3 Plans to Drive Small Business Success

by Justin Grensing, Esq., MBA

Every small business owner knows that the path to success is fraught with many challenges. From managing staff, to financing, to marketing efforts, small business owners often feel overwhelmed with the ancillary yet critical activities they need to succeed at in order to pursue their love of event planning, or flower arrangement, or owning their own medical practice, etc. In a recent article for Entrepreneur, Pamela Slim discussed “How to Overcome Common Challenges and Help Your Small Business Grow,” and one of the topics Slim focused on was the concept of “reacting versus looking ahead.”

It’s often so challenging to keep up with the challenges and crises that pop up every day, that it seems like there’s no time or opportunity to sit down and plan for the future. “Every business owner knows how important it is to stay on top of day-to-day operations,” Slim writes, “but survey results [from a survey conducted in collaboration with Constant Contact] suggest ‘short-termism’ is a common problem amongst small business owners. The survey found that most small business owners (63 percent) plan strategically just a year or less in advance, which is understandable — business owners often need to prioritize issues of the day and immediate objectives over longer-term plans — but strategic opportunities may be missed when you are only looking at the business challenges that are right in front of you.”

So how do you manage everything (the here-and-now AND the dreams of tomorrow) at the same time? Slim recommends setting – and sticking to – a schedule. Making time periodically to revisit your short, medium and long-term goals. She suggests three intervals:

Monthly Plan

Pick three goals for the month, and define clear metrics on how you will gauge success.

Weekly Plan

Each week, select specific projects related to your monthly initiatives and decide how many activities you can do that week to work on them.

Daily Plan

Review your weekly tasks and pick small, specific things to do that day in support of those weekly tasks.

 

We’d add another plan to this list—an annual plan. That plan can help to set the stage for business success and serve as a roadmap for mapping out monthly, weekly and daily activities.

Running a small business can be incredibly time-consuming and stressful, and it’s easy to get so lost in every day activities that you lose sight of the bigger picture and the long term. But to be truly successful, it’s key to keep an eye on your long-term goals. You’ll be happy you did down the road.

 

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