08/07/2012 03:11 pm ET Updated Oct 07, 2012

Planning: A Vital Part Of Business Success

To Plan

Function 1 of Management

All great businesses and their accompanying strategies start with a plan. A plan is the blueprint or script, if you will, to assist in achievement of reaching a goal or objective. The plan can be as simple as a calendar with events charted and scheduled in order to attain a prescribed point of development. Or it can be as complicated and detailed as a 250-plus page in-depth business plan.

How do you plan for your day? Your week? Your month? Your year? For your business? For a particular project or departmental goal? For a company objective? Depending upon your job function, planning is most likely already a part of your work life. Many sole proprietors fail to really plan for their businesses. They fail to seize the opportunity to make an impact in their own work lives and/or their lives away from work. They fail to plan for balance. It doesn't happen on its own.

You see, planning is a significant step toward building your business or book of business and also building your life -- your time away from your business.

Put it down on paper or in a word doc or project management site and implement it into your life, work, and play. If you have an outline for your day or week, is it not more probable that you will stick to it? Calls are more likely to be made on time, fewer appointments missed. Deadlines will be made, follow up and follow through will actually take place and become routine. Having missed more than a few appointments myself, this is fitting counsel and simple enough to implement immediately.

A full-blown business plan is an incredibly vital part of building a business or charting a different course for individuals, departments, and/or your company. And should the wonderful outcome and success and growth take place, a plan comes in pretty handy. Having detailed goals and a strategic outline for success is fundamental for said achievement. In addition to a business plan, organizational and marketing plans will further define goals and objectives.

In my study of Ray Kroc, it became very clear to me how imperative "planning" is and has been to the success of McDonald's. The McDonald's empire would never be where it is today had Mr. Kroc not very carefully laid out a plan and insisted that the franchisees strictly adhere to the approved guidelines. The result of Kroc's planning: over 31,000 restaurants producing exactly what the customer expects, every single time.

Thoroughly mapping the course of a project, defining its details, and identifying departmental objectives that coincide with those of the organization are steps in the direction of triumphant management.

Harvey MacKay, author of How to Swim with the Sharks, understood that, "Failures don't plan to fail; they fail to plan."

Also read: "Defining the Functions of Management: Plan, Organize, Motivate, Control"