What would you think if that question was from air traffic control(ATC) to the captain of the airliner on which you were traveling? You would be highly concerned for the question having to be asked–and even more fearful if the captain didn’t have an answer!
As a business owner you are the ‘captain’ of your airliner–your business. The ATC might be your bank, a key vendor, or another investor. Your employees, customers, or vendors are with you traveling on the airplane. How would they feel if you as the owner of your business were asked: “do you know where you are?” Do you have the answer? And how can you confirm that you really know where you are?
Fortunately, airlines and pilots file flight plans with the ATC, so both the pilot and the ATC know the intended route. And today ‘global positioning systems” (GPS) help make positioning even more accurate.
Your business plan is the flight plan. It contains the crucial information on where you are planning to go and how you intend to get there. Your plan includes your current year forecast(budget) and some key performance indicators you wish to adhere to. This plan is your compass to assist in determining where you are.
So are you on course? Are you ahead of your plan?–maybe revenue is higher than expected; much like an airliner with tailwinds that has been able to make better time. Are you behind on your plan? Revenue hasn’t come in as planned. Results of marketing are slow. As with the airliner, it might have departed late or is experiencing headwinds, so too the execution of your plan has its challenges.
Do you have a business plan or are you flying in the clouds with no instruments? Owning and operating a business doesn’t come with a promise of clear skies—it actually comes with the responsibility to plan knowing there will be delays, turbulence, and course corrections needed. Landing safely (reaching your plan goals) is a result of being a wise steward of your business—those depending on you will appreciate you staying on course, too!