Planning Steps

Planning Steps

Planning Calendar

There is a slew of modern computer programs that will help you remain organized. The drawback to these programs is they tend to get ignored as business increases. Business owners become distracted by email, instant messaging, social media, and browsing the Internet. At the end of the day, they forget what was important on that day’s agenda. A Planning Calendar solves this problem.

This is where an old fashion calendar white board becomes invaluable. The calendar white board should be located in plain sight, preferably, in front of your desk. Each time you look up the calendar is in front of you. This forces you to review the planned activities for the day.

Here are some of the many uses for your planning calendar:

  1. Promotional Plans
  2. Advertising Schedule
  3. Help Requirements
  4. Delegation Needed
  5. Training Schedule
  6. Update Curriculum
  7. Adjust Course Prices
  8. Order Supply’s
  9. Order Class Materials
  10. Conventions and Seminars
  11. Speaking Engagements
  12. Inventory

Planning Tools

While planning, you will need to know two important aspects of your business: Where money is coming from and what costs are associated with the project we will run. Here is a break-down:

  1. Where is the money coming from?
  2. What percent of your business do you equate to Concealed Carry Classes, Basic Firearm Classes, Advanced Courses?
  3. Which are the most profitable?
  4. Which categories should you try to increase?
  5. Which categories should you drop?
  6. What percentages of each category will you plan to increase the next year?

The cost breakdown for each category and/or project is the next area you must be familiar. This is where a good accounting program is necessary. QuickBooks will meet this requirement when properly set up. If you are new to accounting, a good accountant, CPA, or experienced instructor may be able to assist you in setting up your accounting software.


Understanding business reports is an essential part of business success. Basic reports such as a Profit and Loss Statement, Sales by Class, Vendors and Payables, Purchases, Inventory, Payroll, Net Worth, and so forth.

Keep your reports as simple as possible. Many instructors who set up their own accounting programs oftentimes include too much detail. Too much detail distracts from the purpose of the report and confuses the results.

Understand your percentages and how they affect your bottom line. You may be in love with a particular course you offer, but if the costs to run the course are too high, it’s time to do something about it. Do you need to raise the fee for the course? Lower the costs associated with it? Or drop the course entirely?

Share Your Results

Your most important tool is the ability to share the results of your business with other instructors who have a similar training regimen. This does not mean you share your results with your direct competitors. Instead, find other trainers who are outside your region. If you’re in California and the other instructor is in Texas, clearly there is no conflict or competitive disadvantage.

You can find these instructors through chat rooms, social media, attending group training events. This also provides an excellent opportunity to share marketing and class ideas. The Level 1 Instructor Network is a community created for this purpose.

Fact Finding

Once these processes are in place, it’s time to ask the difficult questions. Some examples include:

  1. Can we anticipate, fairly accurately, our cash flow projections each month?
  2. What advertising, marketing, or promotions do we have in place that will meet or exceed our projections?
  3. Are there new or different products, courses, or services that we should make available to our customers?
  4. Are we getting our share of the business?
  5. Are there segments of the industry we can focus or specialize?
  6. Can we lower expenses per class?
  7. What are our strengths and weaknesses? Have we made a list of these? How can we improve?
  8. Have we given consideration to improving our skills? Sales ability? Advertising efforts? Planning? Promotion?
  9. Have we considered our cost of living increases? Have circumstances changed? How much can we raise our prices?
  10. What improvement can we make to our image? Personnel? Training? Community involvement?
  11. What personal goals do we want to achieve?
  12. How big do we want to grow in the next year? Are we ready for the increased volume?
  13. What improvements in employee benefits can we make?
  14. Should we establish a dress code?

Planning Results

Planning keeps you aware of your business, makes you think and find answers, creates a road map for your business. A plan allows you to act, rather than react. Without a plan, you are wondering aimlessly, never sure of where you are headed. Planning gives you the competitive edge. Planning should always:

  1. Increase profits.
  2. Create more customers.
  3. Produce better sales.
  4. Improve morale.
  5. Improve customer relationships.
  6. Create a better image.
  7. Increase volume.
  8. Save time or effort.
  9. Reduce costs.
  10. Produce a feeling of accomplishment.

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