Managing a business means inevitable surprises — but that doesn’t mean planning isn’t important. Planning is an essential skill for managers that helps prevent surprises, stops waste and even inspires new ideas. So why do small businesses and managers need to plan? Here are seven reasons why planning is essential in any business.
Planning reduces waste.
Without a solid plan, employees may do the same thing twice, wasting both time — and for the business — money. Creating a plan helps make sure that everything that needs to be done is done on time, but without overlap. Something as simple as creating a schedule or a rotation for tasks like checking stock, cleaning bathrooms and checking company email both makes sure nothing gets neglected and staff resources aren’t wasted.
Planning creates a road map.
When managers plan, their employees know exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it. While there will always be inevitable interruptions, creating a general plan helps prevent down time and keeps employees happy by giving them a sense of purpose and direction.
Planning prioritizes information and keeps surprises at bay.
A good plan starts with research, which both helps create a stronger idea and prevents unpleasant surprises. When managers plan an event, for example, research helps keep the event from falling flat because an even bigger event is going on in the same town on the same day. Creating a plan may help managers spot things like new competition or new products.
Planning inspires new ideas.
Even the act of planning itself helps, because sitting down and writing out a plan requires brainstorming. And brainstorming inspires ideas that may have never happened otherwise. Creating a regular habit of making plans for a business inspires business owners and managers to continually find new ways to innovate in their field.
Planning measures progress.
When you put a plan down in writing, it’s much easier to see how the business is growing. A formal plan often starts with research and establishing current statistics like sales trends and customer satisfaction surveys. With that data right inside the plan, it’s easy to see whether or not that plan is working months down the road.
Planning makes a plan B.
The best plans factor in the unpredictable. You can’t have a Plan B without first having a Plan A. By creating not just a plan, but a flexible plan, businesses can better adapt to big changes in the industry. Planning can also help reduce smaller stresses — like creating an on-call list so you already know who to call when an employee calls in sick.
Planning promotes teamwork.
Chances are, that plan you developed is designed for more than just you. When an entire staff works on a plan together, the act itself creates a stronger relationship between employees. When staff are brought into a plan at the beginning and see the results at the end, the entire team ends up stronger from it.
Businesses need planning to thrive. By creating plans, whether small or large, businesses can reduce waste, create a road map, keep surprises away, inspire new ideas, measure progress, create a plan B and promote teamwork.