The connection between a business plan and the productivity in your business is not something which is obvious to most business owners. This is why a lot of business owners never write a business plan, or if they do, promptly lose it in their desk never to be seen again.
For most business owners, the prospect of writing a business plan, let alone implementing it, seems like an overwhelming task that will eat up time they already don't feel they have.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
A business plan, when properly used can actually save you time and enhance your productivity. It enables you to put your thoughts about your business down on paper and get an objective distance that can be used to help you improve the way you run your business.
Let me share with you 5 reasons a business plan can boost your productivity.
1. A business plan helps you discover the strengths and weaknesses of your business.
A lot of business owners only have a vague sense of the strengths and weaknesses of their business. As a result it's very hard to be productive because their reactively scrambling to resolve issues and problems and not always doing it effectively.
Imagine how that would change if they just knew the strengths and weaknesses of the business and themselves.
A business plan gives you an opportunity to take a step back and look at your business from a birds eyes view, so that you can discover what's working and what's holding you back. And when you know your strengths and weaknesses, then you know where you're productive and where there's a need for improvement.
2. A business plan allows you to identify what parts of your business are taking up too much time.
Part of boosting your productivity also involves recognizing what business activities are taking up too much time. Those activities could be something you're strong in, but you're still giving them too much time.
A business plan lets you evaluate the time you're putting into activities and asks you the critical question: "What is the return on investment for this activity?"
Part of being productive boils down to doing work in your business that your tribe actually wants from you, but part of being productive also involves setting up the right systems to handle the work that needs to be done to run the business, so that you can put time into the activities that allow you to connect with your tribe.
3. A business plan helps you define the activities that produce the most return on investment for your time.
If you don't know which activities produce the most return on investment for your time, its likely because you haven't looked at the numbers. One of the benefits of putting a business plan together is that it helps you take a look at your finances, which gives you insight into what activities are working or not working, so that you can make changes instead of just burning through money.
You don't want to just limit your look at the numbers to finances. You also want to look at your analytics for your websites, landing pages, and other marketing activities, because this can also show you who you're connecting with and how they're responding to your marketing.
4. Your productivity is improved when you have boundaries that protect your activities.
Another benefit of a business plan is that provides you the chance to define your boundaries. If you've ever felt like you've gone through a work day getting nothing done, you know its likely because there were lots of distractions getting in the way of your efforts. A business plan won't necessarily take all those distractions, but what you can use it for is to help you determine what your schedule should look like, and what boundaries you'll put into place to protect that schedule.
For example, I don't take calls on Fridays because that's a day I put aside for content creation. In my plan, I created a schedule with boundaries described that I can then communicate to my clients, and also enforce on my end. This enhances my productivity, because instead of approaching the day without a plan, I've defined what each given day should help me achieve and also defined the boundaries I'll put into place to support that work, and keep me productive.
5. A business plan maps out the systems that will help you grow your business.
A business plan helps you forecast the future of your business and put into place systems that will help you achieve that future. A business without systems is a business that has the business owner running around, trying to do everything, instead of automating and delegating work. A business with systems enables you to delegate or automate work, so that you can focus on the high priority activities that will help you grow your business.
When you don't have a map for the future, you have no way to move forward. When I created my first business plan, 3 years, after I started the business, it helped me cut out a lot of activities that weren't helping me grow the business, and helped me start to develop criteria and systems that could focus my work. The benefit for me was that I was no longer operating in a vacuum, trying to get everyting to work. Instead I could focus in on the areas of businesses that needed work and set up systems to support the areas of business that were already producing results.