Quarter 1 of this year is almost over, do you know how you are doing in your business? Are you on track for your annual goals in your business plan? Do you have a business plan? It turns out that more than half of people who start their own business do not have a business plan. And, those who do have a business plan are not necessarily more successful than those who don’t. Why do business plans work to help business owners grow their business and when they don’t help the business grow, what is the problem?

If a business owner takes the time to write a business plan, why wouldn’t (s)he be successful? Often, the business owner is not successful because after the business plan is written and no one ever looks at it again. How can you stay on track with goals when you don’t remember what they are.

Another challenge with a written plan is determining if the plan is doable. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timed (SMART) goals are best, but even SMART goals must be reviewed regularly. Writing down goals goes a long way towards accomplishing them, but it is not the whole story. Regularly reviewing goals and implementing a strategy to work on the goals regularly is key to attaining goals.

The challenge is that goals that make a difference often require work that is not part of the daily activities. Business owners, executives, managers and high level sales people get caught up in their daily activities and the goals for the long term go on the back burner. How do you keep yourself focused on the goals in the midst of the chaos of your daily activity?

Business plans work best when they are reviewed regularly and updated to reflect the changing environment. When conditions change, the business plan should take the changes into consideration. Additionally, having success with a plan requires accountability. The great thing about being the owner or person in charge is that there is no one to answer to….the flip side is that there is no one to answer to and therefore, no one to hold you accountable.

If you want to grow your business, start with a plan, review it, adjust the plan to reflect changing conditions and find someone to hold you accountable.

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