The Single Most Important Business Planning Tool

The Single Most Important Business Planning Tool

When it comes to planning, there are three things that are critical for your success.  One for me is more important than all the rest and I am guessing you might not know what that is.

The first two are no brainers.

You need to know where you are at, and where you want to go.

It’s simple – if you don’t know your current reality and you can’t get clarity on your desired state, it’s virtually impossible to get there.

If you don’t know the current state of your #business, it’s like driving a car blindfolded. Share on X

The first step of any type of business planning has to be a careful and critical assessment of where you currently are. You will want to look at things like:

* Sales
* Client list
* Revenue generating products/services
* Expenses
* Profits
* Resources

When you can quantify each of these things against your current state, it then becomes possible for you to consider what you want them to be.

Maybe you want to increase sales from $85,000 to $200,000. Perhaps you want to go from 78 clients to 50. Or instead of offering 25 different ways that people can work with you, you’d like to streamline to 7.

As you begin your business planning, you may notice that your expenditures are too high in one area, and set specific budgets for things like office supplies, sponsorship, and marketing for next year. Your profit margin may be a healthy 35% but you want to find a way to increase it to 40% because you haven’t given yourself a raise in the last five years.

And if you’re doing everything in your business, perhaps it’s time to invest in some resources to help you get things done. Do you need a virtual assistant? A housekeeper? A bookkeeper?

If you don’t measure what matters and have a clear picture of where you are at, it’s impossible to figure out the plan to get to where you want to be.  This is why people get stuck, over and over again.

They don’t have a clear plan.  They don’t have clarity on what they are trying to accomplish.  They don’t measure what matters.

Now the last, and the SINGLE most important, business planning tool in my opinion, is my calendar. You might be thinking, “What does a calendar have to do with all of this?”

Simple – I want more discretionary time to do the things I want to do.  In order to make that happen, I have to put MY time at the top of the priority list and carve out the time that is to be mine at the start of each year.  If you don’t plan your time, you don’t know how much time you have left, or need to have in order to meet your goals.

Someone who is self-employed typically is so for ONE reason.

Control.

Control over their income and control over their time.

You can’t have control if you don’t have a clue what’s going on.

Leave me a comment below and tell me what your biggest business planning challenge is.

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1 thought on “The Single Most Important Business Planning Tool”

  1. Great post, Lisa!

    My biggest issue with planning is measuring. I have measurements in place for my spending, but nothing else, so it’s difficult for me to know what’s working with my marketing (and other business areas) efforts and what’s not.

    I’m going to miss your planning session as I’ll be traveling for business, but I look forward to working through your pilot programs.

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Lisa Larter Bio Image of Lisa x400

Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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