Machen MacDonald
Special to The Union

Back to: Business
January 20, 2014
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Be clear, concise to succeed

“Simple clear purpose in principle gives rise to complex, intelligent behavior. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple and stupid behavior.” If this quote by Dee Hock contains truth, then your business plan, game plan or even life plan must be concise.

When it comes to writing business plans, many people either numb out and don’t do it, hire someone else to do it who doesn’t know them or their business, or they attempt to create a plan that ends up just being a multipage document that is an exercise in futility.

Here is a bold statement — the current economy is not causing you financial uncertainty; the current economy is only unveiling the fact that your current plan is simply not adequate. The only two problems anybody has are 1. You know what you want but just don’t know how to get it; or 2. You don’t know what you want. If you have those two questions answered, life is pretty good. Most people don’t.

Here are six steps on how to gain more clarity around answering those two questions as it relates to business and life.

Formulate your vision. Think about where you are headed in the next three to five years and what you want it to look like when you get there. Include the money you want to be generating, the types of ideal clients you want, the caliber of people working with you, your location and the type of unique service or product you and your company want to be known for.

Know your mission: Your mission statement should include the answer to the following questions: What is your or your company’s unique strength? What sets you apart from everyone else? What is the impact or derived benefit your ideal client gets in working with you? To help formulate your mission statement, complete the following sentence: We serve our ideal client by ________ .

Be clear on your values: Roy Disney said, “When your values are clear, your decisions are easy.” He was right on. When you know what you want to honor in your life and your work, it is easy to say “yes” to the projects and activities that line up with your values and “no” to those that don’t.

State your key performance indicators (KPI): These are your milestones over the next year along the way to fulfilling your vision. In order for them to be useful, they need to be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-bound). In this way, you avoid getting trapped in the land of vagueness that leads to nonachievement and frustration.

Think Strategically: Strategy simply answers the question of what are the ways you will accomplish your KPIs? If you want more clients, then what are the ways you will get them? If you want to be known as an expert in your industry, how will you go about doing that? If you want to achieve a KPI, then answering the question, “What is the way to do that?” becomes your strategy. This will take some thinking.

Tactical action plans: This is where you determine who is going to do what by when in order to carry out the strategies to accomplish the KPIs that will lead to the fulfillment of the vision while serving the mission. This is where you list your projects and the action items needed to complete each project, along with deadlines and stakeholders. Here’s a hint: Make sure this part of your plan makes it to your calendar and the calendars of the stakeholders so you can see what you need to see when you need to see it.

This work can be captured usually on a page or two. Probably the most important thing is to develop the habit of carrying it with you to review and recalibrate it on a regular basis.

Make it up, make it fun and make it happen!

Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at coach@probrilliance.com and 530-273-8000.


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The Union Updated Jan 20, 2014 12:38AM Published Jan 20, 2014 12:38AM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.