Posts Tagged ‘ business plan ’

Who Do You Think You Are?

When I was a sophomore in high school, a teacher did a simple exercise in empathy and ethnocentric attitudes. He taped a ruled line piece of white tablet paper to the black board. Every student was to write down a description of no more than 5-words about what he had just attached to the black board. It was amazing how many variations in perception there was to such a simple daily object. So, you can image how much more complex is the task of defining who and what your organization is.

It is YOUR perception, or understanding of the various perceptions of your organization, that will set the tone of Who Do You Think You Are. In answering the question you establish your organizational objective statement. This statement will branch-out to guide goals and objectives, new products and services, and future opportunities as the pertain to your organization and its marketplace.

In defining your organization, remember that you are a combination of your product / service, the needs you satisfy, and the service received by your customers as they attempt to satisfy their need.

No Business Plan, No Problem!

If you’ve come to this place in time of your organizational life cycle without a documented plan, and not sure how to begin the process in mid-stream; no worries! I am presuming, of course, that you are not on the brink of bankruptcy due to the lack of planning and review.

My first suggestion is that you clean off your desk to begin setting up short term goals and objectives that can be implemented immediately: today or tomorrow. Document your end of year targets:

  • gross sales
  • prospecting growth (new accounts)
  • marketing plan
  • promotional budget
  • operating expenses

In your review and analysis of the short term goals and objectives, constantly review new strategies:

  • prospects
  • cross sell existing customers
  • marketing and promotional avenues with best ROI
  • expenses in your operating budget.

Over the next several months you will also reflect and establish the long term organizational issues, which I tend to do in reverse order:

  • succession plan
  • 10-year vision
  • 5-year vision
  • 3-year vision

Be sure to establish earmarks on your long term plans. Keep in mind that these plans will get worked into the short goals and objectives. They may come to fruition, or be adjusted to accommodate new theories, technologies, and opportunities.

Business Planning ~ Analyze Goals & Objectives

The first impact on your business plan is that you are being attentive!

Developing your business will always be a challenge. Your plan should be a method to keep focus. Before you start, pull together your customer list, marketing plan, and P&L financials. A review against the earmarks will give you an easy, tell-tale sign.

  • Are the sales in line with projection? How about your profit margin to draw in those sales?

  • Did your prospecting campaign reap the returns you needed?

  • Have you maintained the marketing goals, within budget?

Likely, you have a strong gut feel for the answers to these issues, and likely you are right. But a review will insure you’re heading into the balance of 2012 with the proper planning.

In the event that you recognize something that you’ve missed in the daily activities of doing business, you can adjust accordingly. Before you simply adjust projected sales to be in line with the track you appear to be on through 5-months, consider doubling down, or adjust your thinking on some of the goals established to reached your year end objectives. Maybe you’ve strayed from your marketing plan and have the opportunity to get back on track, or re-direct some of your efforts to support your plan. Also, leave yourself open to something that may have come to light since setting your objectives.

Whatever you find, mid-year reviews and adjustments are always fruitful.

Did you find that your planning was dead-on in your projections, or ahead of projection? Give yourself recognition!

Business Planning ~ Establish Goals & Objectives with Employees

The first impact on your business plan is that you are being attentive!

Employees may have done the exercise and put their respective goals and objectives (G&O) in the desk drawer. Once they realize you will be focused on their commitment to the organizational performance, they will be more attentive to their contributions and subsequent results.

When engaging your management team for contributions to this exercise, be sure to give ample time for them to offer thoughtful objectives and attainable goals. It does no one any good for sales and marketing to offer up a 20% increase in sales without the proper resources in finances, staff, and procedures to support the gained market share.

I would encourage you to introduce the exercise as a topic in a scheduled meeting (you ARE meeting with your team, RIGHT?) Assure them that this isn’t a GOTCHA proposition. Proceed to discuss the long term objectives of the organization and what is needed from each department for these objectives to be achieved. Give a short deadline to begin the project (perhaps 10 calendar days) and schedule individual meetings with each person during the subsequent week.

Individually, or departmentally, discuss the overall goals and objectives they’ve identified. Are they attainable and realistic? What is the impact on resources: more staff, promotional cost, equipment, impact on SOP (standard operating procedures)?

After the various groups have had their meetings, review the individual plans against your original organizational goals and objectives.

This is where you will set organizational priorities.

Adjusting Your Business Plan

You rang in the New Year. Au Lang Syne! You shook off your frustrations and losses, and set your sights of a prosperous New Year!

In setting your annual business plan, it is important to establish your short term (six to twelve months) goals and objectives (G&O’s). But you must also monitor and set earmarks against these G&O’s to better plan the longterm. It is the longterm (3-5-10 years) that exercises the macro plan and sets the corporate “big picture” vision.

If this is your first year executing your business plan – Congratulations! Be sure to monitor and analyze the G&O. Use this as a learning experience. You’ll gain insight to the realistic nature of your expectations. Before your re-track your steps, remember that sometimes it’s just a tweak that’s needed. “Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water!” This is a live and learn exercise.

If the plan has been operating for sometime, continue to monitor G&O and press for new methods and better results. Optimize your core assets: staff, equipment, and time. The following are some good concepts to consider when gauging the analysis of your 2012 Plan:

  • Have revenues measured up to expectations?

  • Is Operations and Technology, Sales and Marketing, and Administration holding true to their G&O’s? (Be sure you are receiving goals and objectives from every manager of staff and systems, and that they are in line with the organization!)

  • With the information you have through this analysis, what steps can be done to enhance performance over the balance of the year?

The first impact on your business plan is that you are being attentive! Employees (if you are blessed with them) may have done the exercise and put their respective G&O in the desk draw. Once they realize you are paying attention, they will be more attentive to their results and contributions.

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