Posts Tagged Business planning

Saturn in Virgo – To Plan or Not?

Cheshire Cat
Alice asked, “Cheshire-Puss…would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.


Last week we started looking at Saturn’s transit through the sign of Virgo, where it’s been since September 2007 and will leave in October 2009, returning for a few months during 2010.  To best take advantage of this energy, we’re going to begin looking at business planning, aided, of course, by astrology’s ability to forecast coming trends. 

We spoke last week about Saturn in Virgo’s love of classifying data into information to make it useful for decision-making.  Every business owner knows the importance of accounting and controlling, even if for no other purpose than preparing your taxes!

Upsides to Planning

I advise my clients to prepare detailed business plans each year.  I have found the most beneficial aspect of this is the planning process itself.  The combination of letting your imagination soar and then putting your ideas to the test on a spreadsheet is an invaluable learning tool. 

Most management consultants say that a drawback of business plans is that people tend to leave the plan on the shelf until next year when it’s time to make a new plan.  I disagree.  I know many people who go through the process – the process itself clarifies their priorities – then put the plan on a shelf, never look at it, and then when the next planning cycle comes and they take down last year’s plan, they find they have accomplished every  goal.  The process clarifies their intentions, and their intentions bring about the results.

I advise business planning because in the process you quantify your assumptions and test their validity.  There is nothing like cash flow projection worksheets to show you whether you’re in the realm of the reasonable or not.  Business planning is a time to test, analyze, and assimilate new ideas – activities Saturn in Virgo loves.  In the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had Saturn in Virgo,  “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Downsides to Planning

But I want to warn you before we begin about some of the downsides of Saturn in Virgo and how to avoid them.  For some people, the Virgo energy is tedious and time-consuming, and when added to Saturn, downright irritating.  Saturn can manifest emotionally as fear, worry, and a tendency to perceive a half-empty glass.  In Virgo, this can become worry over inconsequentials and becoming lost in data and details. 

The test with Saturn in Virgo is whether you have the discrimination to assess what is important and what is not.  And this discrimination comes with the business planning process itself. 

I know some business owners who don’t plan at all because they can’t keep their hope alive if they start to miss their metrics.  Or they feel they cannot control the outcomes, so why plan at all?  Or they sense the humorlessness that can be part of the process, the over-seriousness that can become so rigid there is no room for spontaneity and taking advantage of opportunities.  Other people make a business plan, but it is too vague, too unrealistic, or too future oriented.

What to do?

How do you walk the line between specific enough but not overwhelmed by details?  How can you let your optimism soar to the skies yet keep your feet on the earth as you plan the implementation?  By following a short step-by-step process that allows for creativity and practicality.

Over the next two weeks I’ll lay out a process for you, guided by astrology.  You can follow it day by day, as I will, and share how it’s going in the comments section below.  Or you can pick a couple of days between now and the end of October, clear as much of daily operations off of your desk as you can, sit down, have some dream time, and write your business plan for 2010.  Your business will thank you, your wallet will thank you, and you will thank yourself.

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Mars in Cancer – the Pandavas in exile

The central figure is Yudhishthira ; the two to his left are Bhima and Arjuna . Nakula and Sahadeva are to his right. Their wife, at far right, is Draupadi. Deogarh, Dasavatar temple. (Source:Wikipedia)

The central figure is Yudhishthira ; the two to his left are Bhima and Arjuna . Nakula and Sahadeva are to his right. Their wife, at far right, is Draupadi. Deogarh, Dasavatar temple. (Source:Wikipedia)

When I was writing the forecast for this week and thinking about Mars moving into the sign of Cancer, I kept remembering the Pandava brothers from the Indian epic, The MahabharataThe Mahabharata is an awesome, complex story in which the righteous heir to the throne, Yudishthira, loses his kingdom in a game of dice to his evil cousin.  He and his four brothers are exiled from their lands for thirteen years with the additional condition that during the thirteenth year they must be kept completely hidden. If anyone located them, they would have to spend another 12 years in exile.

Yudishthira and his brothers were known far and wide for their stupendous skills as warriors and for their weapons which were forged by the gods.  One display of these famous weapons and their whereabouts would immediately be recognized.  So they stowed their weapons in a tall tree in a cemetery and went into disguise for the year.  Each brother adopted a different cover and dwelled in the court of a righteous foreign king. 

This story of the exile of the warriors and hiding of the weapons reminded me so much of Mars in Cancer.  For the next two months we will make very little progress toward new or competitive goals, so what should we do?  How can we avoid being frustrated by our lack of momentum?  I turned to the Pandavas to see what we can learn from them to apply to our business lives between now and mid-October – our “warrior in hiding” time!

The Disguises

Yudishthira, the eldest and most righteous brother, put on the garments of a mendicant, a philosopher, and an expert in the game of dice.  He offered himself to the king as his companion.

Bheema, the strongest brother and the one most prone to anger and temper, offered his services as the chief cook in the kitchen of the king.  Cooking had always been his hobby and he used this proficiency to his advantage during this time.  He also was put in charge of the king’s gymnasium where he trained youngsters in the art of wrestling.

Arjuna, the greatest archer of his time, had once visited his father, Indra, the king of heaven, and had been cursed by a heavenly dancing girl for refusing her offer of love.  She cursed the virile Arjuna to spend a year as a eunuch.  During their year of hiding, Arjuna took advantage of this curse.  Versed in the dancing, singing, and music arts, he offered to train the women in the king’s harem to be singers and dancers.

Nakula, the most sensitive and beautiful brother, was an ancient times horse whisperer.  He demonstrated his power to the king and the king put him in charge of the stables.

