I attended the Central West Business Summit last week. It was a very enjoyable day and I would encourage anyone in business in the Central West to attend. It was very well run with some great speakers including Michael Pascoe from Farifax Media. I can’t remember who the speaker was but one thing resonated with me as I think it is applicable to any business owner and the challenges they face. There was a slide in a presentation with a picture of the Cheshire Cat and Alice in front of two roads leading off into the distance. Alice asks the cat “Which road do I take?” and is answered by the Cheshire Cat with “Where do you want to go?” Alice says “I don’t know”, to which the cat replies “Well, any road will do”. The message from this as a business owner is that if you haven’t set out some goals and worked out a basic plan as how you are going to get there, then you can't take the correct path to building your business how you want.
After spending some time in the corporate world, the big difference I see between it and small business, is that every year, without fail, corporate entities start planning in the last quarter of the year for the next year. They consider what they want to achieve in the next year, and how they plan to achieve it. They convert as much of this plan as possible into possible financial outcomes, in other words a budget is formed. So the budget is really just a financial projection of their future plans. If the figures don’t add up to what they want, they change the plan. As the year goes on, the plans of some businesses are dramatically affected by forces outside their control. These businesses review and change the plan more often. But they still do it while keeping sight of their overall goals. This approach ensures a business starts the year with a clear idea of the road they want to take and how they plan to get there.