The Many Parallels Between the Olympics and Small Business Planning

small business planning

Discipline, attention to detail are just a few of the hallmarks.

 

In today’s world, business owners can learn a lot from those who engage in world class competition, specifically the Olympics. 

Olympic athletes are some of the most talented individuals on the planet not only because of their physiques and forms, but because of their ability to prepare and plan for each competition.  These athletes spend months and sometimes years planning and preparing for each competition all with the hopes of winning that gold medal. 

The business owner who prepares and plans like Olympic athletes can reap their own version of the gold medal which thus translates to profitability, cash flow, and all the other perks that come with a successful business. 

Planning. 

It all begins with planning. It was the French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery who said “a goal without a plan is a wish”.  

Planning for the business owner will vary depending on the business.  Most business planning takes place on a weekly basis and successful weekly plans are usually formulated before the weekly business cycle starts.  While a Monday weekly start day seems typical and is the norm for most businesses it is not always the case. 

A restaurant for example might plan the week beginning on a Tuesday or on a day when it receives its food shipments.  A key in successfully planning a week is to have the plan prepared before the week starts.  This enables the business to get off to a fast start and be better prepared for anomalies.

Weekly plans

Weekly plans are also supplemented by longer plans and different types of plans.  A business owner might for example have a yearly hiring plan.  The overall company business plan might be a five year plan.  It is important that whichever the time frame or type of plan that it gets reviewed.  Things change over time and plans need to be modified or adjusted for best results.

Preparation 

Preparation is the foundation to be able to execute any plan.  It involves all the healthy lifting that makes execution possible.  

Three examples:

1.   An example is a company that has a marketing plan but lacks a website.  It will be very difficult to execute on a marketing plan if a company is not prepared by having a website or marketing materials in place since potential customers will have no platform that will allow them to connect with the business, its service and/or product. 

2.   Another example is that of a company looking to raise capital but lacks the necessary financial documents and preparation to execute. 

When company’s raise money they must be prepared to provide a business plan and/or executive summary to potential capital providers that show a detailed description of past financial performance, as well as future projections and how these goals will be obtained.  Capital providers will not lend or invest money in companies that fail to both provide accurate financial statements as well as capture a distinct plan that sheds light on how capital will be used to grow the business. 

Planning for future capital raises is instrumental in the success for any business, but if such endeavors are not properly prepared for, businesses can find themselves teetering along the lines of failure. 

Next- Planning example #3 and Summary

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About the author

Alex Hart

Alexander J. Hart of Cuban American decent is principal and founder of Hart Vida Raffo. With over 25 years of experience, Alex specializes in the areas of tax strategy and planning, business process improvement, and capital consulting. Whether advising on capital and financing strategy or consulting for privately-held professional services firms, Alex has the expertise and practical know-how to help any company optimize their business processes and make tactical financial decisions. He began his career at IBM in sales operations and accounting. He was a Controller for the N.Y. Post, has been a CFO for a medical device company, and has written a tax column called “Ask the Tax Guys” for Micro-Cap Review. Alex is a professional member of A.L.T.A. (Affiliated Lawyers of the Americas), a member of the National Association of Tax Preparers, and is a contributing author and mentor at Latin Business Today. Alex graduated from St. John’s University with a B.A. in Spanish and his M.B.A. in Finance. He obtained his accounting degree from Pace University.

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