As we all #stayhome, many of us are looking around the house for projects to keep ourselves occupied. (I have cleaned my basement and shed out so far!)
But for small business owners, this is a stressful time. Many have shuttered their doors, laid off or furloughed employees and do not know when things will return to normal. It is stressful to say the least. And the government is trying to help, but for many it is unclear if they will qualify and for what.
So let’s make lemonade.
What is that project you have been thinking of launching but have not had the opportunity to do?
Planning is often pushed to the back burner because it is never urgent or pressing. But you wouldn’t be an entrepreneur if you did not realize that long term planning is important.
President Dwight Eisenhower said in a 1954 speech: “ I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” This has become known as the Eisenhower Principal and is often depicted in matrix form.
This time management lesson from the past can be your business (and sanity) saver of today.
Traditionally, short time planning refers to processes or projects that will show results within a year. For many small businesses, planning a year out seems like long term planning, and that is ok.
Whatever the planning is that you have been pushing to the back burner, that is the planning we are talking about here.
Here are some steps to get you started.
Now is a great time to revisit your business’s vision. Has it changed since you started. For clarity, the difference between vision and mission: Mission is the business and its objectives. The vision is what the business will look like at full realization.
As an example, here is Ikea’s
Mission: Offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
Vision: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
Chances are your mission has not changed, but maybe your vision has. Revisit it.
SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
Now is a great time to conduct an analysis of your business. Get out your colored pens and notepad! (or not, you might have a different style).
This is also a great opportunity for team members to be heard and a great opportunity for you to hear from them.
Create a SMART Goals and an Action Plan
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable, Timely.
An action plan should be written and changeable. It should lay out the steps to your goals.
Communicate that strategy
And develop a system for strategic and regular communication. Each member of the team should be aware of the goals and the progress.
Regular communication will help everyone feel connected to the project and not forget about it.
For yourself and for your team. This does not have to be punitive. There can be peer to peer accountability or you can have a third party help hold the team accountable. But everyone, including the boss, needs to uphold their responsibilities.
Do not bombard your employees with a whole new revamped business model or 13 new initiatives upon their return.
It will not go well. Be sure your planning is planned strategically and timed appropriately for success of the business and the employees.
While you have had time to conceptualize, think and rethink, your team probably has not. They will need time to see how they can fit into this new project or initiative. Some on your team may also see this as a threat especially if it affects a core aspect of their duties.