Someone once said “battles are won in the general’s tent,” and I think this is a great analogy for business. Sure, a general will spend some time in the trenches with his soldiers, but the most successful one spends time away from the trenches, in his tent strategizing, planning, and setting objectives and goals important for victory. As business owners we are the generals of our businesses and, like a good general, we too need to step out of the trenches and spend time in the general’s tent. Now is the time to do that and start thinking about your plan for 2015.
Much has been written about the importance of planning and goal setting and the role they play in being successful in business (and in life). Jim Rohn, well-known business philosopher and speaker, says “Well defined goals act like magnets. They pull you in their direction.” In spite of all the resources on the power of planning and setting goals, too many independent residential contractors don’t take themselves out of the trenches long enough to work on this critical element to success. So, break away from the pack by choosing to create a decisive strategic business plan which will empower you to move closer to the successful vision you have for your business.
Your plan for 2015 should be made up of two elements, both of which MUST be in writing (if it’s not written, it’s not real!). The first is the quantifiable element. This includes revenue goals as well as goals for gross profit, overhead expenses, and net profit. This goal represents what you want your P&L statement to look like each month and annually. The best plans actually break out each element on the P&L statement by month. If you’ve never planned financial goals before, start with just a monthly revenue plan and add in the other items down the road.
The second main element of a good plan is the tactical element. This element includes the detailed action steps you must take in order to achieve the financial goals you set. After all, growth isn’t going to magically happen on its own. You have to plan for:
- Hiring new employees
- Purchasing new trucks
- Marketing to generate calls
- Reducing labor and materials expenses
- Training your staff and empowering them to do business the way you want it done
- Maximizing opportunities that lead to happier customers and more profit.
- You must have a plan on how you will do these things or else they end up not getting done.
I know you want to be successful and have a growing and profitable business. Do yourself, your employees, and your business a favor and start working on your plan now for 2015. Remember, you are the general of your business. If you’re not in the general’s tent planning a strategy for victory, then who is?