The Executive Suite Blog

Want A Thriving Business? Focus On Planning Smart!

Posted by Warren Rutherford on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 @ 08:36 PM

I have presented information that can assist you in creating and maintaining workforce alignment by having the right types of people, in the right places at the right times, doing the right things right.

What I will discuss now is how to determine the “right things” by discussing planning smart. In my career I have developed a considerable number of strategic, operational, and business plans. I believe that enabling your employees and your business to develop and maintain a clear focus on your corporate vision, mission, purpose, and values yields productive and profitable results.

Why Not To Plan

Companies avoid planning for a variety of reasons – not enough time, the plan’s out of date, it’s in my head, too long, etc. With all these reasons the need for a plan remains consistent though – to implement a vision, you have to be able to describe it; to reach your goals, they must be specific, accountable and in writing; and to build a business, everyone must know what action is expected from them. Pretty simple, you need to get from point A to point B!

Companies consistently avoid planning, however, because of the time commitment to develop AND to implement the plan. I prefer an actionable plan to all others, especially actionable plans that significantly reduce development and implementation time. It’s a better use of your time – and mine!

planning smart

What Format Works The Best?

I find that the One Page Business Plan® model provides just that – a plan that is captured on one page using key words and short phrases. The One Page Plan has five elements – a vision, mission, objectives, strategies, and action plan. Let’s briefly describe each one.

Your Future Vision

The vision statement identifies what you are building by focusing on what your business will look like in 3 to 5 years. If you can identify your target market, your geographic reach, your key products or services, and your sales goal you have the building blocks for a good vision statement. But we don’t stop there.

Your Timeless Mission

The mission statement asks you to explain why your business exists. In this regard, think about what your customers or clients would say about your business and consider making your mission timeless. What is your unique selling proposition, your value from their lens?

Specific And Measurable Objectives

The next step is developing your business objectives by identifying specific and measurable objectives in the following four areas – financial, employee, process, and customer focus. Your objectives will focus on results – they must be specific, measurable, and achievable within 1 year, (e.g. increase growth sales from $ 2 million to $ 2.8 million by 4th quarter 2012).

The Three-Legged Stool Of Strategies  

Developing strategies will require you to answer how you are going to build your company. Since the strategies will complement your business objectives they should be financial, employee, process and customer focused. For effective strategy development I use the analogy of a 3-legged stool; that is each strategy should have at least 3 parts to it; (e.g. focus on new homeowner, condominium complexes, & warm weather markets).

Take Action And Implement!

Finally, your action plan focuses on the work to be done in each fiscal quarter, (e.g. implement new markets program by March 31, 2012.) Remember – specific, measurable, and actionable.

As you look at your business, ask yourself – are you planning smart? Do your employees have a role in plan development? What percent of your employees know your strategy, your objectives, your vision, and your mission? Is your budget aligned to your strategy? How well is your workforce aligned for positive, long-term company growth? It sounds simple – getting from point A to point B – let’s make it productive and profitable.

Tags: one page business plan, planning smart, vision, mission, strategies, action plan, objectives