We Know We Should, So Why Then Don’t We?
With the end of the 2014 financial year drawing near, it’s time to kick start planning mode for your business for the 2015 year. Business theory tells us we need to have a business plan (a road map) which we need to utilise regularly in our business and review and update, at a minimum annually. However, it is a well known fact that many Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) don’t have a business plan and don’t regularly review and update in relation to their business.
To coin an overused phase – business owners need to find oxygen to work on their business rather than in their business. However, speak to SME owners and they will tell you the plan is in my head, I am constantly monitoring my business, I haven’t got time etc.
So this got me thinking, business planning is just like exercise and good eating habits – we know we should do it, so why then don’t we?
To get a hands on grass route answer to this question I asked the business owner members of the Albany Creek Business Contacts group. Interesting, almost 75% of the members indicated they had a business plan/undertook business planning and of this 75%, almost 100% indicated it was in their head.
So starting at the very beginning, everyone agreed with the theorists that all businesses should have a business plan/undertake business planning. However, when asked why they don’t really do it, the general feeling was that it was time consuming, loads of work, easily forgotten about and, to quote one of the members who put it so succinctly, “it’s a big scary animal” so better kept just in your head.
It was discovered that most business owners do undertake aspects of business planning depending on what was important at the time. For example, some focus on the numbers on a regular basis and to some detail, including breakeven analysis, fortnightly number crunching and expenses analysis to look for savings. Some identified focus on customer/client analysis in regard to market requirements, service delivery (cost/benefit) and as a feeder to marketing strategies (for example, one business affected by seasons undertook planning to ensure marketing strategies and products changed to match the time of year).
So, this lead discussion to what needs to be considered when planning. Firstly, it was suggested that “business” owners need to answer the question – are they creating a business (ie, an asset that could be sold and/or operate without them) or a job for themselves? This can be quite a confronting question for business owners who hold the belief they are building a business, however, in reality they are creating a job/income stream for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, either model is fine as long as the owner understands what they are wanting and creating so they can plan accordingly.
It was also, suggested that, before taking the leap into business (and full planning) a prospective owner needs to fully investigate what it means to be a business owner and what it takes to run a business. Business ownership can be quite a romantic notion with visions of freedom, calling the shots, wealth and all the blissful positive things success in business can bring. However, business ownership is lonely, long hours, hard work, stressful, Jack of all trades and, for some, mediocrity and/or limited success. We need to take the rose coloured glasses off and look at business ownership in the raw – warts and all – and make a decision if we are really suited and motivated to it.
It was at this stage, the group agreed that business planning needed to be more than just “in our head”. However, it was agreed that business planning and plans could take various forms with various detail to support and meet the needs of the individual business. It was agreed this was a topic worth exploring further with real actions shared to help and inspire business owners to develop planning processes and plans for their business.
Make sure you check back in on Wednesday 29 April 2015 as this discussion will be the topic of the blog posted then.
(Blog contributors – Leonard Whittaker (Action Cycle Learning) Rob Carmody (Australian Integrated Communications) Sally Balwin (Balanix Solutions) Kathy Patterson (Brendale Stationery Supplies) Matthew Fox (Brisbane hosting & Web Design) Kirsty Newbery (Caring Cottage) Brad Davies (Conquest Pest & Termite Control) Scott Deaves (David Deane Real Estate) De Wet van der Nest (Express Air Con Cleaning) Oriano Giammichele (GT Racing, Mobile Mechanic) Stuart Bywater (Bywater Design) Rhennen Ford (Streten Mason Lawyers) Tracey Carter (Scrub Mutts) Jason Matthey (Insurance Web) Damien Jenkins (Australian Unity, North Lakes) Anne-Louise Underwood (SMS Toolkits)
Albany Creek Business Contacts consists of local quality and reliable businesses who provide a wide range of services from home and residential services to B2B and commercial services. Our service areas cover primarily Albany Creek, Eatons Hill, Brendale, Aspley, Warner, Chermside, Strathpine, North Lakes. However many members will cover greater areas.
Albany Creek Business Contacts meet fortnightly on a Wednesday morning for a 7am breakfast and networking meeting.
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Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.
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