Some things in life are actually fun to plan - weddings, vacations, and special celebratory events. The planning that goes into the event usually leads to a happy outcome, even when there are bumps along the way.
Business Planning, however, usually gets a bad rap. Mention business planning to a multi-unit franchisee entrepreneur or a fast moving, high-energy executive and watch their eyes begin to gloss over. So how do we make business planning fun, exciting, and worthwhile for those involved?
Franchise concepts, approaches to attracting and developing talent and unique customer acquisition/service initiatives all begin in the greatest nation known to the human race: the imagination.
Here's an interesting fact about "vision": You cannot not have one. The only real question comes down to how big is it. Maybe you want to revolutionize the way your multi-unit franchise business and/or your industry works. If that's the case, reach into that pinkish gray matter that houses the creative sub-conscious part of the brain and ask yourself some simple questions: If it could be done, what could we (I) do today that would forever change the way we (I) do business?
Netflix asked that question and took over the video rental business. The Silicon Valley and Washington-based technology giants asked that question and continue to change the acquisition and distribution of information - daily, almost by the hour.
Herb Brooks, the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team coach, told his assistant that he didn't want the best players - he wanted the right players. People can argue all day long about the difference between the "best" and the "right." Regardless of your position, remember that Herb and the "right" players brought home the gold.
People are essential to putting plans into action, so you're going to want to develop a recruiting and retention strategy that helps make that happen. Part of that strategy includes describing and defining the characteristics of the key people you need for each key position:
The right players are the people who get inspired by your vision, add value to it, and see working with you as something greater than a means to a living. They see what they're involved in as more than an occupation - that's an important distinction.
For an article focused on business planning, you may think this should have been the first step. But without big dreams and good people to carry out the vision, a plan is just a piece of paper.
Strategic planning isn't rocket science, but developing a dynamic and effective plan does depend upon staying committed to doing the right things during the process.
Stay flexible. In a world where change is constant, the planning team is going to need to be nimble.
There are still a few examples of something being "right" or "wrong." For example, in the base 10 number system, 2 + 2 = 5 will always be wrong. In the business world, the research involved in setting out to open an office in Peoria may lead the team to conclude that the office should be in Des Moines instead. The original thought to open in Peoria wasn't wrong; it just turned out that the market conditions worked better in Des Moines than in Peoria.
That's flexibility. And the person or organization with the most flexibility controls the system and makes an exciting future more probable. Carpe momentum!
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