Creating an operating plan for your small business doesn’t have to be complicated.
You don’t need a multi-page document that you pay a consultant thousands of dollars and dozens of hours to create.
The good news is that every small business owner can (and should) have an operating plan, a plan that ensures that:
- The RIGHT things get done
- You’re spending your time where it counts: building profit
- Everyone in the company is working on the RIGHT things
A strategic plan can be all on 1 sheet of paper
Sure, that paper is legal size and has a lot of information on it, but it’s refreshing to see it all on 1 page nonetheless. Imagine your 10 year goals, then your 5 year goals, then your 1 year goals connected to quarterly and monthly tasks. It’s literally a line-of-sight from long term goals right down through what you need to focus on TODAY.
If you’re like me, there are days when I allow myself to get distracted, winding up at the end of the day with my company in no better place than it was when I started the day. I still have an occasional day like that but now I have that 1-page strategic and tactical plan hanging in front of my face. So when I start to get distracted or discouraged, I can get myself back on track quick.
It’s amazing what a mood-lifter it is to log in an accomplishment toward a goal that you KNOW is important to your business’ long term success.
We use a version of Verne Harnish’s 1-Page Strategic Business Plan that I modified for small business owners. It provides a framework that walks you through every component of your business. It gives step-by-step questions that help you complete each section of the strategic plan document. You can walk yourself through it in just a few hours.
The template (and step-by-step instructions) for this 1-page plan is on our Free Resources web page. You can download a copy and get started now.
If you prefer a little help, you’re invited to attend our quarterly workshop – 1 day in a casual setting where I walk business owners and leaders through the completion of each section of the plan. Here is the detail.
An imperfect plan is better than no plan
After a few hours of time spent crafting your plan it won’t be perfect, but you’ll have a generally complete plan. Besides, a strategic plan is a living document—you’ll revisit and revise it every few months. You’ll have written goals for every section of a thorough operating plan. You’ll have a guiding blueprint for what you and your team should do tomorrow, next week, this month, and this year.
Taking the time now to put a plan of operation for your business down on paper can all but insure you end 2018 & 2019 better off than you would have if you didn’t have a written plan.