Business Planning in Five Minutes

I love small business.

According to the New Zealand Statistics Department as at 2008 there were 480 thousand businesses in NZ. 97% of these are Small businesses – that means roughly 460 thousand business run by passionate people who have the audacity to RISK capital, borrow against their houses, HIRE Staff and contribute to the economy because they think that they can ‘give it a bash’.

The interesting thing about this is that approx 40% of the Kiwi tax take comes off the back of these small businesses and the PAYE from the people that work for them. This means that we all have a vested interest in ensuring that small business is given a fair go as they do actually pay a portion of your Education… your health and your social welfare in New Zealand.

Unfortunately the cards are pretty well stacked against small businesses

– Small Businesses are amongst the most heavily complied organisations in New Zealand – get this… Small Businesses are subject to the same amount of legislation that huge corporates are subject to – ACC, OSH, Tax Compliance, Health and Safety, etc etc -the only difference is that BIG business have staff that are dedicated to sorting and navigating these issues
– Unions find small business easier to pressure and Bully
– Greenies hate small business because they think that small business only exist to steamroll the environment….
– And not to mention the Business Consultants Industry…you will find no shortage of consultants, academics, agencies whose main aim seems to be to find small businesses and educate them on HOW much they don’t know, confuse them and then offer assistance in the form of incredibly high fees and EXTRACTION of what little resources that SMEs have… and all the while continuing to confuse and create more work

The purpose of this article is to let you know that business planning and small business development is a very simple process and that there are in fact no tricks, secret techniques or special qualifications (apart from having been there, done that). This is excellent hands on advice for any business who finds themselves in need of any help due to underperformance.

Business Planning is a dry subject – its almost guaranteed to put some people to sleep. HOWEVER there is only one reason that businesses fail. Ask 8 different experts and you will get 8 different answers -CASHFLOW being the favourite, wrong location, wrong car, wrong logo, wrong staff and so on – however I put it to you that the only reason that businesses fail is the inability or reluctance of Business OWNERS to plan – WHY – Because somehow they have been told that its a HUGELY COMPLEX, COMPLICATED process which involves many experts and professionals to assist You.

IF you are like me you hear this and the first thing you do is think the cost? and you tend to brush over or ignore the need to plan…. Yet if businesses only knew the truth that PLANNING is simple and can accelerate you on the path to a healthy viable business…. then I suspect we would see fewer businesses facing the wall

Here is a simple formula to assist your busienss planning



The first part of your plan – Questions to ask yourself (and write down the answer to!)
– Why do i want to do this business
– What does my business look like the day that I exit
– How much money do I want to make
– How will the world be changed if I do / don’t start this business
(A CONSULTANT will spend days on this stuff making it airy / fairy as possible and using fancy terminology – however at the end of this step you will have a vision, mission statement goals and objectives)


Game plan – Just like a coach before the big rugby game you cover the GAMEPLAN – today’s game is all about KICKING – putting pressure on and advancing on the opposition mistakes.
YOUR business game plan is what the academics call your strategy. Our premise is to use a couple of questions under the following 3 headings to sort out your strategy

Operations (that’s what you do eg. A Painter – paints houses, A lawn mower man mows lawns)
The questions are: How can I do this quicker? How can I do this better? How can I do this less expensively?

Marketing – How am I going to remove every possible OBSTACLE that gets in the way of selling my service or product successfully?

Keeping Score – What you can’t measure you c ant manage – What am i going to measure – OK financial results are good (cash flow forecast, budgeting P+L) but how about number of phone calls, how many lead to sales, HOW long does it take to do a job in July, in January, In December – etc etc- what you don’t measure you can’t manage.


What specific steps do I need to do today (or any given day) to advance my business closer to some of that stuff we outlined when we were thinking about the business?


These talk for themselves and are generally a sum total of your thought, strategic focus and the actions you are taking.

So that’s it really about BUSINESS Planning – this approach is excellent for those wanting to work on your business to GET you the owner to FOCUS on your business…please don’t let anyone tell you that Business Planning is a highly Complex exercise…..they will probably have a reason for telling you this

To recap…
1. The only reason that business FAIL is a reluctance to PLAN – ‘ Fail to Plan – plan to fail
2. Its never too late to start planning – Whether you are in your 20th year or just starting Do it
3. Remember the Formula – THINK + GAME PLAN + ACTIONS = RESULTS

In New Zealand it is too easy to get into business so give yourself the advantage of a little pre business planning to make sure you get a jump ahead of your competitors