Today’s quote is from Confucius:

“A man who does not plan ahead will find trouble at his door.”

As an entrepreneur, you’re likely already working like a dog, you probably face a constant barrage of pressing issues and problems. At times, it kind of feels like you’re swimming in a swamp with alligators.

Work on the Business, Not Just in It

Nonetheless, I urge you every week to carve out a few precious minutes to specifically work instead of in the business on the business, to make it a better company. Every week I’m going to give you a suggestion for a step you can take to make your enterprise better. I’m calling this ‘steps to business greatness’. This week’s suggested step to greatness is to get started on your annual business plan. The number one key to business success is having an outstanding business plan. In fact, if you’re really running your business well, the planning is the business.

All that day-to-day work you’re doing is just execution. I do an annual business plan, and so should you. I want to be crystal clear, while you need to have a budget, the budget’s not the most important part of a good plan. It’s the text, the strategy, the story of how you’re going to do things differently and better this year. That’s the heart of a great plan. Your plan doesn’t have to be super long, in fact a few bullet points that are really carefully thought out could be a lot better than a long plan that just regurgitates what you did last year.

Make a Few Smart Changes

Focus on a few key changes, changes that can really drive your business ahead. I’ll tell you, with old habits and old ways of doing things, it’s hard to implement change. So what do you change? What do you do differently? Don’t just sit down at the computer for a couple minutes and type in a solution, you want to get something big. You want to think about it, you want to ponder it. Get your employees involved, get their input. Maybe it’s the marketing, maybe it’s the customer service, maybe it’s the staffing, maybe it’s the products.

The key for this week is you get started. Maybe you start thinking of several different ways of doing things, maybe review my presentations in BusinessTown about how to jumpstart your business. Often the hardest part is just getting started, and that’s why we want you to dive into your annual business plan right now, today, even if you can only spare a few minutes for it. Business is the business of America, and the rest of the world too, and you are an important part of it. Have a great business today.