“If You Fail to Plan, You Are Planning to Fail” — Benjamin Franklin

Some business owners draft plans, then file them away to gather dust. Make sure you’re not one of them. Keep in mind that planning ahead will save you time and money down the road. It also provides you with a lot more control over the day-to-day operations of your business.

Remember these three things:

  1. Wishing and hoping is not a plan.
  2. The attitude that you deserve a break eventually if you keep trying different things is not a plan.
  3. Working long hours and working hard while focusing solely on what is on your desk and in front of you is not a plan.

Consider the following benefits of planning:

  • Having a plan assists you in prioritizing your tasks
  • It helps you anticipate changes and how to effectively respond to them
  • A plan will help you manage your time and resources more efficiently
  • Prevents your business from experiencing an avoidable crisis
  • Helps put you ahead of the game as well as ahead of your competition

In a nutshell, creating and embracing a plan allows you to work smarter by focusing on the things that truly matter as opposed to just being busy. A solid business plan establishes boundaries and standards for organizing and running your company. As well, planning brings your team together, resulting in improved performance and efficiency.

Are you ready to start planning? Here’s what works for us.

Planning helps our bookkeeping customers stay prepared.

Adhering to timelines for important Revenue Canada filings and remembering when they are due is an essential component of planning with our bookkeeping clients. It is essential to have the work completed on time and reports in hand to meet those deadlines consistently.

We recently installed new project management software so that our clients can receive notifications about these critical deadlines. This, in turn, enables MYOB to provide better customer service by being proactive.

For our non-profit bookkeeping clients, there are board meetings and organizations that call for financial reports regularly. Most non-profits require a plan for tracking grants and donations, including not only the income but also all expenses associated with each grant or designated donations. Since this is part of the setup, we like to determine what plan to track is best in the initial and ongoing customer meetings. We will then establish check-in points along the way to ensure the plan continues to be helpful.

Planning assists our social media customers in achieving their marketing goals.

For our social media customers, planning includes a strategy and vision for the outcome. We consider the objectives they wish to achieve. For example, is it more important for them to have more traffic to their website or for people to physically visit their location? Are they a new company and looking to build brand awareness?

Once a client has established some broad goals, it’s time to dig deeper and become more specific about them. And finally, for best results, we assist by developing timelines and tracking statistics to determine when to revise the plan.

Planning for our website customers allows them to update and refresh their company’s image on the web.

Determining the purpose of the website is an important first step in creating a solid plan. When developing a website, it is critical to consider the user experience, content, and message in advance.

Is this a brochure site, for information? Is this a member site with a login and chat feature? Is this a site where you intend to send a lead to land a sale? Either way, the plan comes first.

Over to you.

As you can see, planning for your business does require a lot of time and effort on your part. It entails mapping out timeframes and accounting for unexpected events. For successful planning, you will find it advantageous to set aside specific times throughout the year to plan. Plan timelines, goals, and budgets, as well as contingencies and obstacles. Break it down into manageable chunks, weekly goals, daily actions, or whatever helps you stay on track.

A good plan is also a flexible plan. You will want to plan to spend time reviewing your progress often and revising your plan as needed. New opportunities arise all the time, and you must consider them carefully. Remember that to achieve your goals, you must be adaptable and responsive to change. The pandemic has taught us that companies who were able to pivot and adjust quickly faired better than those who didn’t.

And finally, we all get excited about great ideas, but few of us want to get down to the business of actually implementing them. Make sure to put your hard work and new strategy into action and start executing your plan sooner rather than later!

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger