How to set up your days, weeks and months to ensure the right focus on your growing business.
Successful businesses grow organically often because of the drive, energy and motivation of their founder. They manage their diary, their time, their workload, usually on notepads or in their head, and this is fine until the business gets to a certain size.
Why the need for change?
As businesses grow, and the workload increases, the manual planning methods such as workbooks and notebooks often get filled, and the business owner can feel out of control. As well as this, they can also have a little view on the next three months let alone the end of the year, focussing only on the daily activities they must do. I’ve worked with several owners in a similar position who, even though they have a team and a successful business, struggle to truly understand where they are and where they want to be. Taking time out to look at this helps them get a better understanding of their business, how it is doing, and what steps need to be undertaken to improve and grow.
Three people in every business (even a Solopreneur)
It’s well known that there are three people in every company (even if you’re a sole trader!):
The Technician – This is the person that does the work, the carpenter, blockchain developer, accountant, business consultant.
The Manager – This is the person who manages the time, does the admin, invoices, chases, tax returns – Everything required to keep the business ticking over.
The Entrepreneur – This is the person who started the business in the first place, has the vision, the desire, and they want to create a successful business.
Often, when business owners get busy, they focus only on the Technician, and the management and Entrepreneurial aspects get de-prioritised and forgotten, and the business slows!
So, what can we do differently?
When I talk to business owners, I ask questions to understand how they are doing, their workload, their pipeline, their financials, clients, marketing etc. to gain a broad understanding of their business, themselves, their team and how it all works.
Then we explore how they run the business, and this is often where the missing planning elements appear.
5 Steps to Planning for Growth.
- Treat each role (technician, manager & entrepreneur) as equally important
If you can do these things yourself, allocate time in your diary and stick to it. Some people prefer an admin ½ day each week; others slice up time in the week. Do what works for you but ensure you have time allocated for all your primary tasks.
- Recognise the difference between operational planning, tactical planning and strategic planning.
Daily you will be doing operational planning, working out what must be done each hour to fulfil your commitments.
Tactical planning, I like to see as a weekly action, planning the week in the beginning and review what you’ve achieved at the end
Strategic planning is a monthly task; here you are looking at the long-term goals of the business with a monthly, quarterly and yearly perspective and reviewing your success.
- Have clear goals – and chunk them up
Set your business clear goals and objectives, for clients, income, profit, products launched, whatever you want to do. Once you’ve placed an annual target, break this into quarters and months. That way, your £500k a year revenue target is now broken down to monthly goals, so you can see each month how you are doing rather than wait till the end of the year to see you’ve failed.
- Set measurements and KPI’s to track your achievement
On a monthly basis, measure your success and test against your goals. Make any adjustments you need to increase sales, customers or marketing if you fall behind. And if you’re ahead, AWESOME! Maybe you need to improve your targets
- Have an overall plan
I’ve recently created a single page plan for a client. This enables them to get a whole year perspective on their business and track it weekly and monthly. It consists of 3 key areas.
- Workload – how much time is allocated, and therefore how much space they have for new work. This is essential to be able to give your clients a quick Yes/No answer on urgent
- Remember the goals and KPI’s in steps 3 and 4, create a sheet which tracks our KPI’s. In this case, it’s Revenue, Clients and average spend per client. And measure on a monthly basis to see how the business is doing.
- Marketing – This is our event and marketing calendar. At the beginning of the year identify events, seminars, and critical business activities, map them on the sheet, and you can see where you need to be planning your time.