In the dynamic landscape of business, having a robust plan is akin to having a GPS for your company’s journey. Yet, the effectiveness of this guiding beacon is contingent on two critical elements: a solid structure and a consistent process.

The Backbone: Solid Structure

Imagine trying to build a house without a blueprint. It’s a daunting task, fraught with uncertainties. Similarly, drafting a plan to run your business without a well-defined structure for planning is akin building a house without knowing what rooms to include or any dimensions. It’s the framework that ensures every component fits seamlessly into the larger picture.

A solid structure provides clarity. It delineates responsibilities, sets milestones, and establishes a clear path towards objectives. It’s the foundation upon which a business can confidently chart its course, knowing that every step is intentional and purposeful.

The Engine: Consistent Process

Consistency is the engine that drives progress. It ensures that the plan remains dynamic and relevant in the face of ever-changing circumstances. Just as a GPS provides real-time updates on traffic and road conditions, a consistent planning process keeps the business agile and responsive.

With a defined process in place, adjustments become a seamless part of the journey. It enables the business to adapt to market shifts, capitalize on emerging opportunities, and navigate through challenges with confidence.

The GPS for Business Success

Together, a solid structure and a consistent process form the GPS for a business. They provide a reliable roadmap, ensuring that everyone in the company knows where they are, where they’re headed, and precisely how to get there.

Incorporating this powerful combination into your business strategy isn’t just about planning; it’s about empowering your team with the tools they need to steer towards success, even in uncharted territories. It’s the assurance that no matter what twists and turns arise, the destination remains within reach.

So, as you embark on your business journey, remember: a well-structured plan, supported by a consistent process, isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity. It’s the difference between wandering and purposefully progressing towards your business goals.
In the end, it’s not just about the plan; it’s about the journey, and the confidence that comes from knowing you’re on the right path.

Investing in a documented, well-structured plan for your business isn’t just a choice, it’s a strategic move. It’s more than a roadmap; it’s a catalyst for success.

Surprisingly, fewer than 20% of small to medium-sized business leaders seize this advantage. If you’re among the 80% skeptical about the value of plotting your business’s course, it’s time to reevaluate. The potential returns, both for you and your company, are nothing short of transformative.

What’s the real return on this investment? Here’s just a few of the areas that will quickly show a measurable ROI.

Business Growth and Profitability

ROI: Increased revenue and profitability.
How: A well-structured, narrative plan helps businesses identify growth opportunities, streamline operations, and optimize resource allocation, resulting in increased revenue and profitability.

Operational Efficiency

ROI: reduced operational costs and resource wastage
How: Effective planning improves operational efficiency by eliminating redundancies, minimizing inefficiencies, and optimizing resource allocation, leading to cost savings.

Informed Decision-Making

ROI: Better decision-making, minimizing risks.
How: A clearly written plan equips business leaders with the skills and insights needed to make informed decisions based on data, market insights, and clear objectives, reducing the risk of costly mistakes.

Enhanced Productivity and Time Management

ROI: Improved productivity and time management.
How: Effective planning allows businesses to prioritize tasks, allocate resources efficiently, and optimize time management, resulting in improved productivity and reduced time wastage.

Strategic Business Expansion

ROI: Successful expansion into new markets or ventures.
How: A coherent and complete documented plan helps businesses analyze markets, identify growth opportunities, and devise actionable strategies for expansion, leading to successful market entry and growth.

Accountability and Measurement

ROI: Enhanced accountability and measurement of results.
How: A documented plan creates accountability and allows for the measurement of progress against predefined goals, leading to a better understanding of what works and what needs improvement.

Adaptability and Resilience

ROI: Increased adaptability and resilience in a changing market.
How: Businesses with structured plans are better prepared to navigate changing market conditions, pivot when necessary, and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Competitive Advantage

ROI: A stronger position in the market.
How: Planning tools and processes help businesses differentiate themselves from competitors by enabling them to offer innovative products or services and provide superior customer value.

Reduced stress, more control

ROI: Improved personal well-being and balance.
How: Taking ideas out of your head and putting them down in a document creates clarity. Clarity creates confidence. You and your team will sleep better at night knowing where you are going and how you will get there.

Investment Attractiveness

ROI: Increased attractiveness to investors and lenders.
How: A well-structured plan demonstrates a clear vision and strategy, making the business more appealing to potential investors and lenders, leading to increased access to capital.

