I was thrilled to be included as a speaker at two recent small business week celebrations. It was a busy week. As I explained at one event, for a small business consultant like myself, small business week closely parallels Christmas. We spend weeks preparing and then when it arrives, we attend all kinds of social events and are surrounded by our friends, food, and like Christmas the day passes far too quickly.
My first speaking event was on Tuesday when I spoke on a panel at Brockville Women in Business. This group excites me because there is always so much energy in the room that it has to be contained with processes to ensure a fully packed two hours is executed exactly as planned. I see evidence at every meeting of their planning and continuous refining of their plan, changing up things at the planning stage, trying themout and the execution phase and realizing that things don’t always turn out as expected at the evaluation stage. As a group, they probably don’t even realize how closely they embrace the practices of a growing sustainable business. Interestingly, the topic I chose to speak to this group was“Planning– What Does It Look Like.” I could have used this very group as an example of how it needs to be embraced at every stage of the businesses life cycle. I knew from the responsive executive they would value my comments around planning as they were already doing it quite well.
I spoke about planning to plan and that we need to factor this into whatever time management system we employ. The busier we get the more essential it is to factor and schedule into our phones, calendars or daytimers planning time for our business.
A second thing I spoke about was that business planning as conveyed in my mission statement is to help businesses organizations, and individuals to identify, understand and execute the actions needed to achieve the results they want.
Most folks start businesses and just go at it haphazardly. Sustainable businesses know what direction they want their business to go in and map out the route to get there. In explaining this I used the analogy of a bus by asking, “Are you driving the bus or are you a passenger on the bus.”
This analogy was the bus driver was like a business owner who determined the destination, the route of travel, the speed of travel, and determined strategies around detours and roadblocks versus a passenger which was more passively sitting on the bus with no input into the destination, speed of travel, detours, etc.
When I was speaking at BWB, we had lots of questions around transitions from being a passenger to being a better bus driver. The take away from this session is that we need to Plan to Plan and schedule time into our schedules. How easy it is to just let our businesses evolve and become passengers on our business bus and let the bus takeus where it wants versus us taking the business bus where we want it to go.