As I do planning sessions with clients, I can tell some are not particularly excited initially. They take a bit to warm up. For some people I guess planning is boring and they switch off. But if making more money, working less hours and reducing the stress in your life excites you … then read on.
Yes, planning is essential for special projects, whether it be a Christmas dinner or Commonwealth Games. Planning is fantastic for achieving goals, but there is a third aspect of planning that some business owners just don’t do. It’s what I call the ‘day by day’ planning.
Let me share some examples. You mow your lawns and you use up the last of your spare fuel in the jerry can. It’s ok, you’ve finished so you put your mower away. Now the planning and organised person who thinks ahead will put the jerry can in the car to grab some fuel when next filling the car. This will avoid you starting the mowing next time, running out of fuel, having to make a special trip to the petrol station, returning, filling the mower and resuming the task. What might have been an hour task, has now doubled in time.
It’s also good to know about Planning for Disaster – Big and Small
It’s 7pm and you’re starving so you go to the fridge and there is nothing there. The freezer has a steak … and you know you have some potatoes in the cupboard. You could make a nice potato bake with the spuds, some cream and bacon bits. Problem, you’re out of cream. A trip to the corner store. You put the steak on, but realise the potato bake will take heaps longer … the steak will have to sit for almost an hour whilst the bake becomes ready. This simple activity requires a good degree of planning.
You invoice clients monthly for regular services based on time taken. One client, Jack, who you know watches his invoices carefully, has needed some extra work. The bill is 50% more than it normally is. The work was necessary, but if you think about it, he’s going to ‘flip’ when he gets the bill. You could not plan for this ‘fire’ and simply issue the bill, hope he realises why it’s larger, but if not, worry about that later. Yes, in every likelihood, you’re going to get a call from a super irate client threatening to leave your company. Firefighter time! Or, you plan, ideally alerting him before the work is done that there is extra necessary and it will take longer OR you communicate with him BEFORE the bill is issued, advising it’s larger and why. Anticipate the client’s reaction and handle it before it happens.
You’ve got a big mail out coming up which MUST go out same day … do you just dump the envelopes at reception or do you warn the receptionist a few days prior, so s/he can ensure she has adequate stamps. The firefighter runs around at the last minute, running to the post office to buy stamps and then helping the receptionist apply stamps so you make the 6pm mail. Everyone is in a panic, the receptionist is annoyed because there is always these last minute disasters and instead of returning client phone calls, you’re attaching stamps. In fact, this snowballs and one client you were meant to ring back, has left by the time you go to call and they are cranky you didn’t call them till the next day.
In all the above scenarios, you can choose to plan, be organised OR continue to be the firefighter. The choice belongs to you, and you alone. I can’t help but wonder, do you enjoy the thrill of a disaster? I recognise that some people do … however I believe most prefer a day which is effective, runs on schedule, goes to plan (within reason) and is uneventful and without stress. As I said – the choice is yours.
If you need some guidance on planning (for goal setting or ‘day by day’ planning) give me a call at 1800 77 65 61. Planning is one of the areas I excel at.