Embracing the discipline of operating from a documented plan carries no exorbitant expenses, only an investment of time and effort. This habit, however, pays dividends beyond measure. It doesn’t just refine business performance; it enriches personal fulfillment. The resulting ROI encompasses amplified revenue, streamlined costs, astute decision-making, and a fortified competitive edge. These factors amalgamate to chart the course for the sustainable growth of your company. The question isn’t whether you can afford to invest in a structured plan, it’s whether you can afford not to.

Discover the Secrets to Maximizing Efficiency and Success for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses


In the intricate tapestry of nature, the flight of geese offers a remarkable lesson in teamwork, strategy, and efficiency. For small to medium-sized business leaders, this avian marvel provides valuable insights into effective business planning and alignment. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of geese in flight and unveil the strategies that can elevate your business to new heights.

Why Geese are Great Business Planners:

Much like successful businesses, geese are exceptional planners. Their migratory journey, spanning thousands of miles, is a testament to their strategic prowess. Every aspect of their flight is meticulously calculated – from route selection to timing. Small to medium-sized business leaders can learn from this precision, understanding the importance of detailed business planning for sustained growth and success.

Maximizing Efficiency through Formation:

Research has shown that geese flying in formation are an astounding 72% more efficient than when flying solo. This principle can be directly applied to business operations. When teams are aligned and working in harmony, the collective effort results in significantly higher efficiency and productivity. This serves as a powerful reminder for SMB leaders to foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork.

The Power of Alignment:

Geese showcase exceptional alignment in flight. Each bird maintains a specific position relative to the others, reducing air resistance and conserving energy. In the business world, alignment translates to a shared vision, clear communication, and a unified approach to goals. When every member of the team understands their role and works towards a common objective, the business can achieve remarkable efficiency and success.

Is your flock flying in formation?


As small to medium-sized business leaders, the flight of geese offers an invaluable lesson in effective business planning and alignment. By taking inspiration from these avian marvels, businesses can soar to new heights of efficiency and success. So, ask yourself: Is your flock flying in formation? Embrace the lessons from the sky, and watch your business reach new horizons.


How Collaborative Planning Fosters a Stronger Workforce and Reduces Turnover

In the fast-paced world of business, employee retention is a key metric of success. Retaining talented individuals not only saves resources but also contributes to a more stable and productive work environment. But how can you keep your best employees engaged and committed for the long term? The answer might lie in the simple yet powerful concept of teamwork and collaborative planning.

The Importance of Employee Retention

Before we dive into the benefits of collaborative planning, let’s first understand why employee retention is so crucial. High turnover rates can be costly and disruptive to any organization. The expense of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees, along with the loss of institutional knowledge, can take a toll on productivity and profitability. Moreover, a revolving door of employees can negatively impact workplace morale and cohesion.

The Power of Collaborative Planning

Now, let’s explore how collaborative planning can help address the challenge of employee retention.

  1. Fostering a Sense of Ownership:
  • When employees are involved in the planning process, they feel a sense of ownership over their work and the direction of the company. This feeling of being part of something bigger can significantly boost job satisfaction.
  1. Building Stronger Relationships:
  • Collaborative planning encourages communication and teamwork among employees. It brings people from various departments together to share ideas and insights. This interaction strengthens workplace relationships, creating a more cohesive and supportive team.
  1. Aligning Goals and Expectations:
  • Planning together ensures that everyone understands the company’s goals and their role in achieving them. This alignment reduces misunderstandings and helps employees see how their contributions directly impact the organization’s success.
  1. Empowering Problem-Solving:
  • When teams plan together, they become more adept at problem-solving. They learn to identify challenges early and work together to find solutions. This not only enhances productivity but also fosters a culture of innovation.
  1. Recognizing Individual Contributions:
  • Collaborative planning allows leaders to recognize and reward individual contributions. Acknowledging employees’ efforts and achievements can boost morale and motivation.
  1. Providing Growth Opportunities:
  • Planning sessions often reveal opportunities for skill development and career growth. Employees who see a clear path for advancement are more likely to stay with an organization.

Consider the following real-life examples of companies that have embraced collaborative planning to improve employee retention:

Conclusion: Start Planning Together Today

In today’s competitive job market, retaining top talent is a strategic imperative. Collaborative planning not only helps organizations achieve their goals more effectively but also creates a workplace where employees feel valued and engaged. By planning together, you can foster a stronger, more cohesive team that’s not only productive but also committed for the long haul. So, start planning together today and watch your team thrive and stay together.

