The Secret to Creating a Plan that is Usable

Creating a Usable Business Plan

In my last post I recommended getting a business plan together for the new year…it doesn’t matter whether you are running the company, running a division, managing a territory, or working on marketing efforts – you need a plan.  This week is my planning week.  By the end of this week I should have a usable plan ready to go for the New Year!  But here’s the secret to making it usable…

Write your business plan so it can be posted….

Most of the business planning books on the market provide guidance for people writing a plan to get funding.  That is not what I am doing.  If you’re in start-up mode, that might be appropriate, otherwise, you need a road map.  Something to guide you through the year.  Here are three considerations:

1. The Two Page Business Plan is all you Need.

I like a two page format – using Word Tables.  Some of my columns on page one are:

– Vision

– Mission

– Target Numbers

– Market or People Group, and their core needs…

On page two I break out the quarter I am working on – a 90 day plan to provide focus on 90-day financial targets, focused goals, a quarterly theme, and some of the big initiatives I am working on such as writing a book, building a toolkit to sell, etc.  (I will update this second page each quarter).

I like this format because I can post it on my bulletin board.  It’s sitting there staring me in the face whenever I sit down to work, reminding me of my goals and priorities…it keeps me on track through the 90 day race to accomplish something.

2. Keep it Simple / Usable

Simple is the key to usable.  I have 5 key goals with one primary goal.  There are no paragraphs to read on this business plan.  Just short bullets that tell me what to focus on.  The numbers I track are easy to update and easy to understand.  There are no big words, no fancy sentences…just plain English, allowing me to stay focused.

You might include some key accounts you aim to grow, a product area you aim to develop or better understand, or a process you are working on.  I also recommend you think ahead and specify the types of  training you intend to invest in, or some books you promise to read.  Remember, you only have 90 days, so it’s highly focused and specific.

3. Make it Measurable.

If you can’t track your progress, you won’t know where you are.  It’s not enough to look at gross profit generation or revenue sales.  Your plan should have growth goals on it – growing your numbers… but also personal development goals with associated milestones.  For instance, I might state that, for the year, I aim to write another book. Over the next 90 days I will outline the chapters, and perhaps sketch each at a high level or complete 1 or 2 of the chapters, or do some of the upfront research.

The first step is to set aside some time this month.  Don’t wait until you have time – you won’t.

Prepare ahead and make 2014 a great year…

I have a growing set of tools on my Insider’s Circle Forum – which you can access for FREE right here (for the first 2 months)…

© 2013, David Stelzl


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