If you are in business, whether a business with one team member or 50, I’m hopeful you have your business plan mapped out for 2024. I’m also reasonably confident that some parts of that plan may come asunder. What is your strategy if that happens?
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I’ve seen it occur repeatedly with business owners. They set their future plan, get hit with a dose of reality and fall flat. The plan goes out the window. The adrenalin and endorphin rush that comes with a new plan has abated and the heightened energy level has left you.
That’s not necessarily how it should be.
When you put that plan together, you were looking forward. You were brave enough to commit your numbers and what you want to achieve on paper or an Excel spreadsheet.
Mike Tyson famously said: “Everybody has plans ... until they get punched in the mouth.”
Everyone has a plan until that first smack in the mouth, but don’t bin the plan because of one knock. Most of it should survive that first blow despite everyone being focused on the bit that is hurting.
Keep the old plan in mind when working out the new plan. In other words, while you might have a swollen eye, your arms and legs are still working.
The planning process, in itself, is critical even if elements of the plan change in the face of reality. The new plan must address the “right now” reality.
You must pivot, but you can’t abandon the plan completely. Keep the parts that work. What you need are decisive decisions to get you out of that situation.
I’ve rarely seen a plan that’s not tested or challenged.
Here’s where strategies come to the fore:
- Have a trusted person to scrutinise and review the plan. John Wall referred to this person as the “unofficial board member of your business”.
- Commit to choices rather than to circumstances. Obviously, there may come a point where market conditions take precedence though.
- Michael McQueen, well-known Australian futurist, speaker and author, said to “focus on tides and not the waves”. Think about ChatGPT as the wave while the real focus should be the tide, which is the impact of AI on our real estate industry over the coming decade. Your business needs to exhibit the ability to discern the waves from the tides. Rather than attempting to pivot for every circumstantial change – be that passing trend or flavour – succeed by recognising which changes are here to stay, allowing you to move forward without compromising stability, time or resources.
- Find and focus on case studies.
- Dig deeper with your questions when something happens. Don’t stop at the first or second. Going four or five deep will give a greater understanding of the situation … and the solution.
- Self-reflection, self-understanding and self-accountability make up a skill set you can learn rather than something you were born with, and a skill set commonly seen in highly successful people.
Time becomes less of a factor when you are focusing on meaningful change over three or four years rather than one or two months. I am still a massive advocate of quarterly strategies and goals, but please have them firmly tied to the longer-term plan.
Execution requires what I describe as “that catalytic first step”.
Ask yourself: “What is the first step that triggers me to head down the path that I need to head down for these things to happen?” A lot of people write the plan, but no catalytic step is ever taken. It’s hard to describe because it is not so much a tangible piece of logic as a feeling … one of pending change and clearly positive.
I have truly experienced inflection points and catalytic steps that have led to or hastened changing trajectories a number of times in my life, when I’ve suddenly got that feeling change is coming, and it’s good.
It’s generally around this time of year the first punch lands. So, ask yourself, when you get smacked – when your plans go asunder – what will you do?
Joel Davoren is the managing director of RE/MAX Australia.
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