Wouldn’t it be nice if your business can be as effective as the A-Team? Any challenge you come up with, give them 60 minutes and they’ll come up with a plan, execute it and get you the result.

Anyone familiar with the television series The A-Team will be equally familiar with the leader of the group, Colonel Hannibal Smith. Every week, Hannibal and his team are faced with new targets and every week they solve it with a well executed plan and of course punctuated by his catch phrase “I love it when a plan comes together!”

Wouldn’t it be nice if your business can be as effective as the A-Team? Any challenge you come up with, give them 60 minutes and they’ll come up with a plan, execute it and get you the result. What if I suggest to you that you can have a business like that? Well, maybe not in exactly 60 minutes, but by following these 7 tested and proven steps of business planning, you too can get your team firing on all cylinders to achieve your business goals.

1. Take a look at your rear view mirror. Start your planning process by looking at what you achieved and make a note of what you have learnt. What did you do well, and what can be improved? Study your historical numbers such as your financial statements (namely your Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Statement of Cashflows) to see what your current situation is like. What are some possible goals based on this? Determine your Key Performance Indicators ( the key things you need to do well in order to improve your business) to help you create your plans.

2. Know your market. Having studied yourself and your business, you need to then cast your eyes on the market itself. This is a good time to do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. Focus on understanding your target market(s) – their needs, their wants, their frustrations and their habits. You need to also be familiar with your competitors ways of doing business.

3. Set your targets. What is it that you would like to achieve in this business cycle? A good tip here would be to tie your personal goals to your business targets. Like to build a swimming pool in your backyard? Well, let’s figure out how much more would we have to sell to get that and still allow your business to make a bit more money. Stick to 3 big goals per plan. My recommendation for the businesses I work with is always to make sure your top goal is revenue or profit related. After all, that is why we are in business isn’t it?

4. Make your plan. An action plan will help you and your team know exactly what’s going on. An action plan simply tells you who does what by when. No need for pages and pages of theories here – just a simple page that shows people’s duties for the coming quarter and when they are due by. This way everyone responsible for key initiatives will be help publicly accountable and everyone in the team will know what is expected of them and each other. Realize that you and your team have developed methods of getting results – use your strengths and get better at them.

5. Work your plan. Having a great plan without great action to follow the plan will leave you just with a great plan – no real results to speak of. Being focused on consistently following the plan will put you on the right path toward reaching your goals. Constantly review your progress against the plan by having regular meetings to make sure that everyone gets the support that they need.

6. Keep score. How long can you really be excited about playing a game without a score or an objective? Exactly. The same goes for your business. You and your team need to know whether you’re winning or losing and if you are getting closer to that finish line. This is the importance of having scoreboards in your businesses or departments. Make sure everyone makes time to look at the scoreboard regularly and adjust their actions accordingly.

7. Allow room for flexibility. As much as we’d like it to, the chances of things always happening according to plan are quite small. One of the wonderful things about this world is that things change. And they change often. So make a little room for being flexible – what if an incredible opportunity comes along, or if we see a glaring weakness that we feel we need to fix? Ask yourself these three questions: a) is it a nice thought? b) is it a good idea? and c) is it a must? If your answer is “it is a must” – then do it!

And there you have it. 7 simple steps that you can take to make your business team become your own A-Team. Imagine being at the end of the quarter, looking back on all your accomplishments and being able to say “I love it when a plan comes together!”Enjoy the application of this in your life and business!

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  1. Well, I agree with what you wrote, but not with all of it. Regardless, it’s all excellent material. Thanks!

    • Thank you very much for your time commenting this article. It’s always natural for anyone to have their own point of view. Thank you for raising up your opinion. :)

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