Q: WHAT ARE THE GOALS AND AMBITIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
All businesses have different goals and ambitions. For example some businesses decide to pursue a journey for high growth by increasing their sales and profits. Other businesses may have a plan for consolidation within the business. Other businesses may even be looking for an exit strategy to sell the business.
Whatever the goals are for your business, it is important that you have a plan on how your are intending to achieve these goals. For example if you goal is high growth, how do you intend to achieve this? i.e. do you intend to employ more sales staff or sell different products? You also need to quantify what you are looking to achieve, for example increase sales turnover from £5 million to £10 million over three years with a gross profit percentage of 35%. Finally you want to put a timeframe on when you are looking to achieve this plan.
SMART BUSINESS PLANNING USES SMART CRITERIA
All of these planning tasks that are required in order to achieve your objectives should form the basis of your plan. Ensure at all times that each task meets the SMART crtieria (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time bound). If it does not meet all the criteria then it should not be on the list.
TASK OWNERS AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Defining the tasks that need completing to deliver your business plan is a great start but who is going to complete these tasks? The plan needs to be agreed by all of the team with clear roles and responsibilities being agreed with outline completion dates. This is a key step in the process so that everyone within the team knows what they need to do. It is very difficult to hold someone to account for not completing a task that has been asked of them if they have not agreed that they will complete this task. Therefore the approach used at all times should be inclusive, not prescriptive.
REGULARLY REVIEW YOUR PLAN WITH THE TEAM
Agree with the team to regularly sit down and review the plan to ensure things are keeping on track. Generate an action log which highlights issues raised by the team again with owners and planned completion dates. As tasks are completed remove these from the action log. Also do not forget to acknowledge and credit team members for the achievements they make. Reward and recognition is a fundamental part of team building which is often overlooked in businesses. Saying thank you costs nothing and will make your team members feel valued and part of a team with a purpose.