Planning Ahead

“Most people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.” Have you heard that before? “Plan? We don’t have time to plan. We have to move this ship forward with our own efforts.”

What’s the value of planning in your business? Do you have a regularly scheduled time to plan, or do you only plan when forced to do so?

We use two types of planning at our company: immediate and long-term. Immediate planning involves having a regularly scheduled time to address day-to-day and week-to-week issues. It is “urgent” planning. We conclude each day by planning for tomorrow’s activities and jobs. We conclude each week by planning for the next week’s activities. This type of planning is centered on executing tasks at specific times: Who is going to do what, when and how? People do this naturally. Immediate planning, for the most part, is not a learned skill.

Long-term planning is a learned skill. It requires a different thought process from the immediate planning we do naturally. It is difficult, because the events―and the timing of those events―are unknown. Some might never occur. We have to put long-term planning in our schedule and intentionally focus on doing it. Long-term planning is “important”, but we must make it “urgent”.

Long-term planning has three components: goal setting, succession planning and contingency planning.

Goal setting asks three questions:  Where are we?  Where do we want to be? How do we plan to get there?

Succession planning asks one―possibly two―questions: 1) Do you want your business to continue after you are no longer active? 2) If yes, what are your options, and how do you plan for those options?

Contingency planning asks one question: What if? Think about situations involving employees, customers and vendors. Anticipate what you would need to do if something happened. The object is to eliminate surprises.

Which of these areas of planning have you been delaying? Why? Does fear stop you? Do daily or weekly crises get in the way? You will control much of your future business by doing long-term planning. Let’s talk about it in future blogs.

The author is president, Evans Glass Co. in Nashville and chairman of the board for the National Glass Association. Write him at bevans@evansglasscompany.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

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Very insightful Bill as usual. Thanks again for coming to speak to the Minnesota Glass Association last month on marketing. I learned a lot.

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