Entrepreneur Brad Porter Talks About Business Planning

Learning From My Mistakes: Planning

When it comes to business planning, “winging it” describes the approach of many entrepreneurs. While there is a time and place for everything… this approach has caused me a world of pain in the past. I would love to share a “winning formula” with you, but I think it would be unfair for me to preach to you about how to be the “best entrepreneur” when I’m still learning how to do it right.

What I would like to do instead is share with you the 2 regrets I have as a result of “winging it” right at the beginning of my journey with Flexible Workspace:

  1. I didn’t PLAN. In fact, it has only been in the last 3 to 4 years that I’ve appreciated the benefits of planning and preparation.
  2. I didn’t fully consider the KEY RESOURCES required when I started out.

I recently spoke to a group of aspiring entrepreneurs at SHAPE – Leaders in Business Innovation in Durban about the importance of PLANNING and KEY RESOURCES. Here are the points that I shared:

Business Planning

“The Business Plan”

This the most common form of business planning. When I eventually got around to doing mine, it helped me to focus on areas of the business that needed my attention, but that I hadn’t considered. I used to see it as a painful and unnecessary exercise, but now I view it as GOAL SETTING. It’s a good discipline that I update every couple of years and sometimes I even find it fun to do.

Research/Market Knowledge

I find it really helpful to know what the competition is doing. As an entrepreneur I’m not afraid to snoop. Rest assured, my competitors will be investigating my business as well.

Consider Best and Worst Case Scenarios

I find this helpful when weighing up how to do what and when.

Create Lists

Or in my case, drawings. I work more effectively off a visual representation of the tasks, people responsible, and level of urgency required. Once I have this all down, my next task would be to routinely FOLLOW UP. There are a lot of free apps out there that will help with this.

People Planning

As a leader it is my job to organise my people. I am not a micro manager so, in my case, it’s all about delegation of ownership and accountability of those roles or tasks.

Skills

I try to be brutally honest with myself and my team. I worked out what I’m good at and, when I could afford it, I outsourced the rest. Psychometric testing has been very valuable here to ensure that we have the right people in the right positions.

Contingency Planning

This would be dealing with the “what-if’s”. Skills transfer is a big thing for me and I want my whole team to know how to do each others’ jobs… just in case. I expect each team member, especially the leaders, to embrace the importance of skills transfer.

Exit Planning

Last but not least, it is important to me to know what the “end goal” of my business is and when I plan to realise it. Goal-setting is important for both the short and the long term!

Learning from my mistakes and observing other entrepreneurs in action have both been excellent sources of guidance for me. I try to use the information that I collect from the world around me to inform my business planning and decisions, and I believe that this has taken me one step closer to being a successful entrepreneur.

Once all the planning was done, I still needed to consider what KEY RESOURCES my business required.

I will cover a few of the key resources that I discovered in next week’s post.