Simple “Who’s Next” Relationship Plan: What Experts Say

A plan is a decision about what you’re going to do. It can be as detailed as you choose and potentially complicated. Or it can be core and more simple. I’ve noticed that when you’re running a one man, one woman show or any type of small team, it’s easy to get lost in the details. So make the details second to the beautiful parts of the vision.


For example, it’s the new year and we have fitness resolutions dancing in our heads. But instead of thinking of the 4 or 5 workouts a week and the diet changes, you could choose to focus on a flat tummy in your favorite shirt, a shopping spree at the 20 pound mark, how fun Zumba classes are on Monday nights and the new tasty gourmet meals that you’ll discover, etc.

You still get the same results, but you have a lot more fun along the way.

I have found that adding the pleasure to your business plans makes it easier to do the grunt work as well. For me, it’s not about the workout. It’s about the 20 minutes in the steam room afterwards. It’s not about the hours at the desk, it’s about a solution for the small business owners that I know and love. Now, I’ll show up for that.

Here are four different types of business plans to consider for this year.

The Relationship Plan

In “What Matters Most: Business (Part II),” John Mariotti tells a simple (true) story that makes it easier for you to understand the power of tenacity and relationships in pursuing new clients. His tale highlights the never-give-up, never-back-down, but service-driven-attitude that it takes to attract new clientele. And it reminds you to keep showing up. Because one day your prospects will have an emergency, a problem that you can solve. You just need to be ready and available.

The “Who’s Next” Plan

Every business or program has to have successors but it’s common for small business owners to operate like superman doesn’t have a weakness. Well he does and it’s time to plan for it.  It’s time to identify and train a team that is ready to lead when the time comes.

But first you have to:

  1. Get clear about every position in the company and who will fill each spot in the face of an emergency, life-change or tragedy.
  2. Get your team ready to lead now with real world experiences. I love this one because there’s nothing like feeling the fear and handling the situation anyway.

When training your team, get focused on the position you are preparing them for and realistic about how long it will take to get them ready. There is a serious difference between being the right hand man and the front runner. Your team players need a chance to feel that difference and learn to manage it. And real world practice makes it better.

In “The Key to Succession Planning Is Having A Strong Bench,” John gives additional advice to help you plan for the long term future of your business.

The “No BS” Plan

Ivana Taylor says:

“The reason most of our business plans fail is because we leave them on the paper or we suck the life out of them by giving them uninspiring names.”

I agree and to combat that you can do what I did:

  1. Choose the two or three major projects that you will to accomplish this year.
  2. Name them something that inspires you and your team every time you hear it.
  3. Create a visually appealing image to represent the project and put it on the wall.

There will be many details in order to complete your plan, but the core or your desire (with a cool name) will be in your face daily.

For Ivana’s no BS plan check out “A New And Improved Goal Setting Process For Your Business (And Life).” She encourages us to know what our real commitments are, to plan with those in mind, to get them down on paper as soon as possible and then off the page and into real life.

The Simple Plan

And if you are really overwhelmed, just start with the The Overwhelmed Small Business Owner’s Guide to Simplicity. You have to be in motion to be in the game. So even if you take baby steps, as long as you keep moving in the right direction, you will eventually arrive at your destination.

But if you stand in the same place, you’ll be left behind. So, just get started.

Plan Photo via Shutterstock


Jamillah Warner Jamillah Warner (Ms.J), a poet with a passion for business, is a Georgia-based writer and speaker and the Marketing Coordinator at Nobuko Solutions. She also provides marketing and communication quick tips in her getCLEAR! MicroNewsletter.

3 Reactions
  1. Jamillah, i enjoyed this post. In my experience, sometimes, you don’t even have to be going in the right direction. Just moving, stepping out, helps you find the right direction. I think this is what you’re saying — don’t be afraid to try, to experiment. Just don’t wait for everything to be perfect. It never is. Keep moving. Yes.

  2. Hi TJ,

    Love your summary: “Just don’t wait for everything to be perfect. It never is. Keep moving.”

    Glad you like the article. Thanks!
    – Jamillah

  3. Thank you for this great article! Although I love all the plans listed above, my favorite is “The Simple Plan”. I like to take baby steps initially, and if I know that my team is going in the right direction, covering all milestones of the project, that is a big boost on enthusiasm, which we should of course celebrate from time to time.