As Yogi Berra stated, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might not get there.” Such is an example of the kind of results caused by a lack of developing, documenting and using a simple Business Plan on a routine basis.
In this age of Change, Computerization and Complexity, based on both research and practical experience, the following management actions are recommended.
1. Envision the planned accomplishment.
“Begin with the end in mind.” As simplified by Stephen R. Covey who defined this Habit of Highly Effective People, planning is best begun with a clear definition of the planner’s destination. Since business is a goal oriented endeavor, definition of vision as a starting point is a necessity.
2. Encompass the purpose of business.
Peter Drucker so clearly and appropriately defined in simple terms and recommendations, “The purpose of business is to create a customer.” Profits are a result, not the purpose of providing products or services that satisfy the needs of a customer. Marketing and Customer Service are key components.
3. Assess the current market conditions.
Research of external and internal conditions is commended and may advise of the impact on plan details including customer behavior and staffing. A classic SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis is a must. Definition of a Business Model to precede a plan is to be considered.
4. Define the functions required to operate.
Typically a combination of marketing, operations or service, finance, human resources, computer systems and general management are necessary to achieve and sustain a successful business. Depending on business type and size, human resources and computer systems are often outsourced.
5. Identify the critical performance areas.
Price Waterhouse research in pre computer days indicated that only 7 to 10 key parameters were typically being tracked routinely by senior executives. In this computer age key performance indicators, (KPI’s) defining dollars, units and ratios, each with limits, are best identified and included in the planning process.
6. Select a proven planning process.
An internet search of business software will reveal long lists of planning programs. Most provide formats which feature variations of vision, mission, values, strategy, objectives, projects and budgets. The simplicity and ease of use of the acclaimed One Page Business Planning System® of Jim Horan is unmatched.
7. Review results per a defined routine.
An essential supplement to a Plan is a periodically scheduled and well defined Business Review by management. With an agenda to include an analysis of graphic/data comparisons of actual versus planned performance, the results of quantified objectives can be assessed and revisions to action plans made.
In summary, completion of these 7 tasks best assures successful business plan usage.
Consider requesting Total Business Care with its integrated services to assist.