It’s not a secret that having a battle plan is key to winning the war. The most notable commanders in history have led their armies to victory not by merely having more men, but by careful strategic planning and masterful execution of those plans.
In the corporate (battle)field, it’s no different. An entrepreneur or team leader is like a field commander who needs to have a clear vision to inspire his team and move them in the right direction.
A business plan allows you to define where you want your company to be in the next years and beyond. Having a strategy gives more structure to your business, and enables you to communicate your vision to your team so that everyone can strive towards a common goal.
According to a study published in 2010, more than 11,000 companies say that their business performance increased because of planning. Having a plan in place before rushing in to do business is a must if you want to increase your chances of success in the long run.
Here are five types of planning to consider in your 2018 business plan:
Every successful business starts with innovative and revolutionary ideas. But to sustain a business, you need to have a plan.
Strategic planning is a long-term plan that usually spans 3-5 years, but you can already start figuring out your goals and strategies for 2018 and the succeeding years. It is like a blueprint that states the company’s purpose and analyzes the different opportunities, strengths, and weaknesses that it may encounter in the industry.
The primary goal of strategic planning is to identify where you want your business to be after 2 or 3 years. Once you know your destination, then you can set your sights on the milestones you have to achieve that will help your business grow and increase your chances of success—whether you define it as making a substantial annual profit or being the top player in your industry.
Gone are the days when having a hefty lump of cash from an angel investor can guarantee success in business. Now, large corporations or newly-founded startups alike have to be agile and flexible, continuously adapting to the times.
Unlike strategic planning, operational planning focuses on how different departments can organize so that the whole business can perform at peak performance. This means optimizing the workflow so that new clients are brought up to speed—from pitch to sale with the least amount of waste on time and resources as possible.
Having a well-thought-out operational plan reduces the wear-and-tear on your business “engine” and helps keep your business functioning like a well-oiled machine.
If ideas are the soul of business, then money is the blood that needs to flow through its veins. Financial planning tackles the economic health of a company and focuses on giving every dollar a job so that the business can earn enough profit to make it sustainable in the long run.
The financial projections of your business plan should contain three documents:
A cash-flow statement showing where you’ll get your money from (investors, loans, etc.) and how you plan on spending it
An income statement that predicts how much money you’ll earn on revenue and how much you’ll lose from expenses
A balance sheet, illustrating how much your business owns (assets) versus how much it will owe (liabilities) in the coming years.
If you’re startup, it’s even easier because you don’t have to worry about historical financial data, which is an additional section for established enterprises.
If you plan on convincing investors to invest in your company, then having a solid financial plan can be a big boost to having your funding proposal approved.
Strategic planning requires consistent tracking so that you can identify if, for example, your sales are going on a downward trend and immediately come up with adaptive measures to solve it.
Sales planning gives you an idea of the different ways you can make a sale and further promote your business. This includes everything—from how you’re going to identify your target market, how you’re going to market and promote your product or service, and how you can make a profit off your brand.
Ultimately, a sustainable sales strategy is something that solves short-term problems while paving the way for long-term benefits such as retaining customers and clients.
Despite the seeming dependence of modern businesses in technology, employees are still the greatest asset of a company. As your company grows, so should your people—both the top-level executives and regular employees who work as hard to develop your company.
Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation is renowned for practicing an open-book management by making it a priority to involve all employees when developing strategic business plans. Through this, they can develop and assess the potential of their employees to identify who they can train to take on leadership roles within the organization.
Even if you don’t practice an open-book management style in your company, planning a regular performance assessment allows your team to recognize their strengths, weaknesses, and room for growth. If your sales department isn’t reaching their monthly goals, for instance, you can set them up for a workshop so that they can learn about the value of high impact selling and practice their skills.
If you’re an entrepreneur or business decision maker, now’s the time to consider these factors and start crafting a strategic plan for 2018.
That said, a business plan is not a set-it-and-forget-it thing. In reality, things happen that we don’t expect, and a good business manager makes do with what he has, adapts to the situation at hand, and modifies the plan so that the company can stay on course and achieve its goals.
As innovations continue transforming the business landscape, training your skills in strategic planning is a must for those aiming for the top.
Filed Under Business Development