If you regularly read my posts, you will know that what is widely recognised as 'planning' isn't something that comes naturally for me.
For me, planning is simply thinking things through, considering the situation from different angles, contemplating the pros and cons, and weighing up the potential risks and opportunities.
I then visualise the outcome I want to achieve and start working towards realising that vision by using it as the anchor-point for my daily decisions; subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) referring to that vision to help guide my choices.
Think >> Consider >> Decide >> Act >> Realise
That may work for me (I'm pretty happy with where it has lead me in my life so far), but for those people who are coming on the journey with me (e.g. my team), as they can't read my mind (they wouldn't want to), they need clarity on the goal.
Over the course of my career, therefore, I have had to learn to have a more robust planning approach. And while my style is still pretty fluid ( I refer to it as 'organic') and it certainly wouldn't satisfy the process needs of a Project Manager or Business Analyst, by recording the plan, I am able to use this to help guide others who are helping to realise the vision.
Despite my resistance and preference not to go through a traditional planning process, I have discovered some benefits of doing this:
By setting time aside for planning, I can get into flow and stay focused on delivering a plan.
By recording my ideas, it actually helps me generate more.
By engaging with others in a formal planning process, I get others' input as well - I may be brilliant, but I don't have all the answers and ideas.
By conducting some preparatory research before a planning session, I can learn about other aspects that I should consider that I might not have otherwise known or thought of.
I can get others to help me to interrogate ideas and conduct a 'reality check'.
Others are more likely to buy into the plan, if they feel they have been involved in the planning process and have a clear understanding of the context.
I end up with a document that clearly sets out the steps that need to be taken to achieve the goals, helping me to ensure that my priorities are correct each day.
Once the plan has been set, I can then share it - because it will be in word-form not in thought-form. Without a written plan, my plan will remain somewhat secret and mysterious. Having it written out means that others can clearly see how they can contribute to the outcomes of the plan.
Think >> Research >> Discuss >> Interrogate>> Decide >> Record >> Share >> Collaborate >> Action >> Realise
So, while there may be more steps in the process, the outcome will be the same - to realise the vision. But I have found that the quality of the outcomes increases, and the speed with which they can be achieved also increases.
If you are a small business owner, like me, you went into business to primarily provide you with an income, replacing the need to work for someone else. For us, therefore, this business planning process is also very personal as it is linked to our life goals. How much we want to earn, how we want to work, how often and doing what. By considering these things before you commence the planning process, and then incorporating these into the plan, you can ensure that not only is your business set up to prosper, but your personal life will be enhanced as well. You can download a free tool (with sign up to our website) to assist you with this thinking process: https://www.marthatravis.com/resources-tips/business-objectives-model-
To help you develop a business plan, the Australian Government also has free resources available: https://business.gov.au/planning/business-plans/develop-your-business-plan, including templates you can use to help realise your business plan.
So, as a reformed non-planner, if you would like to have someone to talk through your planning process and assist you to realise your life and business objectives, I am here to help.