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Barbara Dean Aliaga

Every year creates a new opportunity for a business plan.

1.  Just like a map, a business plan brings excitement and direction to the upcoming year’s venture!

Imagine that you create a road trip for people interested in crossing the country from Washington to New York to raise public awareness of our nation’s treasured places.  The excitement of the first year entails a lot of work. A map becomes the prime foundation. Everyone considers it a great success.  The trip becomes an annual event.  You notice that people seem to enjoy the second trip.  It is does not meet the level of excitement and disappointed travelers. You are too busy to create a new road trip on the third year and use the first one.  No one says anything, but in the fourth year, travelers cancel their reservations. If we are not careful, the road trip will be a thing of the past.

A business plan:

  1. holds the focus for the organization and its intentions
  2. helps the organization shape a new itinerary from the experience of the previous year
  3. offers a time to reward past performance and set new expectations for the upcoming year
  4. provides an active mapping out of actions to help unify all employees in the direction you envision
  5. creates accountability for yourself and those traveling with you!

Most companies feel obligated to have an annual business plan. How effective is your business plan?  Have you turned it over to your manager to create.  Perhaps you have a meeting to review the plan and hand out remarks of appreciation.  You listen politely but with little interest until the financial budget is in front of you, then you pay attention.   If you are like many others, the business plan finds its way to a desk or in a digital file and forgotten for the remaining of the year. The Budget benchmarks against last year’s revenue. that  And when finances decline, there’s an uneasy feeling.  There is a knee-jerk reaction to fixing the problem.  But during an hour meeting, there’s probably a lot of fingers are pointing and not a lot of constructive plans put in place.  You may not fully understand how the financial budget and the business plan are integral parts of your future year’s success.

Not having a business plan is like taking an actual road trip with the map in the glove compartment and becoming irritated because where we thought we were going is not up-the-road.

Another aspect of poor planning takes place.  The staff are not privy to the plan.  They hear changes will occur through their managers, but they pay little mind.  They consider the business plan not worth the time to create or to follow.  Just like the travelers in my introduction, the employees and customers drop away.

I know your company will operate on a more even keel with a well-planned Business Narrative Plan coordinated with a Financial Budget that supports the plan.  This is why we create a business plan.

It is a time to bring the troops together and celebrate what has been successful in our company up to now. 

It is a time to locate and correct our failures on this new trip!

Here’s one suggestion for preparing and creating a business plan:

  1. Meet in small groups of 5-8; and then later bring the groups together for a summation for the owners.  I can prepare and facilitate such meetings.
  2. The groups would give their opinions regarding their working experience, with their coworkers, their supervisors and most of all with their customers.
  3. To help keep everyone focus together we use a whiteboard digitally so all are simultaneously seeing the dynamics of the conversations.  The dynamics are different when conversations happen over the internet on a video conversation.  People are more aware of of video and teleconferences.  It differs from sitting around in a circle listen to one or two people speak.
  4. The group becomes invested by taking part in this planning and assessment hour.  They realize the boss is also taking part in this conference even if in a private office.  It is as if the sun has suddenly come out!
  5. I would give a preparation questionnaire to participants a week before the meeting for active participation.
  • What did our customers say about us this year?
  • What were frustrations and concerns this year?
  • If we could change the direction of our company, what would it be?
  • What statement could we make about ourselves in the upcoming year that would define all of us?  — a Mission Statement.

Now we have included the staff’s taking part., they will travel with us.   Now they will take ownership in their part of the company.  This little change in the process evolution of a business plan will have a tremendous effect in your company’s growth both financially and emotionally.

  1. The next meeting is with the owner, the business manager and the accountant.  The agenda for this meeting:
  • Welcome and introductions
  • I include the presentation questionnaire and owner will share his/her thoughts.
  • Presentation of staff’s contribution to the business plan.
  • Presentation of an accountant’s budget to collaborate with a new plan

2.  We need to finance the trip, rather than lead through the numbers

What is the difference from leading with a financial budget only?  Both are of equal importance.  You have a greater balance and understanding of the opportunities ahead. Understanding your current situation and location, leads to an appreciation of the current situation and location, which leads to loving your situation and location.  And all this means, a happy company for you and a happy environment for your staff.

I like to think of your company as a vehicle.  

It will carry your dreams and the dreams of your employees throughout your lifetime if you are lucky.  It will bring you many wonderful encounters with your customers.  Your life and the lives of others can be better because of this vehicle.

But this vehicle cannot drive itself.  I’m here to help you achieve the drive of your life!  Drop me a note.


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