The notion, ‘well begun is half done’, proves wrong when it comes to the business planning and its procedural application on various business factors. Most of the people believe that good planning can lead them to the ultimate goal and will help them in achieving the right outcome. Unluckily, that does not prove true when during the lateral phases of the business actions of the entrepreneur don’t support the basic planning.
Planning a business is like planning an adventure for life. Many obstacles, uncertainties, and limitations are often ignored during this phase. The person initiating the business idea in the real world is so overwhelmed that he often fails to notice the unnamed tiny holes in the bottom of a business plan that might make the plan sink if not treated well. Business planning is the first step of building a business empire and it needs a thorough understanding of one’s own business concept, prevailing market trends, existing competition, the intensity of competition along with a futuristic overview of market needs and business trends. When such basic elements are thoughtfully included in a business plan; the chances of business success breed well and risk elements are minimized.
An important area of consideration before writing a business plan is developing a list of ‘assets’ available for the business venture. Here assets don’t necessarily mean financials of the owner but also cover non-financial resources including personal abilities, business skills, linked resources, in-house expertise, expertise available in case of need, advisory services available at different levels of initiation, development, running and maintenance of business. These resources can come free through friends, family and professional networking or may cost money when seeking advice from a professional business consulting company. A new business person must keep an eye on unexpected happenings during all phases of business and must have valid plans to cope with various contingencies. Contingency management is a regular feature of every business that cannot go unnoticed.
On completion, all business plans are perfect but with these perfect plans many businesses fail or cannot achieve expected results. Reasons can be numberless, the most ignored reason for business failures is the wrong or poor implementation of the original business plan. There are different ways plans are derailed and go stray and ultimately fail to produce positive business results.
The first possible reason for plan’s application failure is the lost enthusiasm for an entrepreneur to work on business plan after the take-off stage. Once the business starts moving on, in the beginning, a little revenue is very encouraging as this adds into ‘zero’ income of the business but in next few weeks business needs to grow its revenue at a persistent and reasonable rate as well. With the earlier good response, many business people overestimate their success and start ignoring the next application on their business plan believing they are on the right path of business success; this philosophy causes the immediate break down of the revenue curve disturbing the whole business process and sometimes its existence.
Another reason for plan failure is putting more emphases on business management than on new business development or generating sales. The management of newly rising business gets too busy in micromanagement that the main function of the business is ignored, i.e. sales.
Increased expenses or spending more than what was in actually planned is an often run mistake in new businesses that cost the business harm and failure in many cases. Another popular mistake of new business owners is a premature expansion of the business where they try to expand the business when it is too early by putting unwanted expenditures and hiring more resources for the business. Such before time expansions, can cost the life to a new business. No business should plan for an expansion unless it proves self-sufficiency and sustainability for a significant time.
Working on a business plan in true spirit is the key to success. If the plan needs to be changed due to any business or environmental factors; change it but keep following the plan after any modifications. Leaving the business plan out of business and its practical premise serves no purpose but despair and disgrace to the business. Plans are to be implemented, not to be overlooked or ignored.
Shafqat Jilani is a corporate trainer, management consultant, life coach, motivational speaker, a behavioral psychologist and e-strategist with more than twenty fives years professional working. He is working in IKTAR as country director Pakistan.