In 1992 a British psychologist conducted a study on elderly patients in a Scottish hospital, all of whom were having hip or knee replacments. Back then (not sure if it is different now), recovery from a hip replacement was painful and hard work. The patients had to begin exercise almost straight away. However the agony was so great that it was not unusual for patients to not do the exercise.
Each patient was given a booklet that detailed the rehab they were required to complete. In the back of the book were 13 extra pages. On these pages were blank pages and starts of sentences. “My goals for this week are……? The patients were required to write down exactly what they were going to do for the week with specifics. It wasn’t enough to write down that they were going for a walk, they also needed to include when they were going and where they were going. In short they were required to write specific plans.
The doctor then compared the recovery of those patients that wrote out their goals and those patients who didn’t write their goals. Surely simply writing down your goals was not enough to change a persons recovery?
Those patients who had written plans in their books had recovered much better than those that had not. Patients with plans had started walking earlier than those with no plans. They were able to perform all sorts of tasks, putting on their shoes, getting out of a chair, three times quicker than the patients with no written goals.
The common theme within the plans was that they had focused on how they would handle a specific moment of difficulty. One patient knew that he had to take a step as soon as he got up from his chair, otherwise the pain would force him to sit down again. The plans were telling the patients how to get through the hard bits to achieve the reward of recovering quicker.
Why cant the same philosophy be applied to a business plan. If we had two identical businesses, one with a detailed plan, and one without, which is more likely to succeed. Not just a generic plan, but details of how you are going to deal with certain situations as they arise in your business life. Starbucks employees have plans on how to deal with unhappy customers for example. If an unhappy customer comes up to the counter, there is no panic. They know exactly how to deal with the situation. This allows them to overcome the situation and get on with the rest of the day with minimal impact.
Small business can do this do and I believe it is imperative that they do. What is the goal of the business? How are you going to achieve it. By when and by what means? How do you deal with unhappy customers, unhappy staff? What do you do if cashflow becomes tight, or profit drops? If you have a plan of attack written down, and studied, it is much easier to deal with situations when they arise. If a new situation arises, develop a plan for the next time it happens.
Start your business plan today so you can achieve your goals and turn your business dreams into reality. #loveyourbusiness