Annual game plan critical to business success

game-planJust as a rugby team needs a proper game plan, successful business owners need an annual plan to guide their growth focus on main priorities, track their progress and manage their resources, says Lorraine Myburgh, senior adviser in Durban from Sanlam.

The good news for business owners is that Sanlam recently launched an e-book specifically aimed at them, which sets out a framework for a well-crafted Game Plan for Success needed to grow a business.

Lorraine says an annual game plan is critical to the success of any business. It allows you to move proactively towards defined objectives, rather than just react to business events. You can focus on priorities, and allocate limited resources where they will do the most good. You can embrace your strengths, and move away from your weaknesses. You can track your progress towards goals, measure results, and manage the business.

A business game plan should not be confused with your original business plan, however. “Whereas your business plan got you into the game, a game plan keeps you in the game,” says Lorraine. “To continue the rugby analogy, it’s easy to see how you’re going to win the game from the locker room (your original business plan), but you also need to have a plan that takes into account what actually happens on the field once play starts. Your game plan is the deciding factor between your business growing and succeeding, or not.”

Because it involves thoroughly reviewing every aspect of your business – including personal financial planning against risks and saving for retirement – a game plan allows you to improve your business performance, exploit opportunities, identify threats and continually improve market share, volume and profitability.

“Your business truly is the sum of all its parts. If you only focus on the big things like your financials, you will not be successful if, for instance, your website is out of date, if you don’t know how your customers’ needs have changed, or if your personal risks place your business and family at risk,” says Lorraine.

She says the best time to prepare your game plan is at the start of your fiscal year, but other occasions that call for an immediate update include losing or acquiring a key account or client, the appearance of new competitors, not meeting financial projections, key projects falling behind schedule, a shift in technology, sagging employee morale, changes to your risks and financial circumstances, and uncontrollable business growth.

The new Sanlam Gameplan for Success e-book is available to business owners free of charge, and can be downloaded via Sanlam’s website at www.sanlam.co.za/gameplan.