In September 19, I was due to run a workshop at the Sightcare Conference on the six key skills of running an independent practice. With the Queen’s funeral taking place, this conference has been postponed until January 29-30, 2023.

On watching the funeral, whatever your thoughts about royalty, the planning of the events of the past week were executed perfectly. What we will find out later, is that not only has Operation Unicorn and Operation London Bridge been planned meticulously, but clearly the processions and the pomp and ceremony have been practised too.

As we enter the last quarter of the year, now is a great time to think about your future plans, specifically where you and your business want to be going forward. If the idea of planning seems to be a huge undertaking, then creating an extensive business plan is probably not going to work for you. In fact, there is little point in writing a 50-page plan that nobody is going to read. So, it may be best to start small and the way to do this is with a one-page business plan. The version I use is something I have developed over several years in my role as a business coach and mentor by watching what works well for small and medium-sized businesses alike.

One of the most important benefits of writing a business plan is that the exercise of writing it, even if it never gets read by others, can bring you significant advantages:

  • The process of considering your business plans will help you clarify your own thinking.
  • You will understand whether you will need more capital than you have to fund your plans.
  • It will help you to identify and prioritise the most important tasks.
  • You will understand whether the people you have are able to deliver your plans.
  • You will discover how important planning is and build it into your time management.
  • Over the next few months, I will expand on this subject and help you go through the planning process.


First steps

Planning is a cyclical process, made up of between three and 13 steps depending on which Google search result website you decide looks right for you. As we are starting small, we can start with a three-stage model and work up from there. The one I am illustrating here is the most simplistic, but it works.

In October’s column, we will look at the planning process in more depth. Meanwhile, here is an overview of what you may wish to start thinking about.


Planning

A simple business plan for a service company, such as an independent practice, can be completed rather quickly. Keep in mind who needs to read the document because it needs to be understandable, readable and realistic.

It is recommended that once your plan is complete, you write a simple executive summary, which is used to present the salient elements of your plan in a succinct way. This will include the overall purpose of your business and your overarching rationale for running your own business. It may contain what motivates you to run the business, what will make you successful and how you plan to measure that success.

It will of course be important to keep your plan up-to-date so part of the planning process will be to define how frequently to revisit the plan and how you will make sure that the timing of this does not slip. This can be as simple as booking a half-day planning session every month, three months or six months, depending on your preference.

So, start thinking about your plans for 2023 now and perhaps your longer term three or five-year plan. Start writing down your thoughts and ideas and perhaps ask your team what they think the business will need over the coming years. Once you start your planning process, these notes and scribbles will help you formulate your business plan.

  • To discuss any of the issues raised in this article, email mentoris58@gmail.com.