FINANCIAL TOOLBOX

Plan To Win

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” —Confucius 

How many times have we jumped in our car, put a destination into our GPS and hoped it would give us the best and quickest route, only to find ourselves taking a much longer path then we should have?  We may have eventually ended up at our targeted destination, but the pain in getting there was not what we had anticipated and we didn’t arrive in the timeframe we had thought. 

It is the same with a business plan or a financial plan. Mapping out your plan in advance versus hoping it will happen can save time, money and a lot of frustration. It is also a great reference to make sure you are on track to achieve your objectives in the timeframe that you have projected. Formally documenting your strategies, tactics and metrics will create a great roadmap that can help point out what you need to do and when you need to do it to reach your ultimate goals. 

After you have developed a plan, take the time to discuss your plan with your attorney, accountant, banker and insurance agent. This advisory team can be a great source of knowledge as they have had the benefit of reviewing many other clients’ plans and have witnessed their subsequent successes and failures. They should be able to point out what has worked well while alerting you to any possible detours or risks you could face along the way. These professionals may also suggest what other resources you should consider in order to achieve the plan. You should also take the time to share your plan with your trusted advisors including your spouse. Finally, share it with your employees. They often have lots of useful ideas to help you achieve your plan. If the employees buy into the plan and make it their own, your odds of success will increase dramatically.

So here comes the really hard part – actually sitting down and creating the plan. You need to invest some time, energy and possibly money to get your plan to where you need it to be. To borrow a phrase from an old banker friend of mine, “Investment precedes dividend.” The better the investment, the bigger the dividend. In the end, a great plan will save you time and money and make the ride along the way a much smoother one. 

There is an easy part to all of this which to some may seem counter-intuitive – don’t make the plan too complicated. Avoid getting too far into the weeds. If you spend more than several hours doing a plan, you are overdoing it. Plans can be created and revisited any time, not just in December or January. Lastly, don’t confuse the plan with good old-fashioned business preparation. Without great preparation, it is difficult to execute any plan effectively.

If you need help in starting the plan, sitting down with your CPA or banker is a great place to start. It will not be the first one they have done and with the right plan you will be on track to win.

Jim Tyrrell, Executive Vice President, Corporate Banking, Univest Bank and Trust Co. Univest Bank and Trust Co. is Member FDIC, Equal Opportunity and SBA Preferred Lender. To contact Jim, or 267-898-0530.