You Don’t Need A Magician

Designing a home or commercial building is not magic; neither is designing a business plan, a marketing plan, or a strategic plan.  They all go through the same step-by-step creative process.  If we are talking about the creative process of an architect, people get it and nod their heads, yet when I discuss designing one of the business plans, some businesspeople seem to think we are talking about voodoo, or magic, or hocus-pocus… so when I want to talk about business planning I often use the analogy of designing a home as an example.

These plans are based on “wants,” “needs,” and “resources.”  An architect balances the client’s desires against the realism imposed by budget, size and age of the family, aesthetic tastes, and physical limitations of the site and the climate.  Any of the business plans go through the same balancing act, dealing with many of the same issues while adding considerations for competition, level of ambition, skill sets of management and staff, and cash flow and eliminating site, building codes, and the probably the climate.

Along the path towards a realistic and workable plan are a series of questions: Are the goals realistic and appropriate?  Is the budget adequate?  Is adequate financing in place or available? Are the principals credit-worthy? Is the timing right?

When the preliminary plan is written, it is time for adaptation and compromise.  Perhaps the spa will fit in that home, but it may take space away from the bedroom.  Perhaps we can afford the new, four-color brochure if we design it creatively enough to use fewer pages.  From these compromises, and perhaps a few heated discussions, the working plan is drawn, timetables and priorities are established.  Action steps are developed.  Responsibilities and accountabilities are appointed.  Reporting and tracking systems are designed.  The consensus is reached on the outstanding questions before either a business plan or an architect’s plan are brought to bankers who can finance the project.

Once financing is in place the plan is put into motion.

The design of a home plan and a business plan, marketing plan, or strategic plan are creative and methodical processes.  They are not magic, yet if you sit down and go through the process your competition will think you hired a Houdini with a magic wand.

And the first step for any of the business plans is to clearly define what you want and expect to accomplish, then determine how you will do it, when, and the resources that you need… it’s harder than pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but certainly do-able.

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