Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Where are you going?

I love Facebook.  I love how it enables me to stay up to date with my friends on a day to day basis even though some live too far away for me to see them as much as I would like.  I also think it is a great tool for small businesses, allowing easy networking opportunities for promotion, morale and advice – really important to alleviate the isolation of working alone.

I love how Facebook has enabled me to reconnect with old friends and colleagues with whom I had lost touch.  It’s great to see how people have moved on, what they’ve achieved and what they are doing now.  For some people, I could have predicted where they would be, but less so for others.

So the question is, are they happy with where they are?   Are they where they wanted to be?  I have one friend who has had her life planned out in her head for as long as I’ve known her – probably 15 years or so.  And her life has followed her plan. She’s qualified in the profession she sought after, has a lovely husband and the four children she wanted – it’s amazing really.  But to be fair to her, she has worked hard to achieve her goals and never lost sight of them.

Now I don’t know anyone else quite like her.  Certainly my life looks very differently than I imagined it would do 10 or 20 years ago.  But my aspirations have changed and my priorities with them, and my life reflects the choices I have made.  For the most part, I am happy with them.

So what about your business?  What will that look like in 5, 10 or 20 years time?  Do you have a clear long term plan that you  are working to achieve?  Or are you just drifting along hoping that success decides to land on your doorstep?  To be honest, with very few exceptions, success is something that you work at and you need a plan to get there.

Most businesses start out with a business plan.  A clear roadmap of what they hope to achieve and how they will go about it.  But how many business plans get shoved in a drawer and forgotten about?  And yet, how can anyone hope to achieve their goals without proper planning that is followed through?

The business plan is so often undervalued by businesses.  What it is, in fact, is a living document that can develop with your plans and ambitions.  Very few people can write a plan at the inception of their business which will see them through for the long term, but a good business plan will be adjusted as a business develops, changing with the benefit of hindsight and helping  you achieve your, possibly changing, long term goals. 

So why not get out your business plan today?  Have you achieved what you initially set out to do, or has your business taken a different direction?  Take some time now to plan how you can move your business forward and make sure that your long term goals always feature in your decision making process so that success, whatever that looks like to you, is where your business is going.

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