There is much that entrepreneurs can admire — and learn — from the single-minded determination brides display when planning for their big day . . .
For most brides-to-be, planning a wedding is an epic affair. They begin putting together ideas long before ‘The Big Day’ – from trawling Pinterest or magazines for ideas, to contacting possible suppliers and spending hours on the invitation list and seating charts.
Generally, most couples give themselves at least a few months of engagement to plan out every little detail of their wedding day. It’s always strange to me, though, that many business owners don’t put nearly as much thought into their business planning.
Think about it: your wedding day lasts 24 hours. Yes, it’s a big milestone and a celebration with all the friends and family of the start of the marriage, but it’s one day. If you’re starting or growing a business, I’m pretty sure you want it to last longer than that. For most entrepreneurs, we want to make a living from our businesses for many years, and also leave a legacy. So we need to get better at planning.
Here are five things we can learn from the wedding planning lot:
- Start with the end goal in mind.Know what you want to achieve and be clear on as many of the details as you possibly can. Spend time thinking about what you want from your business within a particular timeframe. Your goals dictate your strategy.
- Stick to the plan and break it down into achievable chunks.Brides-to-be generally have a list of things they need to tackle: a venue, the flowers, the dress, etc. Business owners need to think along the same lines – once you know what your business goals are, break them down into what needs to be done. Have a one-year plan, a three-year plan and a five-year plan. Know what you need to “tick off” at certain points to achieve your end goal.
- Take stock regularly to make sure you’re on target.It doesn’t help you develop a plan and then get so busy running your business that you forget about it and let it fall by the wayside. I recommend taking two days once a year to plan for the next two- to three-year period. But you also need to spend a day planning every quarter, half a day every month, an hour every week and 15 minutes every day. You need to get into a planning routine. So at the end of every day, you spend those 15 minutes planning what you’re going to do tomorrow. It may sound like a lot of time, but it will actually save you time in the long run.
- Get things down on paper. For some reason, putting your planning on paper makes it easier to remember a plan, stick to it and implement it. And there’s something deeply satisfying about being able to tick something off your To Do list. When you write down what needs to be done, also make a note of when it needs to be done. This ensures things don’t slip through the cracks and helps you distinguish between things that are urgent without forgetting things that are important.
- Get others involved in the plan. Many brides rely on their mothers, bridesmaids and fiancés to carry out parts of the plan. As a business owner, you need to learn to delegate certain parts of your plan, and to get all your employees on board in understanding and embracing the plan and the part they will play in its implementation. It’s very liberating when you don’t have to worry about every part of the plan because you know that Joe Soap has three of those bullet points on his To Do list for the week, freeing you up to concentrate on your own items.
As entrepreneurs, we need to realise that the old adage is true: failing to plan is planning to fail. Put as much time and effort into planning for your business as you would for a wedding, and you’ll set yourself up much better for success.
Pieter Scholtz is the Co-Master Franchisor in Southern Africa for ActionCOACH, the fastest growing and largest business coaching company globally. Pieter and his partner Harry Welby-Cooke developed ActionCOACH across South Africa, which now boasts over 30 franchisees. He is also a certified, leading business and executive coach