How will you know if your plan is a good one?

Like me you may spend time every so often on your vision and your goals. Most likely you start by looking into the distance and then work backwards to quarterly and monthly goals, then list exactly what actions need to be taken on a weekly and daily basis.

But will that all work? If you did everything your plan dictates, would it achieve your vision and your goals? The big question is…how will you know if your plan is a good one?

One of the things from interviewing many top Aussie entrepreneurs and business owners is that they all have a very clear vision of where they’re going and why it’s important to them. They have goals and plans in place to achieve their vision.

But with any new plan, idea, or initiative there is a major step that many people and small businesses miss, and it’s a crucial part of the process. It’s to constantly test and measure everything you do each step of the way because no matter how good a plan looks on paper, if it isn’t going to get you where you want to go it’s worthless.

Successful small businesses and entrepreneurs know whether a plan is or isn’t working because they relentlessly watch and measure the results. More importantly they know what actually needs to be measured because if you measure the wrong things you might as well not measure anything at all.

For example:

  • Is it your conversion rate?

If lead generation is part of your plan then what may be more important to your business is not the amount of leads generated but the percentage of those leads that convert to sales.

  • Is it new ideas?

If part of the plan is constant improvement and continual innovation then the measure of success might not be the quantity of new ideas implemented by your team on a monthly basis but the amount of problems those ideas have actually solved.

Here are three things to consider:

  1. Measurements will vary with every plan and every business so the important thing to remember is that the measurements work for your situation and let you know if you are on track.
  2. Measurements also need to be put in place at the planning stage, not afterwards. Build them in as part of the plan.
  3. You need to constantly check the measurements as your plan unfolds. If it meets or exceeds those measurements, excellent, if not then you need to ask why and be flexible and brave enough to refine and tweak the plan as needed.

Remember…test and measure everything every step of the way, because it is cheaper, easier and faster to refine a plan as you go than get to the end and have to start over.

Nigel Collin, Business Coach and Author of “Game of Inches”

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