A business plan can help keep your franchise on track

With 2016 looming, franchises should be considering where they want to be this time next year - that's where a business plan comes in handy

A business plan can help keep your franchise on track

At this time of year it’s well worth looking back at what you did and didn’t achieve in the past 12 months. Because you did have a plan when you started 2015, didn’t you?”

Business planning has to be at the heart of every enterprise, whether you are a startup, a maturing business or planning your exit. Certainly any franchisee and franchisor worth their salt should be putting this at the heart of their businesses.”

I always say business planning is a journey. It’s like taking a drive: you set your destination and, once you have done that, you can determine your route and what you have to do to get there. When you have reached your first destination, it’s then time to look back and review. What was successful and what wasn’t? Would you take the same route again? What would you change to get there faster? Would you use a different means of transport? All lessons are learned through your experience.

I encourage you to do this with your business and put yourself at the heart of it. What do you want from it? What does the business have to earn to give you the life you aspire to, whether financially or otherwise? And what does the business have to do to reach that desired level of earnings? Once you have that target in mind, you can work back from there and create a plan for your business journey.”

If you know your business back to front, which you should, planning needn’t be onerous. You can soon reduce your targets down into manageable bite-sized chunks, which will give you a list of things you need to achieve at each stage of your journey to stay on track. Once you have those bite-sized chunks, there will never be a day when you’re sat at your desk thinking ‘What do I do today?’ You just work to your plan and slowly but surely move towards your goals and business destination.

I was gobsmacked when I held a business planning event last year and only two businesses in the room – mine and a fellow speaker’s – actually had a business plan, let alone a life plan. It’s madness. Life is short and, without the direction that planning gives you, you could be going round and round in circles. And, in this short life, you don’t have time for that, do you?

If you want to make 2016 your best year ever, I urge you to put planning at the heart of your life and business. Take some time to clarify where you want to go, what personal goals you want to fulfil, how your business can facilitate this and what it needs to earn for you to achieve these goals. Finally, plan back from then to today and there you have it: your plan for 2016. Here’s wishing you every success in your journey.”

Kate Lester
Kate Lester