ball. Change is the only constant. This is why planning can never take on a ‘set and forget’ mentality. The reality is that what you focus on becomes reality. So you had better figure out what matters most and focus on it - hard!

Let’s look at the critical planning steps outlined in our infographic in more detail, our Business Planning Toolkit gives you templates and challenges to tackle if you want to start building an awesome plan.

Establish and set SMART personal, professional, team and business goals; then regularly monitor them.
Be accountable.

As the saying goes ‘If you don’t know where you are going; you might wind up someplace else’. If you don’t get specific and make your goals measurable then the reality is you are unlikely to achieve them. Too often we set goals that are not specific and more than likely unachievable. With this attitude it’s little wonder that most of us set ourselves up to fail! If you generate SMART goals (ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely), then follow up on your progress regularly, you will be well on your way to achieve everything you have planned.

Generate awesome plans

Always put your intentions in writing, but make sure that you get creative when you’re doing it! You have to plan your execution so you can execute your plan. Make it fun and think differently. There are so many concept tools within our Business Planning Toolkit, you will never be stuck for ideas and fresh thinking. The same thinking will only see you stay in the same location. Your plan should help you and the team move forward with confidence and your SMART goals when critically monitored, will ensure you all get there.

We regularly collaborate and pulse-check our progress in the following areas of our business:

  1. Sales
  2. Marketing Strategy
  3. Financial
  4. Business Goals [Plan on a Page]
  5. Workforce and People Development
  6. Personal Master Task Lists
  7. Project Plans - Various
  8. Work Health and Safety
  9. RTO Compliance and Continuous Improvement

Of course you should generate awesome plans for all of your identified key drivers within your operations. There’s no point planning for the sake of planning! Plans generated need to be real, working documents that capture your vision as well as what you do. Zig Ziglar attests ‘Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation’. So plan every opportunity and then execute your plan.

SWOT and SOAR your way to success

To SWOT or not to SWOT, that is the question. At Scope Vision we definitely say SWOT it! SWOT your business (as part of your strategic planning process); your team (to uncover the status quo) ; an opportunity you want to effectively explore; a competitor you would like to analyse; a problem you need to solve; a product in its life cycle; a person you would like to develop and grow….SWOT it!

Strengths identified should be leveraged with action plans established to take advantage of them; Weaknesses should be actioned with a view to diminish them. Opportunities must be actioned to take full advantage of them (this is where new money streams flow from) and Threats should be reviewed assessing the impact they will have on your plans moving forward. Ultimately you want to mitigate threats, or worst case scenario minimise their impact, but sometimes all we can do with them is be informed. Many sit outside of our circle of control.

If you’d like to read how some of our clients use SWOT in Action; head over to the website and read the blog: There’s nothing more exciting than a fiscal boner, or use the template in our Business Planning Toolkit to get you started. 

SOAR: a new planning approach to SWOT

If you haven’t heard of SOAR don’t panic! It’s a business planning tool in a similar vein to SWOT. The main differential between the two is that SOAR provides more of a strength-based focus than SWOT does. In SOAR, weaknesses are explored and reframed as opportunities. When you focus on improvement and growing capabilities, rather than the negative, opportunities flow.

SOAR provides a team with a framework for conversations:

  • What are we doing well?
  • What skills can we improve on?
  • What is most compelling to us and our stakeholders?; and
  • SOAR forces the team to engage in appreciative inquiry thinking

At Scope Vision we use SOAR monthly to pulse check our strengths and be accountable for our progress. Completing a SOAR analysis not only clarifies the opportunities we must focus on, but helps us to visualise where we want to go so we can plan for it and identify our results.

Check out our June SOAR in action (below) and read more on the concept in our latest eBook Don’t Just Fly…SOAR.

Analyse your environment: PESTLE

It’s always important to view your business in the context of the broader environment in which you operate; PESTLE is the right tool to do this. PESTLE asks you to analyse the impact of the following factors on your business continuity: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental. Once established, you only need to pulse check your analysis once a quarter, or when a significant change occurs. Whilst many of the factors analysed are beyond our circle of control, in business we still need to strategise how we will minimise the potential impact of each on our business. Even the smallest of businesses are not immune to global impacts, as evidenced during the Global Financial Crisis.

Lessons learned; a time of reflection

At the end of each month we Reflect & Focus. We ask what's been working well for us, the challenges we've faced and what we've done to action plan them. We find the more reflective we are, the more effective we become. Reflecting on last month’s performance helps us to look forward and definitely influences our future plans. Analysing critical business moments gives us the opportunity to reflect on and refine current practices; identifying those that are working well for us and highlighting clearly those we should stop.

If results are the reflection of your efforts, then you need to ensure that your efforts are focused on the right activities. To read more on ensuring you PAY yourself well so that you starve your distractions and feed your focus, check out our previous blog which outlined just what your time is really worth.

Evoke success through planning

We hope you agree that planning isn’t daunting; it’s fun! The right planning tools will empower you to visualise the future, generate SMART goals to action plan, monitor your progress and mindset, measure your results and push boundaries, be agile and adapt, be curious and grow. Confidence and capabilities fast replace hopes and dreams, as your plan to achieve evolves!

If you need help with your next business planning day and need to think differently, then contact us to facilitate your workshop. If you found value in this article hit the ❤ button then share it with someone you know that would benefit from reading it! Be curious and engage!