We are close to the end of 2017, where did the year go?
As work starts to slow down in the lead up to the end of year, this is now a great time for business and personal reflection. Did you achieve everything you planned to do or did the year head down a different route?
If you feel as though the year didn’t quite pan out as expected, ask yourself why this happened, was this due to not having a written plan or did your plan stayed firmly put in your bottom drawer? The first step to achieving your visions is to commit to it on paper and then keep reminding yourself of your targets by referring to it throughout the year.
Here are 5 reasons why having a simple business plan will help you achieve all you want to achieve in 2018, they should spur you into action to create your plan now:
- It’s a great go to document when you have lost your way.
Business plans tend to be written when you have an open mind and the time to see the vision clearly of where you want to take the Company in the coming months.
To write your business plan, think wide and top level. The best plans do not get challenged on the “how to” more the “why you need to do it”, the how comes at the quarterly planning and setting the Company and teams Key Performance Indicators’ (KPIs).
The business plan shouldn’t just focus on the next 12 months, it has future vision, includes your BHAG™ and top line financials of the next 5, 3 and 1 year ahead, it is your guiding beacon to help you remember where you need to get to.
The business plan also captures your Companies values, purpose, brand promise and territory, these are not set in stone and do evolve with time and growth. They are also great to refer to when times get tough to remember why you are doing what you are doing.
- Its keeps you and the team on track.
A great business plan isn’t buried in the CEO’s office, its shared amongst the team so that every employee knows where the Company is heading, how they are contributing to this and how the Company is performing against its targets.
The benefits here are endless. Employee retention is a key one, employees love to know where they fit into the Company machine and how they are essential to Company success. Getting the key team involved in quarterly planning and setting them specific business plan related KPIs, which are measured daily/weekly keeps everyone on track and allows you to monitor how the Company is doing against its plan.
Another key benefit is helping with recruiting A player employees onto your team. Sharing with them the plan for the Company future shows they there is a future and where they can fit into it.
- The plan is transparent with Company KPIs.
Set up a Company situational room away from clients view displaying the business plan and have an updated tracker on the achievement to date against target so that everyone can see how the Company is performing.
This area is where you hold your daily huddle meetings so that the teams can update information in real time therefore allowing you to quickly make changes if things are going off track.
- Focus stays on a handful of critical numbers.
The One Page Strategic Plan concentrates on the critical numbers you need to monitor. I describe these numbers to clients as being the Company heart beat, the numbers you need to monitor to know immediately if the business is on track or not.
We can over complicate our business tracking by needing answers to many numbers which can sometime take the team many days, weeks and even months to compile. If a critical number takes months to compile then you going to be in trouble. By the time you know there is an issue, months have gone by delaying the time it will take you to make the required change.
We advise that you monitor on your annual business plan using 2 overall critical numbers, these should be available daily to allow you complete clarity on Company progress.
- A business plan should be simple and easy to use.
Over complicating a business plan is giving you an excuse to not achieve it. I have worked in Companies where writing the business plan appears to be a 5 month process. By the time its signed off, the whole team has got bored with it or we are already part way through the year and way off track – highly demotivational.
A simple process is best, with key employee input where needed. Involving everyone to get complete consensus is likely to delay the process. As the owner, sometimes you need to just set the top number and allow the team to work out the how.
If you can justify the numbers, so that there is substance behind them, then the team can complete the individual business plan to show how they plan to help you achieve it.
If you need help writing your business plan, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, we are here to simplify the process and get you back on track for a successful 2018.