Creating a Business Plan… With Real Meaning!

9 Essential Keys to Planning for Success in Your Business

By Wayne H. Ottum

That business purpose and business mission are so rarely given adequate thought is perhaps
the most important cause
of business frustration and failure.
Peter F. Drucker, the father of modern business planning

If business planning is as valuable as we are told (and it is), then what we need is a way to plan so that the resulting plan is a plan with real meaning. One that literally compels you to act because it is a plan that naturally moves you toward what you truly desire. It is a plan that feels in alignment with who you are authentically, so you act from a place of strength using your unique gifts. It is a plan that works for you and your business and where everyone feels fulfilled and eager to work that plan every day.

There are 9 essential keys to creating a Business Plan… with Real Meaning:

  1. Clearly define success: To quote Yogi Berra, “If you don’t know where you are going, you probably will wind up somewhere else.” A clear and compelling vision of success charts your course what you truly desire and allows you to let go of hundreds of choices that don’t take your business where you want it to go.
  2. Know your purpose: Know what you do, for whom you do it, and what value you create. If you are not building and improving your products and services, marketing and selling to those who will buy, and delivering on the value proposition when they do, just what ARE you doing in your business? A clear purpose, or mission, focuses the day to day action of everyone in your organization.
  3. Take an “integrated” approach to your business and your life: Work/Life Balance means one competing vs. the other. An integrated approach, however, means one is working to support the other, and vice versa, more like gears meshing together seamlessly. Ensure your life and business support one another, and encourage the same throughout your organization.
  4. Understand your strengths: Know your unique gifts, and those of each of your staff, and align them to their roles to create optimal opportunity for outstanding performance AND fulfillment in every role.
  5. Know where you are today: Every journey begins from the same place, where you are, right now. Thus, to chart the course to the success you have defined for your business, you must honestly and comprehensively assess where your business is today.
  6. Prioritization and focus: Even the greatest professional jugglers can only manipulate 5 or 6 balls at a time. It’s the same for managing a business. You need to focus on the 5 to 6 (or fewer) things that are most important to you and your organization right now and work them in the right order. Then, and only then, do you move on to the next.
  7. Set meaningful and SMART goals: Meaningful goals are the milestones that align to your vision, mission, values and focus. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. Meaningful and SMART goals have the right context of focus and priority and they have a defined plan and assigned responsibility to achieve them.
  8. Measure, manage and celebrate often:Tell me how I am measured and I will tell you how I perform,” is a common saying in business management. By continually measuring individual, team and organizational progress toward your meaningful goals, you naturally and most effectively drive performance. And remember, it is important to celebrate the wins along the way, give those “Atta-boys” during the process, and reward the very behavior you seek.
  9. Set the right “attitude” example: If you are waiting to feel happy, fulfilled, etc., WHEN you become successful in your business, then you will always be chasing happiness rather than experiencing success. Being happy IS the key to success. Success is reached BECAUSE you are happy, positive and grateful for all the steps along the way. So, set the right example for your organization. Choose to be happy now. Feeling this way each day comes from the confidence of knowing… Knowing your direction, knowing what you do and do best, and knowing how to act intentionally, on purpose and authentically to live, not just dream about, the business you truly desire.

Take a moment now to imagine your business moving up to the next level, teams working toward a shared vision, everyone using their unique gifts to naturally and most effectively deliver on the shared mission, and all acting with integrity while authentically representing your firm. Imagine knowing where you are in that journey, how you are doing, and having the right information at your fingertips to change course immediately, if needed, while celebrating your successes along the way. You don’t have to imagine anymore, you can create a Business Plan… with Real Meaning right now.

By implementing these 9 essential keys in your organization you will unlock the doors for creating a truly meaningful business plan and set the stage to experience even greater levels of success. We are here to help. Please visit our website at, email us at, or give us a call at (206) 351-4656 to schedule your free one-hour consultation.

About the Author

Wayne Ottum is the President and founder of Ottum Enterprises, LLC, a consulting firm committed to guiding business owners, executives and individuals to ever greater levels of success through discovering and fully utilizing their unique gifts. An expert in clarity and widely known as the “Coach’s Coach,” Wayne’s trademarked coaching processes guide you to discover the personal and authentic clarity that empowers you to take confident action, each and every day, to achieve what you deeply desire. Wayne is also an exciting motivational speaker and provides many “ah-ha” moments for every audience. He is the author of Live from Strength, creator of the Lead from Strength™ methodology, and director of the Business Growth Challenge™ consulting process. Built on over 30 years of experience, Wayne guides you to Lead, Live & Love from Strength™.  Follow him on Twitter at @WayneOttum or @OttumEnterprise or connect with him on LinkedIn.