Remember Steven Covey’s habit “Begin with the end in mind”?

There are five main plans to guide your activities and decisions to create the business you desire:

1. Strategic plan

It is crucial to provide a roadmap to guide your major decisions. A simple strategic plan answers the key questions: “what kind of business do we want to be, who are we, what do we do best, who is our ideal customer, how are we different, what do we value?”

2. Budget

An annual budget is a planning document that is a snapshot of your goals for revenue increases, cost reductions, and profit enhancement. Once finalized, it becomes a monthly report card to ensure your activities and projects are on track to achieve the expected financial results, or to alert you to items requiring attention to fix.

Budgets are also extremely valuable to aid your decisions— they are a simple tool to forecast the return on investments or business changes.

3. Sales plan

If you want to find, attract and cultivate leads into new and repeat customers, the solution is to have a consistent optimized sales process that is semi-automated. This “pipeline” is designed around finding the Ideal Customer [who craves what you have to offer and deliver well], and then nurtures the relationship, until they are convinced they need your solution and you are the right vendor for them, turning them into customers.

4. People Plan

This plan outlines your current and future people roles—what job titles you need, clarifies role responsibility and authority, and forecasts what additions and changes to roles are needed to support sales growth and new business lines.

This plan also specifically outlines what people are accountable for, and how they will be measured, as the foundation of your performance coaching and process improvement.

5. Owner’s plan

Owners, just like every team member, should be in a role that maximizes their strengths. Many owners continue to be the CEO- the Center of Everthing Officer. This creates a huge roadblock for growing the business as the owner becomes overworked and overwhelmed. An owner’s plan considers their current and future desired involvement, and outlines a plan to transition responsibilities to key people over time.

Once you have these 5 plans defined, this guides your team to prioritize activities and make effective decisions to achieve the results outlined in your strategy. You and your team have the entire “operating manual” to optimize and automate your business, and ensure it’s transition and survival beyond one key person.

This reminds me of a phrase repeated by my veteran friendsProper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance… 


Image provided by basketman at