Hope Is Not A Strategy

This weekend we planned a much needed vacation!  We want to go to Costa Rica and so we got to work planning – the dates, the flights, the specific airline and hotel.  We talked through every last detail. How warm will it be?  Will it rain a lot?  What did we want to do once we got there?  What did we want to learn about the culture and people?  If you want to go on a specific trip, you prepare a plan.  Our plan was Costa Rica.    

Sure, we could say one day, “We need a vacation!” and just walk out the front door without an idea of where we want to go or how we plan to get there.  We might end up in Costa Rica, and we might not.  But, without a plan, we have no assurance we will end up where we want to be.  It would be a much different experience. 

Running your small business is the same, but many entrepreneurs approach their business without a specific plan.  They may not know exactly what they want from their company and they may not have a resolute idea of what they want their company to become.  They hope their business is profitable.  They hope they can work a reasonable number of hours.  They hope their employees will perform their jobs without complacency or drama.  But, hope is not a strategy and in the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”. 

Get organized about your plan for your company with these 3 tips: 

  1. Understand where you have been. Having accurate and timely financial statements for your company is critical to your company’s success.  You need to be receiving and reviewing these monthly so that you can gauge profitability, use of cash and much more.  As you grow, you’ll want to work with an advisor that can give you historical results that are tailored to your small business.  Ask questions so that you make sure you understand what makes your company tick. 
  2. Understand what you want. Establish goals within your company for net profit and what you want to make for yourself.  A growth company is much different than a lifestyle company.  Think about what you see in your company’s future and how that will affect you and your personal income.
  3. Understand what it takes to get there. Develop detailed, well thought out budgets for your company.  If you want to grow, that will most likely take additional employees, equipment, inventory, coffee – you name it.  The pieces of your plan need to fit together to give you the resources you need to meet your company’s goals. 

At VAST, we work with small business owners that want to take their business to the next level.  If you need help developing your plan for your business, check out our planning package VAST:Perform.  You’ll be glad you did!