“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else.” (Yogi Berra)
“Plans are nothing. Planning is everything” (Dwight Eisenhower)
A business plan should be clear and straightforward. The number of words is not the key. You must know exactly what you want to achieve and create the plan to get there. Whether you call this process a strategic plan or a business plan is not the critical. Ultimately, there are 3 main components to creating success and accomplishing your dreams:
1. Plan – Creating the Plan
a) Establish the critical values of your organization; What kind of company do you want to stand for in the Future?
Why write a Value Statement? (This can also be called a Mission Statement; Philosophy, a Vision Statement or whatever term is appropriate for your organization)
To ensure a consistent, clear purpose throughout the organization.
To provide a point of reference for all planning decisions.
To gain commitment from those within the organization by clearly communicating the nature and concept of the organization’s business.
To gain understanding and support from people outside the organization who are important to its success.
It is a dynamic, living document that enables virtually everybody within the organization to focus their efforts.
b) Define where you stand today; Do a SWOT analysis of your business.
Define the Present state. Identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to your business. It must be an honest assessment of what is driving you forward now and what is holding you back.
c) Your priorities – What is both important and urgent?
If you know where you are today (The Present) and you know where you want to be tomorrow (The Future), what do you have to do now to get there?
First: 4-5 years out
What fundamental changes are in store in your industry? Will there be a new class of users to target? What technologies are needed that don’t currently exist?
Second: 2- 3 years out
What do you have to do to move the company in the right direction? What are your long term plans to make the fundamental changes necessary?
Third: The current year
Decide “what are the most important things you have to do in the next 6 to 12 months that would have the greatest impact on your business?”
How will you know you are on the right track if you don’t have a way to evaluate your progress?
e) Establish Measurable Objectives
What specifically is going to be done to achieve your priorities? These are the priorities you have already admitted were the most important things to do this year.
Write SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and with a Time Frame.
They also have to be HARD. Heartfelt, Animated, Required and Difficult.
f) Action Plan: Turning your ideas into reality
Be very clear about what will be accomplished: The ‘what”, “where”, “when”, “how” of achieving each objective.
Describe the project
Define the objective
Identify the KPIs
Describe the benefits of completing the objective
List the Action Steps
Clarify the Training required
Recognize the Communications necessary
Explain the costs
Assign who is responsible
Do: Executing the Plan
Do what has to be done, when it has to be done, whether you like it or not.
Most everyone can put together a plan. Most can execute against the plan. Very few do the proper review to learn and adapt.
a) Review and evaluation
You need to establish a regular schedule when you will check your progress against the objectives you set. This needs to be at least once every 3 months at a minimum. It is here where you will make your corrections to the plan based on the changes that have happened to your business.
Celebrate the work and successes you have achieved. Day-to-day activity is hard work because you are bound by the details. Step back and enjoy the progress and success. Let everyone who has participated in your journey celebrate with you. They need it. And so do you.
If you are interested in creating a strategic business plan for the future success of your company, talk to your TalentValue adviser to discuss all your options.