Business plans are one of those documents you first learned about in business school. Plans serve a great purpose towards achieving clarity on market conditions, organizational goals and objectives and establishing financials. Plans serve a great purpose for any business seeking venture capital, onboarding new employees and ensuring the business has a clear direction on how to move forward.
Working with clients over the years, I have seen 2 common incorrect uses of business plans. The first is when after devoting hours to developing the business plan, you put the plan “on the shelf” and it is never seen again. The second is when the business plan is followed to the letter, like a prescription, causing businesses to miss opportunities that come up.
The advice I share with my clients is that business plans need to model an athlete’s training plan. Why? Like a well-run business, athletes know what they need to achieve that year, month and week. However, the difference between business plans and athletic training plans is that coaches and athletes know that a good training plan is an organic plan and nothing in it is absolute or set in stone.
Here are a few action items from the world of high-performance athletics you can apply to your business plan during the year.
Yes, it’s an obvious thing to do, but I am amazed how some businesses and organizations develop great business plans, and then those plans are not followed. One reason for this is all the distractions people face during the day. Their focus becomes fragmented and they start to lose any direction they might have had at the beginning of the year. To prevent that, establish the habit of reviewing the plan monthly and refer to it often during team meetings.
Athletes are always monitoring their training plans. They are checking if the plan is producing the desired results and assessing if what they thought at the beginning of the season is still relevant halfway through the year. Consistent monitoring of a business plan will ensure the plan remains active and relevant throughout the year.
Athletes not only follow and monitor their training programs – they are also always adjusting. Usually it’s small adjustments, but when something unexpected comes up, like an injury, they need to make larger adjustments to the plan. Modern day business plans need to be the same – adjustments are always required as market conditions change and as you move towards achieving your goals and objectives. Just like a nimble athlete, business leaders need to be nimble in adjusting their business plans for the year.
All the best in achieving your highest performance.
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net