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How to Make a Plan That Will Help Your Business Thrive

How to Make a Plan That Will Help Your Business Thrive

What is the difference between a successful company and an unsuccessful company? Why do some entrepreneurs succeed where others have failed miserably?

What makes someone successful?

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    Everyone is looking for the answers to these questions; everyone wants to find the keys to succeed, the shortcut that will make it all easier.

    The problem is in that word, shortcut.
    The real key, the real secret is that there is no shortcut.
    You need to work hard, endure long hours, and maintain focus if you want success.

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    You can succeed

    Many studies have been made to why some entrepreneurs succeed while others don’t.
    In many cases, it all comes down to planning.

    There’s an old saying: every minute spent on planning saves up to 10 minutes in execution. Even though we know this, very few people spend enough time planning.

    Spending time before you start your business making plans is tiresome to many. You are essentially working without getting paid, in the short run. But when you plan you create a roadmap; you build yourself a guide that will help you on your entire journey towards success.

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    Successful entrepreneurs plan and then do something completely different

    The hard part about planning is getting it right. When you plan you try to foresee circumstances in the future, to predict how things will play out and make plans for how you will react and what you will need, you can’t always get a 100% success rate. Since no one knows what the future brings, most plans become obsolete as soon as the entrepreneur starts his business.

    All successful entrepreneurs started off with a set of plans, but many ended up doing something completely different. (But they all had a plan).

    Unsuccessful entrepreneurs fail because of lack of planning

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    Because studies show that many original business plans become obsolete soon after the business gets off the ground, some entrepreneurs decide to skip the whole planning process. But without an exact idea of what they are going to do, what they need, what opportunities to look for and without a frame of reference to evaluate situations by, they fail.

    Successful entrepreneurs have a plan to update

    When you have a plan, you can modify it, you can evaluate things happening around you and compare them to your plans. You will be able to see if this opportunity is in line with your goals, values and dreams. If it isn’t, you know it is a bad idea to follow. Thanks to this whole planning process, you will have a long term mindset, you will constantly be thinking about what the things you are doing today will have for affects on your future.

    This mindset is a precious commodity and one of the most important parts of being an entrepreneur. Remember, all successful entrepreneurs have made business plans, even if they didn’t always do exactly what they expected.

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    Action Exercises

    1. Create a business plan
    Ask yourself the following questions – What do you plan on doing? Who is it you are selling to? What do you need to be successful at it? How much do you need to sell to brake even? What costs will you have? How many employees do you need? What kind of office space will you require? What can you delegate? What do you need to do yourself?

    2. Create a vision
    Try to crystallize the values you want your company to stand for in simple terms. Make sure everyone who joins the company learns about what the company stands for, and prove it to them by living by those values.
    Let the employees be a part of the creative process, come back to it once in a while, look it over, and let them give you their input.

    3. Never be afraid to update your plan
    You will need to update your plan many times, you might even change to a new industry after some time has passed. Don’t be afraid of this, but make sure that the change is in line with your goals and your vision. If the path you are on won’t lead you to your goals, change that path now to one that is more suitable.

    More by this author

    Daniel M. Wood

    Daniel is the founder of Looking To Business.com. He writes about Motivation, Success and Time Management.

    How Setting Small Daily Goals Makes You Achieve Big Success The Art of Stress-Free Work How to Make a Plan That Will Help Your Business Thrive

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    Last Updated on July 16, 2019

    7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

    7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

    Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

    In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

    There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

    1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

    The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

    Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

    Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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    2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

    When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

    The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

    It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

    By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

    3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

    At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

    Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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    Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

    You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

    Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

    4. Don’t Take Sides

    In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

    In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

    By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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    5. Don’t Get Personal

    In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

    People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

    To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

    Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

    6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

    The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

    Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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    Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

    7. Think Win-Win

    As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

    In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

    Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

    Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

    People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

    Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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