Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to
see ... or so the song goes. But even if that is so, I believe an awful lot of
failed businesses have learned that they should have at least tried to see
their futures. Many of us just jump right into business sporting an initial
business plan in order to obtain investors or approval for loans. However, as
the years move on, our goals sometimes may be forgotten, or we may create
alternate objectives for our businesses as we have seen it grow and the industry
change. But why leave such important ventures up to chance?
Continually planning where a company is headed often is a
top ingredient in prosperous companies. The businessmen of these successful
companies watch the market trends, take actions that coincide with these trends
and constantly question where they would like to be and how they would like to
achieve it. Most importantly, they are not afraid of change.
No matter what size your business may be, how long you have
been in business, what products and services you offer and even how long you
plan on running the business, a destination for the company should be
strategically planned and then consistently carried out.
A corporate business plan should identify your market and
areas of waste within your company. It answers questions such as “What
will your company be doing in five or 10 years? How much growth will your
company achieve every year? What will you do better than your
competition?” and “What types of people and additional personnel
will you need?” Just be specific in your plans and make sure they are
measurable, says Andy Marken, president of Marken Communications, Inc., on page
8. This planning will keep you focused as you move your company forward.
Along the bumpy business road, it is most likely that you
will encounter some sort of trouble. Amidst any disaster, your company should
have guidelines for employees as well as yourself for dealing with these
situations. Whether it is a mass water contamination, an unethical salesperson
or a defective product, it is imperative that proper procedures are in place so
you can act in a timely fashion. On page 30, you will find “Keeping It on
Track”— guidelines for planning crisis management.
Although flying by the seat of your pants may make for an
interesting story, without a strategic plan, you have greatly decreased your
odds of success. In this highly competitive age, there is no better way to
developing your business.
Best Wishes for Success!