Remember, teams that plan together truly do stay together.

Have you experienced the benefits of collaborative planning in your workplace? Share your thoughts and success stories in the comments below.

What makes your company remarkable? What makes your business unique? How do you differentiate your company from others in your market? What is your secret sauce? These are simple questions. Can you offer a simple answer that resonates with your audience?

Every business is unique, even those operating in highly competitive environments, selling “commodity” products and services. Getting clear about your uniqueness is important as it sets the foundation for your marketing material, web page, and sales tools. If you ask these questions to different members of your team, how consistent are the answers?

Companies evolve over time. What made your business remarkable last year might be
different today and will be different again in the future. Here is an easy exercise that will help you and your team draft a current version of your Unique Business Proposition. Try answering these four questions:

1. What do you do? (use short, bullet-point answers)

2. How do you do it?

3. Where do you operate?

4. Who are you? (What special expertise or talent do you offer? Is there something
special about your company culture and values?)

Somewhere in this mix, you should start to see elements that are unique or different about
your company. Try drafting two or three versions of your Unique Business Proposition,
what makes you remarkable. Next, talk with your customers about this topic (without leading them). Listen very carefully to what they say. If you repeat this exercise each time you refresh your business plan, 3-4 times a year, your entire team will have a current version, your website will gain traction, and you will boost confidence in your marketing and sales team. For more information on planning structure and content please visit


I love my business plan. And it loves me back.

I have a written plan for my business. It is organized, relatively short, succinct, coherent, complete. I take good care of it. I keep it current, change it frequently, and take it with me wherever I go.

My business plan loves me back. Let me count the ways!

It keeps me focussed on my highest priorities.

I get a warm feeling each quarter when my team and I meet to review our progress and set new targets. The energy and excitement at these meetings is intoxicating.

I take it with me twice a year to show it to my bank manager. She loves it too. She even shows it to her boss. They like having us as a customer and are looking forward to lending us more money when we need it.

All our employees love it. They helped to write it, it’s their baby. They know what the other departments are working on which makes everyone’s job easier.

We show it to our new employees. They are really impressed and want to know more about how they can help us meet our goals. They tell me that their friends often ask them why they are so excited about working at our company and want to know how to get a job here.

I show I to my spouse. She doesn’t understand all of it, but she likes it too. She notices that I’m much less stressed now and seem to have more time for her and the family. She is excited that we already have three vacations scheduled this year.

I show it to our business partners. Our suppliers and distributors really, really like it. We’ve become very efficient at finding new opportunities where we can improve our products and services, and better ways to connect with our customers. I notice that they now have a written plan for their business. It is starting to feel like, together, we are unstoppable.

I show it to our marketing consultants. They love it too. It helps them make insightful changes to our web site, and other marketing material. With the core business descriptions clearly outlined in our plan, they can focus more of their time on the creative side, which is what they do best.

Did I mention that we’ve made record profits the last three years in a row?

I love my business plan!

If you want more information on how you can create a written plan for your business, please visit

#business #planning #team #love #happyvalentinesday

If you’re ready to take your business plan to the next level, you’ll want to keep reading. The first step for writing a planning document for your business is designing the structure for your plan. With a clear and coherent structure, the task of planning is much easier. You simply fill in the content and Presto! you have a working plan for your business. And the structure can be reused each time you need to make a change to your plans.
To help you get started, we designed a universal structure that will fit any business, large or small, at any stage of its growth, from start-up to preparing for sale.
Here is an outline of the Plan Genie 5-Step Structure. This will help you document where you are today, where you intend to take your company, and how you will get there. Let’s dive into the structure and take actionable steps!
Step 1 – Plan Summary
This is a short, 1-2 page, document that contains the following information
– Your Unique Business Proposition – What makes your company remarkable?
– Your Purpose – “Why” does your company exist, as seen from the customer’s perspective?
– Your long-term goals (3 years)
– Your short-term goals (1 year)
– A list of major action items that you intend to pursue that will help you accomplish your goals (strategy)
Step 2 – Values/Culture
Another short document that identifies and clarifies how you expect everyone in the
company to behave and exercise judgment when dealing with non-routine challenges that arise.
Step 3 – Where you are now
Four important pieces of information that explain your current picture and help you identify changes going forward:
– Description of your target market
– Description of the products and services that you offer, with pricing.
– Description of your current partners, alliances, and influencers
– Description of your major competitors
Step 4 – Departmental Action Plans
This document contains a list of 90-day action plans/projects that covers up to 8 sections of your business:
– Marketing
– Sales
– Operations/service delivery
– People, (attraction, selection retention)
– Technology
– Partners, Alliances, Influencers
– Finance and Administration
– Community and Environment
Step 5 – Organization Structure
Two diagrams: your current organization chart, and a future chart that shows the changes in resources needed to execute the action plans laid out in Step 4.
Once you have captured this information on your initial draft, it is easy to review and update. It’s truly the structuring and planning that have a lasting impact on achieving your business goals. Now that you’re ready to move your business forward, consider passing on the gems by sharing this article with another leader. For more information on documenting a plan for your business, please visit our website
 #business #growth #community #culture #strategy
In an article published by The Globe and Mail, author Jon Umstead proposes that running your business from a documented plan will increase your odds of success by 30-50%. He further states that business leaders who learn how to be better planners not only improve their own business and personal success, but they can collectively change economic growth throughout the country. This article is worth a read. See the link at the end.

