The start of the new year means the end of an old one which always serves as a good time for evaluations. In seeing what has gone right and wrong, adjustments can be made for improvements. The hard look at the past creates a business plan for the future.
So much is usually obvious by a simple check on the bank account. The abundance or lack of cash determines so much immediate information, a deeper study can seem almost unnecessary, yet a treasure chest of information is available just below the surface of numbers that can totally change the game.
A check-in with your gut also provides an accurate measure of how things are going. If all is well, a smile is easy and sleep comes naturally. A chronic tightness in the belly indicates a need for change.
These apparent benchmarks lead the way to creating a better business for ourselves, but can really slip out of our focus as daily details require our attention. The formal process of writing a business plan forces us to articulate the impressions that guide our decisions.
As long as ideas remain obscure visions and intuitive dreams float in our minds, they can influence our projects, but have to fight with other forces and fears to constantly impact the bottom line. The exercise of a written document not only creates clarity, but communicates ideas and cements hopes into action.
The effort to transcribe the vision into a reality of details can be daunting. Knowing where to start and how much to articulate can easily disintegrate into reams of crumpled paper. Like just about everything else, the process becomes manageable by breaking it down into simple steps.
Who You Are
Begin with the very basics. Name the names and describe the positions of the organization. Account for backgrounds in education and training.
The “who” involved defines many other aspects of the business and the rest means nothing without these people making it happen. Focus on the details of what makes each person important.
If working by yourself, characterize the many roles as if they are played by others. The process of dividing your duties into many compartments reveals that it is a complicated job, involving many areas of expertise.
What You Do
An accurate description of the type of work creates an important and insightful definition. Commercial and residential divisions and the differences between new construction and remodeling are headliner delineations.
Behind these are myriad clues about how the business operates that can provide answers to the formation of a better plan. Paying attention to the type of client can determine where advertising dollars are best spent.
Where You Do It
Even if the bulk of your work is performed at a client’s property, being based in an office or warehouse or working out of the home makes a very different impression. Image is not absolutely everything, but it counts for a lot.
As long as the work is satisfactory, some clients won’t care while others want the prestige of an upscale address. A clear look into the corners of the operation will help prioritize the need for space or wheels.
When You Do It
Writing down the process of creating your product reveals a lot about efficiency and methods. When step-by-step methods are studied, there are no shortages of questions and ideas that appear.
In words, the description of action forces a hard look and invisible details leap to the forefront. Different tools come to mind. An alternative sequence of events surfaces. New ideas are pondered, evaluated, tested and eventually tried or tossed by virtue of the process.
Why You Do It
Most importantly, to be successful, we must keep the vision of our motivations close to our heart and in plain sight of all around us. The mission statement of a business plan is often the shortest but most powerful point.
The company that is just out for profit and ruled by money will get what it deserves. Cash may flow, but they may have to be constantly scrambling for the next client.
The ones who live with the integrity of their mission will attract clients who become friends and return again and again to utilize the services.
How You Do It
These five “W’s” combine to reveal the “how” of a company. The process of re-writing your business plan forces questions, definitions and decisions that can transform the year to come.
Taking the time now to study what has been happening in the past will ensure that the future shines brightly.