Making Plans

Business planning is never easy. It has always been educated guesswork at best, no matter how much it is dressed up as a sophisticated science based on close analysis of trends and markets and the use of the latest financial modelling and forecasting techniques.

And now, in businesses everywhere, 2020 budgets will be being stress-tested by beady-eyed accountants asking, ‘has Brexit been fully factored in?’

Of course, there is no polite answer to that question, is there?

There are so many unknowns that not even a maths genius could compute the effects of the possible different outcomes and render them into sensible spreadsheets.

We carry on, don’t we, assuming other businesses will do the same and we come up with a guess somewhere between the worst-case scenario and roughly the same again next year. Who knows? It might be midway between a miracle and a mirage if you can quantify what that might be.

So, business planning in my view is a process, an iterative one, but you cannot really hang your hat on the predicted profit.

The budgeting cycle this year has served to remind me of three quotes that can be applied to business planning this time around in these politically and economically chaotic times.

1. The Seven P’s – Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.

I first read this in Andy McNab’s SAS-based book Bravo Two Zero and, well, yes, that’s the case, for sure.

2. ‘Plans are useless, planning is essential’ – Dwight D Eisenhower.

That’s right Dwight!

3. ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth’ – Mike Tyson

We know what he means, don’t we?

Good luck with the 2020 Budgets, folks.

Photo by Alexander Mils

Published on Sep 27, 2019 by Neil Thomas