What is a journey without a destination?

I would call it a joy ride...

You see a planned project or business has a destination. It may be an ongoing revenue stream, it may be a business value or an exit strategy. If you don't start with the destination in mind, how do you know where to go? It would be like playing a game of hockey with no nets? Kind of pointless, right?

The late Stephen Covey opened up his book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People with a chapter on "Begin With The End in Mind". There is a reason for his advice and successful people pay attention to it.

Every business, project or activity needs to be planned with a short term destination, mid term destination and ultimately a long term destination, which can often be the completion of a project or sale of a business. The advice creates a frame of mind that allows to shape the project for an intended destination.

Going back to the hockey analogy it is not unlike a coach telling you as a player, "This is our chance, we have to beat the other team and get the puck to the other end of the rink." All the players hustle, create a plan, skate the puck to the end of the rink and then scratch their heads wondering what to do with it? This happens with projects and businesses on far too many occasions.

A plan at the beginning can provide scale to the momentum of a business or project.

If we look at one profession that I am very familiar with, real estate, it is fascinating to think of the process new REALTORS® go through to enter the profession.

I suspect that 80% to 90% of REALTORS® have no business coaching at the point of entry into the business. They just signed up for the school of hard knocks. In reality, they have just started a business. With my first business at the young age of 15 I had created very complex spreadsheets to allow me to understand all of the fixed costs and variable costs I was going to be dealing with and how I could charge out my employees and equipment at an appropriate rate to make a profit. I knew the destination, I had a plan. Today, many people start a business with a cell phone and a need to make a few bucks each month!

As a result I see people making decisions in the absence of a firm plan dictating a destination. If the plan is to create a business that has value, how do we do that? Who are the buyers? What is value to a buyer, is it ongoing cash flow, a client database, new manufacturing premises or alternative technology in the industry sector.?

In our Inner Circle training sessions we help our clients create that road map and think about their destination. Every person has a different need and desire. The plan will be as different as the results but the process is the same.

My point is, that the business plan should not just contain a plan on how to start but also a plan on how to finish. If you miss that point, you have to ask the question - Why did you start in the first place?

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About the Author

For the past twenty years Mark has been involved in real estate development and consulting and is currently a REALTOR with Sage Executive Group in Kelowna.

His column, brings a unique perspective on what may be important to us in the future as we come to grips with fast paced change in a world that few people barely recognize.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an Adventurer, Philanthropist and Keynote Speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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