The Australian Small Business Blog

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Can Business Planning Ruin Your Business?

When coming of age at Melbourne University many years ago, Lygon Street was a favourite haunt. One of our regular restaurants was Il Gambero. Unfortunately, due to a recent fire, it is no more. While this is obviously, significant for me, why am I writing about it here?

What struck me particularly was an interview with Frank Di Mattina, the owner. He made a comment (see video) that I am sure would resonate with all small business owners.

“Unbelievably, the whole family… it was the first time we have been away from the business, we have been on a business planning seminar.”

This comment raises a number of questions.

Had they been in Melbourne, would the fire still have happened? Fire investigators believe it was started by an old $3 power board in the kitchen. The fire had started 40 minutes after the restaurant had closed for the night. So if they had been in Melbourne, the fire would probably have still occurred. It was an accident waiting to happen.

Would business planning have prevented the fire? The owners may well have done business planning before, but had they undertaken a business risk analysis and developed a risk reduction plan? For example, did they have as part of their plan regular electrical audits by a qualified electrician?

If they had a risk mitigation strategy and plan, was it followed? If it was not, was it because there was insufficient training or some other factor?

Should they ever leave their business again? They should be building a business that does not require them to be present all the time. There should be systems for all parts of their business supported by training, reports and audits to ensure compliance. If these elements are in place, they should be able to be absent from their business as often as they would like.

This is not the family’s only restaurant and I hope they will be back soon, if for no other reason, I just love their Scaloppini Funghi.

May Your Business Be - As You Plan It.

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success.

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Nerida Gill said...

So important to know where you're heading and have a plan of how you're going to get there and to include a risk assessment. I recently did a risk analysis of my business and found it very valuable. Historically I've put exercise after work but the risk analysis showed that as the main person in my business, the most significant risk to the business in it's current stage is if I were to get chronically ill due to not looking after my health.

As a result of doing the risk assessment I now have scheduled in my diary three exercise sessions of no less than an hour every week. If I feel guilty for being away from my desk I remind myself that it is part of my risk minimisation strategy.

Greg Fellows said...

Business Planning should ever be continuous and constant for any business owner. The whole purpose of a business plan is to manage sustainable growth of your business, which by it's very nature should also require due diligence on how to protect the business as an asset and investment.

Unfortunately we can;t plan for everything, however we can take measures to ensure we have contingency plans and insurance should such devastating events occur. A business plan is just like an insurance policy. If carefully selected, well planned and reveiwed regulary it will go a long way towards protecting our most valuable assets and our livelihoods.

SEO Reseller said...

Very interesting post. In my opinion, a business plan is like a map that you can use to help you start one up because without one, your business could get lost along the way. Thanks for sharing.

Man Ray said...

Well, it wouldn't be much of a plan if you don't have contingencies. Since you've already placed the effort into planning, then you might as well be 2 steps ahead of the game.
SEO Reseller


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