An annual business calendar can make a tremendous difference in your business. However, many small to midsized companies make excuses for not having a calendar. I hear the excuses all the time. Some businesses tell me, “It’s not important at this stage of the business.” While others say, “We are too small, and we don’t have time.”
I understand that sometimes a business is too small for certain things. If you have ten employees, you probably are too small for an HR manager, but you are not too small for a calendar!
Even if you just have one employee, you should still build an annual calendar. It allows you to plan better for the year, and it helps you clarify what will be happening. Sometimes our plans for the year are not feasible.
Bill Gates said, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.”
Human propensity for overestimating what you can do in a year is exasperated when you don’t have a company calendar. It’s akin to not counting the money in your bank account and just spending it. Time — like cash — must be carefully spent.
When you don’t look at a calendar, you run out of time and don’t realize where it’s been. Make an annual calendar for your business every year without fail. However, if you haven’t built a calendar yet, go ahead and do it. There’s still a huge value in creating one.
Calendars help show you when you will be busy and when you will have slowdowns; they also help you predict the future. Calendars can help you determine problems with productivity that might occur when July 4th occurs during the middle of the work week. You might not have as much productivity during that week as you do during a typical year.
Calendars bring a level of clarity into business. For entrepreneurs, business owners, and founders, they rely on running a lot of the business in their heads. They have almost crystal-clear clarity of what their businesses look like going into the future.
However, as soon as you hire employees, those employees have a lot of questions. What does the vacation schedule look like? When are the holidays? When do we get paid? When do we do strategic planning?
Building a calendar is partially for you, but mostly it’s for the people you work with — your staff, your partner companies, and your customers.
Put all your holidays and company meetings on the calendar, including your quarterly meeting and celebrations. Don’t forget to include future conferences, birthdays and work anniversaries. I’d also encourage you to add customer deadlines to make sure they get met.
When you have finished your calendar, sit back and take a look at it as a whole. A calendar is like a mosaic; you can’t see the impact of a year from looking at a day or a week. As you zoom out from the days, to the months, to the year, what do you discover? What needs to change? What constraints do you see?
Don’t worry about having a perfect calendar before you publish it. You can always update it. Some people don’t publish a calendar because they spend too much time trying to perfect it.
What’s the best format to use? There are many electronic calendars you can use. I always recommend the calendar that is the easiest one for everyone to use and maintain. That might be the calendar on Microsoft, Google, or another platform.
Calendars help business owners plan better, see the future with more clarity, and discover constraints and changes that need to be made. Do you have one?
Written by: Wade Wyant
Red Wagon Advisors, West Michigan Scaling Up Coach