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How I Approach Business Planning (Part 1)

It’s about this time of year many of you reading this will be sitting down to do some planning for the next 12 months.

In doing so you may be giving thought to:

  • The strategic vision you have for your practice over the next few years
  • The projects you may want to get done
  • The targets you want to achieve, and
  • How you’re going to make time to get it all done

I’ve just started running a three-part series of live training sessions to work through this with my clients and members of the community. If you’d like to join me for that, the next session is tomorrow at 12 pm. You can RSVP here.

If not though, I thought I’d share the high-level details of how I approach it in a series of blogs.

What I can say about this approach is a) it’s something that I’ve fine-tuned over a decade at Audere, and b) it’s a method that is both concise and also, if the implementation method I’ll outline in Part 3 is followed, translates into a roughly 80% likelihood of your practice achieving the outcomes come December.


Before we kick on, I can’t stress enough the importance of using one-page plans.

I’ve seen how crucial it is to convey key information effectively while keeping it concise.

Gone are the days when we had to create lengthy business plans, outlining every single detail. Time is our most valuable asset, and brevity is the key to capturing attention and delivering your message efficiently.

That’s why I always recommend using one-page plans. They allow you to focus on the most essential aspects of your business strategy, without overwhelming your audience or yourself.

By condensing your plan into a single page, you prioritise what truly matters – the core elements that will drive growth and success for an accounting, mortgage broking or financial advisory business.

That’s why the templates that support this are one-pagers.

Strategy Focus

An old boss of mine once said that the most important work any business owner needs to do is thinking.

It’s ironic then that this is one thing that the working environment doesn’t support as well as it could, because of a sometimes unhelpful focus on action.

Creating a kick-ass business plan requires some serious thought about the stuff that really matters.

I’m talking about the key elements that drive high performance and set you apart from the competition, like:

  • Where is the greatest opportunity?
  • What is causing us to underperform?
  • Who do we need on our team?
  • What do we need to do first?

In what I do as a coach, my job is to identify exactly the right things to do that will solve your biggest problems or get you the result you need most effectively and efficiently. it’s the reason businesses engage me to help them.

That’s why this process is key, but ironically it starts with a focus on things that are intended to happen 3-5 Years from now.

This 3-5 Year Strategic Vision, or as I like to call it, the Strategy Focus Map, is the foundation of your practice’s journey or evolution, giving you a clear sense of direction and purpose.

Strategy Focus is all about setting long-term goals and objectives that align with your overall business strategy.

It’s about picturing where you want your business to be in the next three to five years and figuring out how to get there.

Why Purpose Is Vital

Having a clear purpose is crucial

As the great Muhammad Ali once said, “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.”

Those words really resonate with me because they perfectly capture why having a purpose is so vital in achieving success.

Viktor Frankl was another true thought leader who understood the significance of having a meaningful purpose in life and shared it with the world In his influential work, “Man’s Search for Meaning,”

By connecting your business goals to a higher purpose and meaning through strategic planning, you’re setting yourself up for long-term success driven by passion and motivation.

What Do YOU Want?

However, before you can work out which direction to take your business, I’d advise (implore!) you to get clear on what YOU really want.

It’s essential to align your motivations with the type of practice you aim to create. It’s hard to play the long game otherwise.

It’s often about answering two very specific questions

  • What are your Lifestyle Goals (the specific achievements or outcomes you desire within the next 3-5 years)?
  • What are your Lifetime Values (how you envision living your life over that period and over the longer term)?

Once you know what YOU want, you’re ready to define the path to creating the kind of practice that supports it.

The Strategy Focus Map

The document we’re creating is called the Strategy Focus Map and it condenses all the important stuff into one neat page.

Let’s break it down together into four key elements:

  1. Mission is where we define the purpose and reason for your business’s existence. It’s like taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture. What is it that you aim to achieve with your venture?
  2. End Game is where we paint a vivid picture of what your business will look like once your vision is fully realized.
  3. Vision Statement is about crafting a powerful mantra that captures the essence of your business’s purpose and desired future state. It’s about creating an idea that lives inside your teams’ heads because it’s both easily remembered and truly inspiring.
  4. Last but not least, we have the “Ten Commandments” which are ten strategic decisions you’ll make upfront about what you will or won’t do, that will keep you on track and aligned with the bigger picture when faced with thousands of decisions that need to be made along the way.

That’s the high-level overview of the scope of the training, which is an hour long. That means getting it all into this blog would be overwhelming and you’d likely stop reading before you got through it.

However, if you join our community before 30 January, you will get access to all three training session recordings to work through at your pace and, if you choose, with your team.

However, I did want to break down one part of that here and now.

Mission & Purpose

So, let’s break down the format for a mission statement into four parts, each ideally one sentence long.

Here’s the structure and an example of it applied to my own advice firm, which is named Advice Firm (and yes, I do have the domain).

Our business exists to deliver [what] for [who].

Advice Firm exists to help small business owners all over Australia become successful, be rewarded for their efforts, and ensure that they can take control of their futures by transitioning business wealth into personal wealth and an enhanced lifestyle

The way we deliver this is by [how].

We do this by opening the eyes of very specific people with very specific situations to the full spectrum of financial opportunities their circumstances provide access to, helping select the best pathway to enable their ambitions and making it easy for them to take action today and make continually smart decisions tomorrow.

As a result of this, [our clients] can [achieve outcomes].

At the end of this process lies an outcome whereby our clients can relieve themselves from the pressure to be successful entrepreneurs sooner, find greater balance in how they live life, and achieve things they may never have considered possible before.

The reason this matters/why we do this is because [higher purpose].

Behind all these aspirations lies our singular motivation backed by a strong belief: that the economic strength of our nation is defined by the ability of small businesses to thrive and that in helping our clients succeed, we contribute to better outcomes for us all.

As you can see, this powerful mission statement not only outlines Advice Firm’s core objectives but also emphasizes its commitment towards empowering entrepreneurs while highlighting its belief in fostering economic growth.

Crafting a compelling mission statement is a crucial step in defining your purpose as a business.

It sets the direction for your practice, makes it about something more than just profit or growth, and communicates your values to your broader team and others.

Keep Going?

If you’ve found value in the insights shared throughout this, I strongly recommend you keep going by joining our community before 30 January and accessing the training in the Courses section (it’s called Planning for Success).

If you’d like me to facilitate this process for you and your team, please get in contact ASAP, as I won’t be taking on any new advisory clients after 10 February.

If you’re planning to join me for tomorrow’s training session, here are six questions to ask yourself ahead of the sessions so you can get the most out of it.

  • What are List 3-6 things you’d like to achieve in 2024
  • For each, identify at least one way you could measure it.
  • List 3-6 skills you’d like to improve, learn or master.
  • List 3-6 things that could stop you from having a great year.
  • Come up with at least one strategy to overcome each.
  • Finally, list all the projects you think you’d like to get done in 2024 and why each matters.

There’s less than a week before February is upon us, so if you’re keen to start the year strong don’t wait any longer – start implementing these strategies today and reap the rewards of a well-crafted business plan.

Remember, success favours those who plan diligently and adapt strategically, so go ahead, seize this opportunity, and take control of your future by becoming a master at business planning!


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