I added ” looks to much like work”. Just completed an evaluation with a new prospective client. He had completed a business plan several months ago with another planner and called us to share his story.
My first undertaking was the reading of his business plan. It contained many of the essential items that I include in my strategic focus plan and even included a time table for accomplishing the action items. My next step was to visit with the owner and ask a few questions:
- How much did you contribute to the plan itself? He shared that he and two of his staff worked with the planner and all three provided input. In fact, he said the planner only facilitated ( that is his job) and guided them in determining their own future.
- How much did you contribute to the time line? Again, the answer was ” we set the time line”.
- My third and most important question was How long did you follow the plan you created? The answer ” almost three weeks”
He went on to share that it was to difficult to stick to the plan and neither he nor his two person staff has any enthusiasm left to continue.
Unfortunately, this is very common; money is spent on a business plan and then after a few weeks it ends up in the drawer and never looked at again. One of the mistakes was being over optimistic and setting a short time line to accomplish their objectives. The time line should have been stretched and a rewards system should have been incorporated for each goal as it was achieved. A reward system is a big help to maintain the enthusiasm and thus measure progress.
Perhaps the biggest mistake was hiring a consultant only for the actual planning process. I maintain that the most important part of my job is to stay with a client and help “keep their nose to the grindstone” as the plan is implemented. The actual plan is the most
expensive part; the ongoing support is less and spread over a long period of time.
If you have given up on your business plan, pick it up, blow the dust off and give it another try. Stretch out the action plan; remember, a little bit at a time all the time, will achieve awesome results.
Back to my favorite definition; Character – The ability to carry on after the mood has left you.
Have a great day!