When I first read this article several years ago, it deeply resonated with me. I knew from my own business experience and from chairing a CEO peer group, that documented plans, along with a commitment to an ongoing planning process, really work. I’m now on a quest to help business leaders everywhere be more successful through better planning.

Here are three things to consider when business planning:

Structure the plan

This is where you’ll plant the seed for your business. Once you have a clear picture of what information to include in the plan, and what isn’t necessary, this work can go quickly. With a solid structure, it’s simply a matter of adding content. And content can be easily changed and revised over time using the same structure.

Document the plan

Plans kept in your head, or another person’s head aren’t helpful. Allow yourself to free your mental real estate by writing out your ideas. Only when you distill your ideas into a document can these ideas be understood and added to by others.

Commit to the plan

Even well-structured and fully documented plans grow stale quickly. Every business leader quickly learns that effective planning is a continuous process. It requires discipline to stick to a review schedule with so many competing demands on your time. Take a break, check on your progress, celebrate your achievements, and reset priorities for the next quarter.

Over the past few years, we developed a structure for planning in business that makes this task relatively easy for any size business at any stage of growth. We are also compiling resources about planning on our website If you have any great tools that you have used successfully, or insights, or questions on this topic, I would love to hear from you.

If you are already on the planning “bandwagon”, please share this message with others. Let’s get the economy going again.

 #business #experience #growth #share #businessleaders #change

What happens when we don’t plan?

Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great”, in his keynote address to a
recent international Vistage Chair conference summarized 12 attributes
of great leaders he has studied.

Observation number one: there is a strong correlation between
planning and improved results.

The criminal mastermind known as The Joker, who’s famous quote
includes: “I don’t have a plan, I just do things”. Which is why he has
never really achieved anything despite being this charismatic character.

He is the mirror image of Batman who observes, analyses, and only
acts once he has a plan of action… the Joker has a loose goal, but he
just does things hoping they will somehow help him reach that goal…
His luck is mistaken for talent.

Are you Batman or The Joker?

For more information on how to run your business from a written plan,
please check out our web site

I’ll Show you mine, if you show me yours!


Are you ready and willing to show me yours? – Your Business Plan, that is.

Sharing your written plans with others outside your business is one of the best ways to bring clarity and insights to this document, yet many business leaders are often reluctant to do this.

The key is finding the right audience, someone you trust and is willing to challenge your thinking and provide fresh perspectives. Ideally, you also want someone who has a broad business experience, and not necessarily in your industry.


Some possible examples:

  • Business leaders you may know in other industries who are not connected with your business in any way. Offer to review their plan and exchange ideas – “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” This could be done one-to-one or with a small group, spaced over time. (If you are involved in a CEO peer group such as The Executive Committee, you have access to this type of opportunity on a regular basis.)


  • Senior business bankers


  • Senior business accountants


  • Other professional advisors, such as M&A firms, business coaches or consultants


  • An advisory board (distinct from a formal board)


  • A mentor or coach


You are looking for a coach’s perspective: Does this plan make sense to you? What parts need clarification? What’s missing? Where are my challenges, opportunities, blind spots?

This may be too large a task to complete is a single meeting and may be better tackled one section at a time.

Presenting your plan to others will require you to be more succinct in documenting the plan and will lead to much greater clarity. And, clarity creates confidence.

Don’t be shy, ask for help. I think you will find most people you ask will feel flattered that you reached out to them.

If you need help in structuring your working plan, please visit our web site,