The sheer fact that you run a large corporation, or even a family business means that you know the value of planning.

Your business plan shouldn’t be a document that was prepared some time ago, and that now sits on a shelf gathering dust. It needs to be a living and breathing document that adapts with the needs of your business; your business plan needs to outline your company’s immediate, short, medium and long-term goals, and the processes by which they will be met.

Furthermore, a business plan doesn’t simply provide a framework for a company to make progress; it is also a formal document that can influence your stakeholders’ contributions. For instance, business plans are often requested when finance is required, or mergers or sales are looming.

As documents, business plans can vary from succinct summaries on a few notes papers, to tomes that span hundreds of pages depending on the needs of the business or corporation.

While leaders often manage their business plans with meticulous care, they can neglect to make personal plans. Just as a well-executed business plan outlines strategies to take your business to the next level and protect in the case of the unexpected, a personal plan can provide a structure through which you can attain your own goals.

Whether married, partnered, single, or with or without children, we all have goals.  I haven’t met too many people aiming to retire on the poverty line, or who purposely leave their loved ones in a poor financial position… yet, it happens.

Like a business plan, a financial plan is an essential tool to make things happen. It can be as sophisticated as a road map – outlining all the wealth creation and protection strategies needed for many years to come, or it can simply cover the various areas you’d like managed within a certain time – for instance, the financial year.

Just as you may only need to tweak the marketing part of your business plan to adapt to the ever-changing social media environment, you may need to tweak the protection strategies in your financial plan to reflect the changes in your life.

Broadly speaking, financial planning covers wealth creation and protection, but these include what can become complex areas as far as advice goes –  retirement and investment planning, superannuation, philanthropy, appropriate structures, estate planning and insurances. For extended family, aged care and Centrelink planning may also be of concern. Your financial adviser can guide you as to whether you’ll need input from other professionals such as trustee companies, lawyers and accountants.

It’s up to you how much you choose to tackle at any one time, but the best advice is to start thinking about your financial goals now. How much would you like to live on in retirement? What would you like to provide as a legacy for your children, a charity, or even the business? Are your parents aging?  Do you have a young family that you’d like to consider education funding for?

As the proverb goes, “Time and tide wait for no man.”

Having a plan assists us to stop procrastinating and start executing. The systems you put in place now help you to get ahead and give you more freedom. There’s not much these days that is set in stone, so your plans can be as flexible as you need them to be.

It’s time to make things happen.