Planning is a critical part of doing business. Business owners often get so busy running the business, they don’t take the time to plan the actions they need to take to be really successful. Planning can seem cumbersome are often not fully implemented. Many believe that planning isn’t effective and try to run their business moment to moment, reacting to the next crisis. Experts argue the contrary to be true. “A business plan is also a road map that provides directions so a business can plan its future and helps it avoid bumps in the road. The time you spend making your business plan thorough and accurate, and keeping it up-to-date, is an investment that pays big dividends in the long term” (Enterpreneur.com, 2020).

https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/business-plan

Sometimes business owners only do an initial business plan to meet funding requirements, then they pack it away and never look at it again. If you have ever had to create a business plan you understand how intricate and detailed, they are. Comprehensive plans for a business overview often include; an executive summary; marketing strategy; competitor analysis, design and development section; operational and management plan; and detailed financial reports. A useful business plan allows owners and investors to analyze the data collected which will identify specific projections of success. Unfortunately, most business plans are often never reviewed, revised or even read.

Without going through the process of planning, business owners can get frustrated, end up doing a lot of rework, and ultimately will end up wasting resources on projects and activities that never bear fruit. Slowing down to plan isn’t just good business, it could be the difference between experiencing a steady upward trajectory or having a sputtering road forward. You may have heard the quote, “It’s important to slow down, so you can speed up”.  But slowing down feels counter to the entrepreneurial spirit that encourages sprinting instead of a slow and steady pace.

A business plan should be seen as a living document, driving the activities of the business. Regular updates and revisions are necessary so that businesses can be more proactive rather than be reactive to changes in their marketplace. If a business started 2020 projecting growth, based on the current economic conditions, they wouldn’t have been alone. Most businesses started 2020 with an optimistic outlook, and most business owners were riding the positive waves of productivity and prosperity sweeping most global markets at the time. Then COVID 19 changed everything, overnight.  How many 2020 business plans are still relevant today?  Or relevant even 3 months into the year?  Not many!

The 2020 pandemic swept the globe quickly and in a matter of days, with most plans for 2020 dramatically altered. Over the course of 6-8 weeks it was crisis management mode for most businesses. Whether scaling back, shutting down or ramping up operations to meet new demands, business owners had to pivot and shift resources, capital, and employees immediately. Whatever they had planned to do was replaced with whatever they had to do to simply survive.

As the pandemic scare begins to subside and businesses reopen, planning for the near future has never been more important. It is vital that planning for a business not be limited to intangible wish lists and hypothetical responses to ‘what if’  scenarios. Instead, business planning consistently and more frequently can lead to immediate success and help a business owner establish long-term systems and processes for growth.

Regular and more short-term planning cycles allow a business to pivot and respond more effectively to external and internal changes. If an owner develops a healthy and productive planning process for their business, they have vital information at their fingertips at anytime. They don’t have to scramble to collect it when there is a crisis. They can then jump into action, based on data, facts and historical information.  Without a regular and consistent pattern of planning, business owners are starting from behind from the outset. Using business planning as a means to end means that planning becomes an organic part of your business, instead of a special event.

At ActionCOACH the largest business coaching organizations in the world, certified business coaches establish regular planning cycles with their clients. Because planning is critical for success and often sheds light on opportunities, ActionCOACHes worldwide use a systematic approach in which planning becomes a normal course of business. They develop planning habits through a progam called GrowthCLUB.  “It’s part of our comprehensive business coaching system. GrowthCLUB is a unique approach to make planning regular and consistent”, says Brad Sugars, founder and CEO of ActionCOACH. “Market conditions are volatile and businesses have to adjust quickly. With new threats, like the pandemic, we have demonstrated to thousands of businesses just how critical business planning is regardless of size of the operation”, Sugars continues.

Learn more about GrowthCLUB:

GrowthCLUB workshops are held every 90 days and create actionable and relevant plans for your business. GrowthCLUB is a quarterly workshop which was started to help clients and their management team plan and prepare their 90-day plan. The purpose of the workshop is to assess where a business is on their long-term plan and specifically what they did to achieve their goals in the last 90 days. In addition to a brief look back at what worked and what needs improvement, business owners work with their coaches to develop go forward plans for the next 90 days GrowthCLUBare group events held virtually recently and provide business owners a way to share ideas with other business owners in a safe and non-competitive environment.  GrowthCLUB is designed business owners and employees to attend. It helps to increase learning and gives them a structure to plan growth in their business and personal lives.


Join us for the next GrowthCLUB business planning workshop on June 30th. 

Register here: https://growthclub-event.eventbrite.com

You can also contact me directly at 832-233-6825 or email: kevinmills@actioncoach.com


To learn more about ActionCOACH and to connect with a certified business coach, visit our website https://www.lakehouston.actioncoach.com/. Sign up for a complimentary coaching session and find out how planning can transform your business.  I look forward to working with you and your business!

About the author,

Kevin Mills is Owner and Firm Partner at ActionCOACH Business Coaching, providing business owners with proven tools and systems to help them reach their business and personal goals. As a Certified ActionCOACH Business Coach, Kevin belongs to a network of over 1,000 business coaches in 77 countries. With this network of brain power, along with his M.B.A. and B.S. degrees, and over 1,000 hours of training as a Certified Business Coach, Kevin is skilled at breaking down complex issues into simple steps and he has the skills to help his clients succeed. He is also certified in LEAN and Six Sigma, using these tools to develop optimized business strategies and processes. Have a desire to grow your business? Reach out to Coach Kevin now for your complimentary business strategy session!

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