Business planning consultant + author

William Matthies

ARTICLES

Planning to Change?

 

Change is as inevitable as breathing; you couldn’t not do it if you wanted to. But how good at it are you? Or does asking that seem unnecessary when talking about something that will absolutely happen no matter what you do?

Be careful of the semantics in that last question. Change will happen, but that’s not to say you can’t control or affect the outcome. Much of both the good and certainly the bad things we experience, happen because we did or did not do something that would have produced a better outcome. Change that happened to us rather than because of us, and while you may be willing to accept that in certain circumstances, don’t do so in your job or business.

I’ve spent much of the last four years researching the process of change, both in business and in our personal lives, reaching some surprising, sometimes unsettling conclusions. And when I apply this to CE, I unfortunately see an overwhelming majority of retailers and manufacturers, including the individuals who work in these companies, who are doing almost the exact opposite of what they should do if they wish to control their destiny.

How about you? Ask yourself the following questions to get some idea.

  1. Other than profit or personal income, good or bad, does your business/job look much as it did to you one or two years ago?
  2. Do you think more about what has happened to you than you think about what you’ve done to control things?
  3. Do you agree that you need to continually do all you can to make your business/job better?

If you said yes to one and/or two, and/or no to the third, you’re along for the ride, not likely doing anywhere near enough to control or even affect your business or personal future.

The amount of change that has occurred in the last four years is staggering, likely exceeding anything since the onset of the Great Depression. You and/or your business are nowhere near the same and the only question is, to what extent do you recognize what you’ve become?

But even that last question is “rear view mirror” in nature. What you need to focus on is what you want to happen, and here’s what you need to do to see that occur.

Decide now what you want to happen and be specific and positive. No “I want to make more money” or “I don’t like the people I work with”. Describe in detail the future you want.

Once you know that, determine the strategy you will use to get what you want. Change your job, sell, expand or contract your business; in short, your overall approach.

With that done, move on to the specifics. Short of winning the lottery, “changing your job” implies you will find something else to do, so what will that be? If you plan to downsize your business, to what, how? Be specific about timing, remembering that “ASAP” is not a date.

How much will whatever you do, cost? If you can plan to do it and it costs money (what doesn’t?), find out how much and either plan to have whatever that is, available when you need it, or find some other way.

And finally, who will do whatever it is that needs to get done, recognizing that very little can be done only by you.

Those of you familiar with planning will recognize this for the planning outline it is. What, how, when, how much, by who? Disappointed? Maybe expecting a silver bullet roadmap to a better future? Rest assured there is a bullet with how much or little you plan, determining whether the bullet is headed toward you or away from you.

Copyright 2015 Williams Matthies