What does it take to grow a business and, especially, keep it growing?
What causes so many to stumble just when it seems they’re on the right track?
What makes business growth so difficult, when it doesn’t have to be?
It might surprise you, but the answers to all three questions are the same:
- Reflective learning
- Regularly reviewing both
So, let’s take these in order.
The main observation I have about planning is that business owners, executives and managers all too often fail to get their planning right.
Typically, they usually don’t have enough detail in their plans and, importantly, they frequently don’t plan far enough ahead:
It’s always easier to take something out later on than it is to add something new in
Your plan needs to look at least 3 years, and preferably 5 years ahead
Your plan needs to include everything that happens in your business, and I really do mean everything: including market analysis and trends, business structure, analysis of your competitors, product analysis and development, cashflow, profit and loss, and full financial analysis and forecasting, as well as conventional S.W.O.T. analysis and what you are learning.
Business planning is also like planning a journey using a map – you need to know exactly where you are now and exactly where you want to get to. The route you take is up to you!
Remember: ONS figures show that over 80% of businesses who plan properly will successfully make it through the next 5 years. Over 80% of those who don’t, won’t!
In psychological terms, reflective learning is recognised as one of the most successful, flexible, yet simplest to implement, forms of personal development in whichever parts of your life you choose to apply it.
It is particularly recognised as the key in developing one’s emotional intelligence, for example.
In fact, it is something that many of us already do without necessarily realising it.
Here’s how it works:
- Spend a little time each day making notes of that day’s experiences. Some people choose to do this in a journal, or a pocket book, or in a mind map, or record it, or just write a list of key words – basically, do it in a way that makes it memorable, and enjoyable for you
- Reflect on the key events, however small, making note of what impact they had on you, what went well, what you could/should have done differently, and so on
- If you can, try to take the emotional attachment (which we all have) out of your reflections and just note down the ‘hard facts’
- Then regularly, for example once per week, review your notes adding anything else that comes to mind.
- So, over a period of time you will build a ‘library’ of your own unique learning experiences which you can refer to at any time.
There’s even probably an app for that! J
Finally, review and update you plan every month or two, perhaps applying what you have learned too?
As always, if you would like to discuss building a successful plan, or how to improve your personal development in the fields of business growth, please get in touch.
To find out how my clients also achieve a 35% year-on-year increase in profits, please get in touch:
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