My wife and I made a “quick” trip to Costco; it was supposed to be a total of ½ hr. round trip. An hour and a half later we arrived back home. In real life we have a hard time second guessing how long a project is going to take; we forget about the unexpected things that can come up.
In the business world, we often ask our clients to take a look five years down the road and with that image create a vision statement. At the time the vision statement is created it becomes no more than wishful thinking. It’s important to have a vision and to set goals on how to achieve that vision, but the reality of it coming to fruition as it is envisioned is more than likely not going to happen.
A better alternative is to prioritize your goals in the order that is more beneficial to the business at this time. (In other words, if creating cash flow is the number one priority than it should be the focus of immediate action.) The vision statement in the full business plan had grandiose projections, and it painted a great future destination; but without cash flow it will never happen.
Starting with a must-reach deadline (for example, raising a certain amount of cash in a definite period of time) an action plan can be developed knowing the time within which it has to be accomplished. This short term vision is boxed in and there is no room for unexpected delays.
By breaking time frames into smaller and smaller pieces, small measured steps can be taken which will lead to a short term goal. It helps to focus all the available energy and resources into a must accomplish direction.
Every business has a short term “survival goal”, a goal that will make an impact when reached. All goals should be broken down into mini goals that get boxed in by deadlines. This helps eliminate unexpected delays. Yes, problems will come up and obstacles will still be there, but if it’s a single focus goal, time can be given to the project to rapidly eliminate these obstacles.
A small business can diversify itself to such an extent that it cannot achieve sustainability and profitability. The total business plan is necessary to take a look at a future “big picture” but the implementation of the plan has to include prioritized, boxed in, survival action plans.
Accountability and focus support is needed to make survival goals a reality.