Why You Need to Plan AheadThe importance of planning in a small business

Small business owners have a lot on their plates.

It’s not uncommon to have a full productive day, and still not have made any headway on your longer-term to-do list.

Such is the nature of the business.

But having a plan is important for the long-term health, stability, and growth of your business.

What does having a plan offer you, and what can you do?

Let’s find out in this article.

What are the benefits of having a plan?

Forces you to think long term

There’s likely always something immediate you can be doing in your small business. If you’re not careful, you can get caught up in day to day issues for days or weeks on end.

But do you often get time to stop and think about the big picture? Probably not. This means it becomes harder to develop a cohesive plan for the future and see growth as a result.

By insisting on having a plan, you force yourself to sit down and think about where you want your business to go. You’ll come up with targets and objectives that can guide your thinking and reframe your daily activities.

Provides you with guiding principles

Along similar lines, if you understand what your overall aims for your business are, decisions become easier to make. “Does this contribute to our long-term aim?” may be the only question you need to ask yourself.

Of course, not every day to day activity has a direct impact on your goal of being the best-reviewed Indian restaurant in Sheffield, for instance, but this thinking will help with big decisions.

Should we invest in this solution or that product? Well, will it help you reach your goals? With a plan in place, you have a frame of reference to guide these decisions.

Tracks your progress

When you are working hard each day in the thick of things, it’s easy to miss the bigger picture changes that are taking place. When you have a plan, you’ll be better equipped to anticipate and review big changes as they happen.

Having a plan will naturally lead you towards ways of measuring your progress, giving you motivation as you reach each milestone, and offering opportunities to celebrate wins with your team.

What can you do to plan better?

Create a business plan

Creating a business plan is unsurprisingly a very good way to plan better. It will help you to understand your audience, create goals to work towards, inform hiring decisions, and much more.

If you already have a business plan but aren’t using it to regularly inform your activities, now is a good chance to review it.

Work through your objectives and see if you can translate them into small milestones that can be achieved over a time frame of months or weeks. That way, you’ll have visible progress on a regular basis.

If you don’t have one already, check out our article on creating your own business plan.

Set a budget

Creating a budget allows you to track financial goals, progress, and successes. With it, you’re far more likely to run a profitable and sustainable business.

Understanding what you spend your money on is a key part of that. Salaries typically comprise 70% of a small business’s costs, so ensuring that you’re staffing your business efficiently should be a priority.

You can also anticipate costs and changes to ensure you remain in the black moving forwards. Findmyshift’s payroll features allow you to see costs in real time as you schedule shifts, making it far easier to forecast upcoming costs.

Consider employee development

A successful business will be built on the back of great people, so you can’t afford to be regularly losing your best employees. Ensure star performers have opportunities to grow and learn within your business, and that their career progression is clearly set out.

The best starting place for this is a simple conversation. By understanding their own long-term goals, you’ll be better placed to align those with the business and provide them with the training and opportunities to thrive with you.

Schedule your rota early

One of the simplest ways to plan better is with your employee scheduling. Employees are people with their own lives, commitments, and leisure time outside of work.

They aren’t kept on their toes by waiting until the last minute to find out when they’re working. They want to plan and get on with their lives. Last-minute changes can harm morale and anger employees.

Using a smart scheduling solution like Findmyshift to set and publish your rota as early as possible. That way, you and your employees have a plan. It’s a win win!

Start scheduling your employees online.

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