Believe it or not, in the past seven years of running Ugmonk we’ve never written an official business plan. While we do plan out a general schedule for what we want to accomplish each year, we’ve spent very little time thinking through a higher-level strategic plan and vision. We’ve been fortunate to have a good bit of success over the years by figuring things out as we go, but we also realize there is a lot of value in having a detailed, focussed plan.
Having a plan brings clarity, and clarity leads to action.We recently traveled to the middle of nowhere West Virginia for our first-ever Ugmonk planning retreat. While we could have easily done this at home, it was extremely helpful to be in a different physical location isolated from all distractions. It also didn’t hurt that the place we stayed was a beautiful modern prefab house nestled in the woods. We spent the whole weekend thinking through our vision for where we want to take the brand. Rather than getting caught up in building out features designing or fixing things, the entire weekend was dedicated to brainstorming.
The beauty of true brainstorming is that there’s no such thing as a bad idea.Brainstorming allows you to be unfiltered, not worrying about the validity of the ideas. Just getting everything down on paper (or a Google Doc) is extremely helpful. Once we had our giant list of ideas compiled, we filtered them down, organized them, and turned them into an actionable plan. It feels great to return with a clearer vision and renewed excitement for the next phase of Ugmonk. We’ve just barely scratched the surface of our potential. Lots of exciting things in store :)
Here's a few starter questions that might be helpful to get you thinking about your own business:
- What is our mission?
- What are our core values and unique strengths?
- What have we done in the past that we should be doing more of?
- What should we be doing less of?
- What are our biggest bottlenecks or roadblocks?
- What size to we want to grow the business to? How are we going to get there?