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Small business entrepreneurs are familiar with start-up planning, exit strategy planning, and strategic planning. Of course, being familiar with and actually performing key business development planning are quite different. Entrepreneurs who excel at planning can quickly find themselves victims of their own planning process. As planning pays off, and business grows, many entrepreneurs become victims of their growth, which causes them to ditch the business planning process that set off their business growth.

The Business Planning Process Dilemma

Absent an ongoing, active planning process, it’s easy to become disorganized and unfocused. Distractions, interruptions, and unplanned requests of others create competing priorities for your time. Sadly, this misaligned approach leaves the most critical business growth activities unfinished.

Your business gets stuck in neutral while precious time is spent on lesser-valued activities. Even though you’re getting things done, you want to make sure you’re doing the right things to ensure your small business growth. Are you ready to shift gears?

The Importance of Planning

To succeed in an “interruption economy,” an active, ongoing planning process is essential for small businesses. Active ongoing planning is the kind of planning that allows you to focus on the critical activities that move your business forward.

An ongoing planning process is known to save time, reduce stress, incite happiness, and spark greater satisfaction. Plus, you’ll worry less about having time to address the important business growth initiatives.

Spoiler alert! Discipline and leadership required to implement!

Types of Small Business Planning

Planning for business growth requires intentionality. Skills required for planning on purpose, keeping on top of things, not letting things fall through the cracks—moving your business forward strategically and intelligently—have changed over the years. Just as we upgrade our operating systems to keep our computers performing well, we also need to upgrade our planning skills.

An active, ongoing planning process consists of 5 phases of planning:

1. Annual Strategic Planning: Your annual strategic planning process provides the framework for decision-making that translates into daily action that keeps you focused and on fire.

2. Quarterly Planning: Small business planning conducted quarterly accomplishes two critical objectives:

  • It establishes focus for the upcoming three months
  • Gives you the opportunity to realign or readjust your planning practice.

3. Monthly Planning: Staying on top of what’s working—and what’s not—in your small business is a vital part of your business growth process. Like a plane on autopilot, planning monthly allows you to make the necessary adjustments to keep you on the right track.

4. Weekly Planning: Small business entrepreneurs have one thing in common—the desire for more clients. Obtaining more clients requires careful planning. Strategic thinking and planning conducted weekly make sure client acquisition remains a top priority.

5. Daily Planning: No matter how much business planning makes your stomach turn, the success you’ll enjoy in your business is worth every queasy moment. Set the tone and direction of every day with a well-thought-out plan for how you use your resources.

Planning is the most important activity for your business. It keeps your focus razor sharp and helps use your time wisely to complete the projects and initiatives that move your business forward.

Are you ready to unzip your success and grow your business?