Annual Report. Graph. Diagram. Chart. Analisys.Planning is a key element in the business world.  As a productivity expert, I have witnessed entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and small business owners increase their productivity by regularly planning to achieve the big picture, and as a result, increase their bottom line. Larger companies have done it and so can the solopreneur.

Now, I know that you might be one of those people who cringe when they hear the word “plan” or at the just the thought of having to create one.  I’ve heard so many people say that planning takes too much time or even that it’s a waste of time and because they believe that, they don’t plan.  They end up winging it through their days, months and the year attempting to accomplish the things they want to, which is really like rolling dice.  The truth is that planning will actually save you time, guide your actions and help you accomplish what you set out to do.  There is power in the process.

Let me share a few facts with you…

  • Statistics show us that every minute that you plan saves you ten in the execution of the plan
  • Planning can increase your productivity level by 25%
  • Planning facilitates achievement of goals, helps make good decisions, define opportunities and possible threats and helps reduce risk and prevent loss

…and, did you know that planning gives you a return of ten times on the investment of your time and personal energy? Something that might surprise you too, is that it really only takes about 10-12 minutes to plan your day.

If you are one of those people who does cringe at the thought of planning, those key points I just mentioned should help you start to see planning in a different light. Are you making the mistake of developing your products, services and strategies based upon what you think your target market wants, instead of asking them what they want?  Planning starts with not just knowing who your target market is, but knowing and understanding beyond the shadow of a doubt what they want.  This step is simple, but key to the process.  If you don’t know what your clients want, it makes it hard to connect with them and hard to deliver the value that you bring to the table.

Once you’ve determined what your tribe wants, it’s time to create the vision to give purpose, direction, and motivation, and then develop a strategy that drives that vision.  Once you have that strategy, you can create your plan and execute it. This can be challenging, and honestly it’s where most people drop the ball. Putting the plan into motion involves looking at the strategy and breathing life into it by creating an action plan.  That plan has to clarify the intent, determine broader steps and how results will be measured. It also has to break each step down into projects and then ultimately, into detailed work plans and tasks. When you understand your strategy and how what you do plays a role in your overall success.  When you do, you impact your bottom line in a positive way with the ability to reach your income and business goals.