FAILING TO PLAN IS PLANNING TO FAIL. Having run a small business since 1987, it never ceases to amaze me how few businesses plan anything. Most of us spend more time planning a birthday party or a holiday than we spend planning our own futures. Taking time out to plan the future of your business is vital for its continued success. Most of the time we are too close to the action to plan for our own business which is why we need external help and support, but as I say so often when you outsource, “If you don’t check credentials you will end up with an imposter wrapped in tin foil and not your Knight is shining armour”.

It was due to prior preparation and planning that I survived and thrived in business for over 30 years before I made the decision to sell it. It wasn’t always easy and going through tough times can be mentally draining but without planning you probably won’t make it through.

We all worry about aspects of our business and that is natural for any business owner – or it should be. If you are not taking time out to regularly work ON your business, then your chances of continued success will be severely limited.

What if a key member of staff left?     

What if you lost your biggest client?     

What if there was a recession?

It is not unhealthy to worry or be concerned but by thinking about it should make you plan for that potential eventuality and guess what… “What ifs” will always be there, they will always happen, and they will come around every 5 or 10 years. If you have already been through one or more and done nothing about it, shame on you. You should never fail with the same excuse twice. We cannot say that our business failed due to external situations. You failing to plan created that. If you know there is always going to be “something” that could negatively impact your business, then you need to plan, and you need to do it NOW!

As I write this article, we are going through a worldwide health issue, and in my opinion, it is being made worse by the constant media coverage. The media coverage during the 2008 recession – more a depression in my book – made it far worse than it ever should have been, and a lot of good businesses were forced to close. My business scraped through the recession due to plans I put in place 5 or 6 years previously, as I was constantly looking for ways to grow it. It took 5 years to totally recover from this recession and without the plans and processes I put in place in 2002/3, I would not have made it.

Over the last few months, I have heard of 3 local businesses forced to close. One had an 87 year history, one a 126 year history and one a 200 year history. They all blamed external circumstances for their demise when really the issue was lack of planning and vision. These businesses were all family businesses and the current generation picked up from where the previous generation left off. Very bad decision. Generations ago that probably would have been fine as not much changed from decade to decade. Now if we are doing the same thing this year as we were doing last year, we are probably going backwards. We must plan and prepare more now than we have ever had to do before.

Wishing you all success for the future. Make sure you plan as failure to plan is planning to fail.

As Winston Churchill said, “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning”

This article was first published on LinkedIn by Richard Knight on 09/03/2020