Last year, business entrepreneur Barry Gibbons, sharp-tongued former CEO of Burger King, published an iconoclastic book called: "If You Want to Make God Really Laugh, Show Him Your Business Plan." In far too many cases, the title of his book graphically describes the shoot-from-the-hip business planning done by a good number of builders and remodelers.
Financial consultant studies indicate that only 34% of family businesses have a written plan. Even with larger businesses, less than half have developed a formal business plan.Today’s hypercompetitive housing marketplace demands a model that you constantly refine and improve, a plan that quietly defines who you are, what you plan to do and where you are going. Notes Gibbons: "The way modern business, which chews up a third of your life, has evolved is one of God’s top mistakes."
Edit your future
With the millennium year 2000 ending, fall is a good time to get out your scissors and edit your future, if you have not done so already. Let no one write the business plan but you. Become the Chief Learning Officer of Me Inc. In addition, get many other eyes in the company looking for tomorrow along with your own eyes.
Ask who, what, where, when and why, how and how much questions. "Think in terms of profit planning," advises Louis W. Stern, professor of marketing, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University. "Think in terms of trends, threats and opportunities."
Planning requires discipline. In the end, your plan should be a clear, concise and relatively brief statement of what your business is and why the world needs it. A business plan is a road map to energize you, your company, your people and the financial community. It should clarify your thinking and formalize your commitment. In order to seize tomorrow, you must start today. "Tomorrow is like having a baby. It changes everything," declare business advisers James A. Belasco and Jerre Stead.
In future columns, I will outline what contents should be in a good business plan, why your executive summary is VIP and how to write a strategic vision or mission statement. Before any of these steps take place, you must be able to straight-answer specific internal and external questions. They are PPP — process questions, product questions, performance questions. They are questions to help you think strategically, plan comprehensively and implement intensively. On your list should be questions similar to those that accompany this column.
Source: Bill Lee, president, Lee Resources Inc., management consultant to the construction supply industry. 800/277-7888.