When It’s Time for a Business Plan Intervention

Plan Paralysis: How to Get Unstuck So You Can Move Forward

Plan Paralysis: How to Get Unstuck So You Can Move Forward

Key Takeaways:

When business plans are too comprehensive, they can hinder your progress.

Outcome-driven outlines are an effective tool to move you from “stalling” to “succeeding.” 

Annually review your business plan to ensure that it adapts to internal and external changes.

Business plans are meant to be helpful — but, let’s face it: sometimes they hinder us from getting to the place where we want to be. If you’ve been noticing that your plans are getting in the way of your desired results, you’re in the right place. Let’s explore two types of business plans, how they slow you down, and what actions to take to start seeing positive changes and measurable outcomes.

“Entrepreneurs who write formal plans are 16% more likely to achieve viability than the otherwise identical non-planning entrepreneurs.”

Harvard Business Review

Two Common Ways to Get Stuck 

The first type of plan limbo is the “rabbit trail” type of plan limbo. This is when you don’t have one big plan, but a bunch of smaller ones that you keep juggling in your mind—but you don’t write these goals down or transform them into clear, actionable steps. So, you stay stuck in the idea phase and end up taking no action at all.

The second type of plan limbo happens when you have a plan—but it’s so big and detailed that it’s unmanageable to work with. While you have it written down and have detailed processes for making it happen, it’s so overwhelming that you’re paralyzed. And what should have been a propelling force becomes the reason you feel stuck at a red light indefinitely.

The Secret for Getting Unstuck

Whichever category your business plan falls into, there’s a simple way to break free from old patterns and start laying the groundwork for tangible change. We like to refer to this method as creating outcome-driven outlines. To make an outcome-driven outline, follow these three easy steps:

  • Choose one of your objectives
  • Identify one task that will move you closer to it
  • Accomplish this task

Picking just one objective helps focus your energy and attention so you can stop thinking and start doing. Choosing one task to reach this goal, then doing it, is a surefire way to keep your momentum and push your business forward. For example, perhaps your goal is “improving your website’s UX.” Your action step could be to contact and hire a Web Design professional to help revamp your site and make it easier to navigate.

Outcome-Driven Outlines in Real Life

But what do outcome-driven outlines actually look like? It’s important that you write it as an outline (not a mini-novel!) with small, actionable steps. This is not the time for writing an in-depth plan. You don’t always need minutia. For instance, here’s what an outline for appearing on a podcast show could look like:

  • Step One: 
    Decide why the host of the podcast show you have in mind would want to talk to you. What unique story, insights, and perspective do you have to tell them?
  • Step Two: 
    Identify the host’s contact information. This could be their email address and/or social media accounts. 
  • Step Three: 
    Draft a message via email or social media messenger, letting them know you’re interested in making a guest appearance on their show and what you have to offer.
  • Step Four: 
    Send the email or social media message.

Outcome-driven outlines involve picking one objective, defining one task that will help you accomplish it, then taking action.

Two Tips for Implementing the New Plan

As tempting as it can be to write the business plan and single-handedly start making it happen — don’t. This leads to burnout! Instead, ditch the “lone wolf” mentality and tap into the combined power of your business team. Ask your staff for input when renovating the original business plan. They might have ideas to contribute that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. It will also help them feel personally involved as your business heads in a more productive direction.

It’s also essential to spread out the “to-do’s” involved with the new plan. That means delegating action steps to the employees that are most skilled to efficiently and effectively complete them. For instance, maybe you have an experienced staff member who excels with ideation but not with follow-through. You could have them brainstorm ideas for new processes, then have your Operations Manager flesh out these ideas and hold your team accountable for following them.

Make a Habit of Annual Plan Reviews

We recommend regularly reviewing your business plan at least once a year. This will help ensure that the plan stays simple and achievable, so your company continues to progress in the direction you want it to. Another benefit of annually reassessing your plan is that you’ll keep it up-to-date and relevant despite any economic, staffing, or priority changes that happen.

Enlist Some Help Revising Your Plan

Having trouble breaking down your large plan into a simpler and “lighter” one? Getting a headache trying to combine smaller ideas into one cohesive, disciplined plan?

Here at Technology Therapy® Group, we’re a big fan of business mentors. If you already have one, then great! Now is the time to rope them in as you do a business plan makeover. Sometimes an outsider’s perspective helps you see your business plan with fresh eyes. It’ll help you know what parts to cut out, what parts to keep, and what things you should add.

If you don’t have a business mentor, consider signing up for a mentoring session with one of our digital marketing experts here at Technology Therapy® Group. Revising a business plan definitely has its challenges. We’ll be happy to help you sift through your current business plan, weed out anything unnecessary, and transform it into a more practical plan that you and your team can start carrying out.

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