Sahadeva was the wisest and most diplomatic of the Pandava brothers.  He was talented at gently coaxing cows to yield the best milk.  Since the king’s chief wealth was his cattle, he offered these services to the king.

The Take-aways

Of course these classic stories are open to many levels of interpretation, but here is my take.  Generally each brother, upon relinquishing the weapons he normally relied upon, turned to another skill in their possession and brought it forward.  They set alternate goals to achieve success during the time.

Yudishthira became philosopher and teacher, and interestingly, taught the king the very skill, dice, that he had played so badly he had lost his entire birthright.  Take-away:  Use this time to hone a skill to perfection that has caused you trouble in the past.

Bheema offered a hobby he loved and also mentored young people in his skill as a warrior.  Take-away:  Focus on fulfilling an alternate pastime and use this time to mentor others in your primary skills.

Arjuna used the time to discharge a difficult karmic debt to his advantage by accepting the curse to become a eunuch and teaching music and dancing.  Take-away:  use this time to address a difficulty in your business that you’ve been putting off.  Find an area where you must acknowledge a debt and make it right.

Nakula brought his hidden psychic qualities to the fore and became head of the horse stables.  Take-away:  Embrace the passivity of the period and dream.  Bring forward and develop inner skills and qualities you can put to use when the energy thrusts forward again.

Sahadeva worked with the king’s cows to get them to produce the best milk.  Take-away:  Focus on one aspect of your business you usually don’t have time for, perhaps a research and development project, and see if you can really perfect the process or product.

Let me know how you plan to make the most of these next two Mars in Cancer months.  What alternate ways will you employ to keep you and your team motivated?

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Saturn in Virgo – Managing by the Details

Luca Pacioli, the creator of double-entry bookkeeping. (Source:Wikipedia)

Luca Pacioli, the creator of double-entry bookkeeping. (Source:Wikipedia)

I’d like to start talking about medium term trends so you can take advantage of the current energies. 

There are three categories of planets when looking at trends. 

  1. The inner, personal planets and luminaries are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars.  These are planets that move so quickly around the zodiac that they influence our day to day lives but do not deliver a lasting impact. 
  2. We’ve covered some of the very long term transits of the outer planets, Pluto in Capricorn, and Neptune in Aquarius.  Uranus is also a planet with a very long orbit and I’ll cover him in upcoming posts.  These three planets are called the impersonal planets because they have such long orbits that they tend to affect long periods of time and whole generations of people.
  3. There are two transpersonal planets, Jupiter and Saturn, which have orbits somewhere in between, twelve years for Jupiter, 29 years for Saturn.  These planets are not entirely personal as they stay in one sign so long that large groups of people are born under the same sign.  But they’re not entirely impersonal either, as they indicate trends that play out over a manageable group of years and we have some power to take advantage of their influence.  They are seen as a bridge between the purely personal planets and the purely impersonal planets.

We’re going to skip to Saturn in Virgo, because there are only a few more months of this influence.  Saturn entered the sign of Virgo in September 2007 and will leave the sign in late October 2009.  It will briefly revisit Virgo from April to July 2010, but then it doesn’t return for 29 years.  We want to make sure we’ve made the most of it before it leaves!

We’ve spoken about Saturn and how its qualities are beneficially associated with business ownership.  Saturn understands conservatism, budgeting, and the needs for controls, policies, and rules.  Saturn contracts the energy of ideas and inspiration into the material plane.  It sees the goal at the top of the mountain and can patiently follow a prescribed plan to get there.  Saturn does rule boundaries and limitations, yes, but willingly accepts these as a fact of life on this physical earth and knows how to put these things to use to accomplish success. 

We haven’t talked about the sign Virgo yet.  Virgo also has a natural alignment with business, especially the parts of business management having to do with planning, documnetation, auditing, accounting, and finance.  Virgo has a facility with all kinds of information, especially the collecting and categorizing of information that then can be turned into  knowledge.

I once attended a seminar in a business conference that spelled out the following flow:

Data     becomes        Information   becomes       Knowledge     becomes    Future Strategy

 Virgo rules the first step in this process, where data is categorized into information.  Virgo understands the practical need for documentation and systems of testing and analysis so that all the pieces of data can be turned into useful information.  Virgo records the details, in black and white, that must be preserved for future decision-making.  In addition to accounting, bookkeeping, and auditing, it also rules engineering and scientific research.  It is practical and down to earth, cares more for application than theory.   Virgo is fond of precise and detailed rituals, daily routines which performed day after day add up to a storehouse of practical wisdom.

Saturn in the sign of Virgo brings conservatism and material outcomes to business planning, auditing, and analysis.  And since we’re firmly in the second half of the year, why wait to write your 2010 business plan?  Remember, you only have until the end of October to have the support of this energy.  What are some of the items Saturn in Virgo is looking for?

  • Do you and your company have a clearly defined mission with a written mission statement?
  • Do you have a written sales plan?
  • Have you developed an annual budget?
  • Do you have a written pricing policy?
  • Is your inventory adequately controlled?
  • Do you have an adequate bookkeeping system?
  • Are you aware of tax laws and their implications when making decisions?
  • Do you perform cash flow projections regularly?
  • Do you prepare daily, weekly, and monthly financial reports?
  • How do you insure quality control?

This is what Saturn in Virgo loves.  Note we did not mention what you do with all of this information.  Saturn in Virgo is concerned with having the process and systems in place to provide it.  It takes other planets and signs to interpret and form strategies from it.  But without the above, there is no information at all.

So over the next couple of week, we’re going to celebrate Saturn in Virgo by talking about business planning for 2010.  And not just any planning, but a process informed by the astrology of the coming year and how you can take advantage of the trends.  We’ll begin next week by looking at some of the pitfalls of Saturn in Virgo, and business planning in general, and how to avoid them.

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