April 20, 2023

The Power of Planning


Man Yu Woodward

Small and medium business owners are the unsung heroes of the New Zealand economy. 97% of all firms in New Zealand are SMEs, accounting for 29.3% of employment, contributing over 25% of New Zealand’s GDP (data source: Stats NZ 2022).

Small and medium business owners can find themselves doing it all. They are the boss, the general manager, the financial controller, the sales manager, the marketing manager, the bookkeeper, the HR manager, and sometimes even the cleaner! Because of this, it is easy to get lost in the day-to-day operations without a sense of how or where the business is going.

While owning a business can be rewarding in many ways, business owners can feel overwhelmed and lonely at times as they are expected to know it all while at the same time being an inspirational leader for their team day in and day out.

What does business planning involve?

Planning is essential for running a successful business as it helps to align your daily activities with your specific business goals.

A Business Planning Session focuses on the following:

  • Identify your goals. Effective goal setting is not easy, especially when competing priorities like time constraints and other distractions exist. In a business planning session, you take the time to discuss what matters to you and your family and uncover what you want to achieve.
  • Creating an Action Plan. Once the goals are identified, you create an action plan with clear expectations of progress and outcomes for each goal. Then you need to agree on timeframes and deliverables so that you can measure your success.
  • Accountability. Using the action plan as your blueprint for success, you would meet regularly with your advisor to review your progress. As circumstances change constantly, this is also an opportunity to review the goals to ensure they are still relevant.

As part of the business planning process, you are provided with a platform to share your challenges and concerns with your advisor as your sounding board, allowing them to address any concerns and resolve any issues.

What are the benefits of Business Planning?

Every day is made up of a series of decisions that we make. Business planning helps owners focus on what matters most and enables them to lead the business with purpose towards a desired outcome. With a clear vision of where you want to be, it makes every day an opportunity to make decisions in the right direction.

Here are some examples of how we have worked with clients to get different outcomes based on their personal goals:

  • Discovering your why – Through business planning, we were able to support a client’s true ambition of growing their business by securing adequate funding requirements and connecting them with the right people in the industry. Prior to embarking on the business planning session, the client initially planned on selling their growing business but later discovered that was a result of stress and lack of support. The session enabled them to discover their why and what they truly wanted out of their business.
  • Getting a handle on cash flow – Through business planning, a client with inherent cash flow issues around the end of the year every year was able to take back control of cash flows by understanding the pressure points of their cash cycle, stepping into a stress-free December for the first time.
  • Overcoming growing pains – A client whose business had grown exponentially within a short time was struggling to keep up with the increased workload due to geographic and human resource constraints. Through business planning, we were able to redirect focus internally to improve on margin as opposed to fostering the growth in revenue.

Next Steps

Failing to plan is planning to fail – Alan Lakein

We are passionate about working with business owners to achieve their goals, whatever they may be.  If you would like to see changes in how you operate your business and make your business work for you, we have a team of experienced business advisors who will work with you to achieve your goals.