The popular app “My Fitness Pal” has about 20 million subscribers.
You start using it by describing a little about yourself. Nothing too detailed. Just some basics like height, age, weight, etc. Next, you define some goals that aren’t limited to reaching and maintaining an ideal weight.
That’s part of it. But to lay out a fitness plan, you have to set some specific short-term objectives in a number of categories that include activity, nutritional balance, hydration and calories.
There is a psychology involved
When you use the app regularly, you pay closer attention to your behavior. When you pay attention to your behavior, you begin to adjust accordingly.
The short-term objectives become almost like competitive challenges. Meeting or exceeding them becomes motivation to keep at it. Next thing you know, you can see and feel results.
If you stop using it, however, chances are good you will slip right back into the behaviors that led you to sign up for the app in the first place. Stick with it and you find yourself meeting or exceeding longer term objectives and goals.
That all makes sense, right? Right.
Apply the same principles to business
My Fitness Pal is effectively a Strategy Execution Management (SEM) tool that is focused on fitness. Plan Canvas is an SEM tool that is focused on business. But they are otherwise, conceptually, the same.
For example, when developing business strategy and plans, you start by describing your business, much like you described yourself when you begin using My Fitness Pal. You don’t have to get too detailed. Just talk about things like how the business is structured, where it operates, what its target markets are, and what products/services it provides.
Next, you begin envisioning the future and setting some goals and objectives. Just as My Fitness Pal is not all about weight, plans you develop in Plan Canvas are not all about financials. There are other things to consider, such as social responsibility, employees, and customers.
This is all good stuff when it comes to planning. But just like with My Fitness Pal, goals and objectives don’t complete themselves. You have to complete them. And just like logging your regular accomplishments in My Fitness Pal, you track and log your actual business results in Plan Canvas – all for the same reasons. Observation, adjustment, and motivation. When you do this on a regular basis, poor habits begin to fade away as more productive habits take hold.
So why don’t we do it?
Why doesn’t everyone use My Fitness Pal and why doesn’t everyone who downloads it stick with it? Frankly, pizza tastes good and the couch is pretty comfortable. It’s just too easy not to. Some may not even know how to.
The same is true of business strategy planning and execution.
But the sobering reality is that a lack of formal planning – simplified and actionable plans – is a leading cause of business failures.
Not enough reality? How’s this. Half of all startups cease to exist within 5 years. Formal planning and execution practices (as we’ve defined it) doubles the odds of success. Still not enough? How’s this. Those who have made it beyond startup phase fair, on average, 33% better than their peers and competitors when formal planning and execution practices are in place.
Finally, even though you use My Fitness Pal, sometimes you still need a fitness trainer to help keep you focused. Similarly, in business, sometimes you need a consultant to help keep you focused.
Think of Plan Canvas as your “My Fitness Pal” tool for your business. It’s just a tool. You have to use it to get results. If you’re disciplined enough to use it on your own, great! If not, we have you covered.
Contact us for a demo or to discuss consulting options.