Who do you have to explain it to?
Well, it depends – if you have a team of employees, you need to explain it to them.
If you are work on your own but you use contractors, virtual assistants or friends to help you in your business – you need to explain your plan to them. Even if you work totally alone – you need to explain your plan to at least your spouse and family, if not your bank or other people involved in helping you.
These are your “stakeholders” and you need to explain your big new plan to them because people hate change, and a plan represents change. If your plan affects them (how could it not?) you need to explain it to them.
You also need to ensure that the people involved know about your plan - and especially the parts that they have to play - so that they can help you as required. You want them enthusiastic about the new ideas and the direction you want to take.
But how do you explain your plan to them? How do you balance giving them so much detail, some of it commercial-in-confidence, and giving them such a brief overview that it means nothing?
I believe you need to do 4 things to make your plan come alive as you enlist the aid of your staff and supporters. These 4 things help you to communicate and explain your plan to them in a way that allays fear and encourages buy-in. It’s exciting to you – make it exciting for them.
Here again are the four things you need to do:-
- You need to show them that there is an exciting new opportunity;
- You need to provide them with the exciting change vision;
- You need to explain the big-picture initiatives involved in the plan; and
- You need to specifically ask for help in making sure everyone knows what to do.
Let's go through each of these 4 points.
First, people hate change, but they do like opportunities.
You need to show them that your plan creates an exciting new opportunity for everyone involved. Think about the benefits that achieving the plan will mean to people. Will it create more work-life balance? Will people have the opportunity to be paid more? What about the potential of being able to grow along with the business?
Think about the plan and how it will beneficially affect each person or group of people and find real examples of the benefits to them that they can recognise and get excited about.
Showing them exciting new opportunities helps them set aside their fear of change, and sets them up ready to participate.
Second, explain the new direction through a completed vision.
Getting people to see the opportunities is only part of the journey. People need to also see how it all fits together so that it feels real and is not just an unreal set of opportunities that may or may not happen.
So what is the change vision? How will the business look and feel like when you have achieved your plan? Create a description of what will happen as people walk into work or engage with your business. What will they say or see? How does this make it an exciting place to work?
Explaining clearly what the vision of the future is will tie up all the expected opportunities - people start to see for themselves how those opportunities could occur in this new picture. As a whole, the future becomes reality.
Third, explain the big-picture initiatives that are included in the plan.
As people get excited about the future, they also want to see how it will work. However, at this stage, you don't want to bore them with details. There will be plenty of time for that as you provide direction on a day to day basis, and even then, the time you spend now on the big-picture initiatives will help them understand the detail of what they have to do.
At this stage, explain the major initiatives and give them a big-picture explanation of what you are going to do and why.
If you are planning to expand your sales team, don't read out all the steps you are going to take from hiring to training to systems changes. At this stage, tell people about how an expanded sales team will help you achieve that exciting vision, and how this will create the base for growth and other opportunities. Tell them what an expanded sales team might look like and how it will operate.
Finally, ask them for help as you implement your plan.
If people are excited about what you plan, then they will want to feel involved. Indeed, you probably cannot achieve some of your goals unless you had help.
Specifically, list the activities you will need help on and who might be best to help you. Ask them to help - people like the fact that you thought of them enough to ask if they will participate. Set up and schedule meetings so that you can meet with them and discuss the details.
Completing your business plan is only the beginning of the story. Once you have a clear business plan, and before you start the nuts and bolts of implementing it, you need to create the atmosphere and the culture of excitement and anticipation so that all your stakeholders are ready and willing to participate. You need to explain your plan to all your stakeholders to mitigate any fear of change and to enlist their willing help to implement the plan with you.
Should you want to know more about writing your business plan, or more importantly how to implement that plan successfully, get in touch with me by email via firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office on 08 9242 2085.