Effective planning in Management10/03/2020
In the day-to-day process of running a small business, it’s easy to get caught up in immediate and urgent concerns such as filling orders and repairing indispensable equipment. However, it’s important to regularly set aside the time to step back and take a fresh look at long-term goals to evaluate whether you’re headed in the right direction or whether the direction itself needs to be redirected.
Set Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
Effective planning starts with knowing where you want to go. Start your planning process by considering where you want your business to be after the longest time frame you can reasonably imagine. If you’re figuring out your business model more or less as you go along, think about where you want to be in a year or two. If you plan to build an enduring company that operates in multiple cities, think 10 or 25 years into the future.
Once you’ve established long-term goals, think about what you hope to achieve in a more current time frame, such as six months or a year. Align your shorter term goals with your longer term vision. Define the steps you must take to start moving your company in the bigger picture direction you’ve outlined.
Create Concrete Objectives
Once you’ve defined and clarified your long- and short-term goals, start thinking about the numbers. Look for ways to concretely measure whether you’re on the way to achieving the objectives you’ve outlined. Be as specific as possible, projecting desired sales figures in dollars or units sold. Set specific projections for where you want to be at different times in the future, from later in the year to later in the decade.
If one of your reasons for starting and building your company has been to achieve some degree of autonomy so you don’t have to work all the time, set goals for how much time each year you want to spend on vacation or doing other things you love.
Shift Gears If It’s Not Working
Just because you’ve set out specific goals, you don’t have to keep trying to achieve them if they turn out to be less relevant over time. There may be developments, such as demographic shifts, that call for changes in your company’s overall direction. Or you yourself may change, no longer wanting the things you wanted at the outset. Don’t be afraid to shift gears when necessary and, if you do, make new long- and short-term evaluations regarding where you are and where you want to go.