|Small Business Information|
The Game Plan ? The Difference Between Small Business Success And Failure
It is an American dream to own a business. But sadly, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, only 1 in 5 businesses is still in business 5 years after it opens.
A business needs a great business plan, but it doesn't give management enough information to have a successful, profitable business. You dramatically increase your chance of success with a game plan. According to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey, over half of the fastest growing firms not only have business plans, but also have separate game plans to keep them focused on what must be done day to day.
A business plan gets you in the game. A game plan keeps you in the game. To use the sports analogy, it's easy to see how you are going to win the game in from the locker room. Most businesses don't have a working plan that takes into account what actually happens on the field once play starts.
A business plan is a sales brochure and a game plan is an instruction manual. You send a business plan to potential investors and others to excite them about the business. A business plan is about strategy. You create a business plan at a management meeting. A game plan is about tactics and is created by and for the people on the front lines. A game plan talks openly about the good, the bad, and the ugly in the business and is used by people in the business to make decisions every day. It talks about what to do in a crisis.
Here's an example of what I mean:
The CEO takes a look at his balance sheet and decides that his company has too much of its cash tied up in inventory, so he gets his managers together and creates a new corporate objective for the year - to reduce inventory by 25%. If they do that they will all be entitled to a bonus. The managers aren't stupid ? they know the only way to reduce inventory is to sell what they can and not replace it. So they put on a special promotion for their hottest selling items, they reduce the inventory of those to almost nothing, and they get their bonus. But what has really happened here. The CEO's company is now left with the inventory of the items that weren't selling, and they don't have adequate inventory of their best selling items. The CEO didn't really lead, the employees cared more about their bonuses than doing what was right for the company, and there wasn't a plan of action that was tied into a meaningful company objective.
A game plan focuses on these things: creating big goals that matter, giving individual employees responsibility to carry out their portion of those goals, creating a budget and a reward system that supports the goals, and tools to allow employees to measure their own progress.
Steps in the Game Plan Process
The game plan requires a series of steps, beginning with the CEO getting in touch with his or her desires for the business. Then, the management team must delve into what is real for the business today ? understanding the business model (how the company makes money), having a handle on what is happening in the market, and finally, knowing what is happening in the company culture. With all this background work done, the actual creation of the game plan begins. At best, it is a facilitated process of discussions matching what is real today with what is possible tomorrow, in the long run and in the short run.
A game plan only looks out a year at most, but within the context of a much longer period of time. The company might decide where they want to be in five years ? the game plan is just the next series of steps toward that longer-term goal. There is no point in setting objectives for which there aren't adequate resources, so objectives and budget are discussed in tandem. Another challenge of the game planning process is to define success for each objective and decide how it will be measured.
This is a time for healthy argument as sales wants more resources to increase revenue, product development wants more of the objectives to be toward R&D for the company's future, and the operations manager wants more staff to improve quality. This is also the time for managers to consider the implications for all the decisions. And it is the time for the CEO to create a connection between the objectives and each of the managers so that there is personal commitment to the success of the company. If managers are not committed, they will never be able to expect commitment from other employees.
Turning Objectives Into Actions
When the company objectives and budget are ironed out, about half the work is done. A second series of steps takes the objectives set at a corporate level, and creates specific action items for each employee that support the department and then company objectives. Just as the CEO and the managers hashed out the process of give and take between what is today and where they would like to be tomorrow, each manager must go through the same process with the departments' employees. Each employee must have a series of actions, but most importantly, each employee should know where they stand at any time they wish to check.
For instance, if the objectives for a customer service employee are to keep call length to an average of 2 minutes, have sales of an average of $50 per customer who calls, and to return all calls within 24 hours, then you want that employee to be able to find the measurements for those objectives as often as he or she wishes. The goal is for the employee to have access to just as much information about his or her performance as the manager. An employee who can assess his or her own progress real-time will correct performance deficiencies without a manager's insistence.
The Plan Isn't a Secret
The final piece is constant communication about the plan and the company's progress to the employees. The game plan is not only communicated initially, it must be kept alive throughout the year with meetings focused on measuring progress toward the goals. Successes should be celebrated frequently.
In my own company, we used something we called a Game Plan Circle to illustrate our plan each year. It was a six-foot circle with our vision in the middle that radiated out to cover company objectives, department and individual objectives. It served as a visual we could refer to in meetings to keep us on track.
The Bottom Line
Don't let your business become another failure statistic. A business plan is a great first step in starting or fundamentally changing a business. The next step is a game plan ? a translation of that business plan to each employee's actions every day.
About The Author
Jan B. King is the former President & CEO of Merritt Publishing, one of the 50 largest woman-owned and run businesses in Los Angeles and the author of Business Plans to Game Plans: A Practical System for Turning Strategies into Action (John Wiley & Sons, 2004). She has helped hundreds of small businesses turn their business plans into game plans with her book and her ebooks, The Do-It-Yourself Business Plan Workbook, and The Do-It-Yourself Game Plan Workbook. Visit her site at www.janbking.com for more information.
Predicting Business Retirement Satisfaction for Business Owners
Most business owners do not think of selling their companies as "retiring". Instead, these vital entrepreneurs see selling their business as a "transition." For most business owners this does not mean slowing down or endless days of rest and relaxation. Rather they see "retirement" as a new, active stage in their lives characterized by continued personal growth, personal reinvention and new beginnings in work and leisure.
Can Your Business Run Without You?
What would happen if you decided to take an extended vacation? Would you still have the same business results when you returned?
Small Business Savvy: Reaching Key Big Business Decision Makers
As a solo entrepreneur or small business owner, one of our key challenges can be reaching key decision makers in larger companies. Getting to the right person who can seal the deal can be a frustrating experience, especially if you don't have a game plan. Here are three ways to connect with the right people.
How to Successfully Avoid Becoming One of The 80% of Small Businesses That Will FAIL
It's a commonly quoted statistic: 80% of all small businesses will fail within the first five years of running. In fact, in Internet marketing, this figure can be as high as 95%. Yes, it's a commonly quoted statistic but for some reason, people are not very good at saying exactly why this happens. And it happens to what seems like nearly all newborn businesses.
11 Benefits of Starting a House Cleaning Business
One of the biggest fears people have about starting a house cleaning business is the fear of having no real security. But for natural entrepreneurs, security comes from designing your own life. My partner Ev and I discovered that we could create security when we put forth the effort to call our own shots and make key business decisions that made sense for our lives. Starting a house cleaning business has helped us achieve real security.
How to Get Maximum Results With Minimum Effort
Get maximum results with minimum effort. Sounds great doesn't it? The key is leverage. You can get a huge result from relatively little investment of resources. Weather it's time, money or intellect, you only have so much. The key is to use your resources as a lever to really explode your income!
In Home Daycare Businesses for Profit
To have one of the popular in home daycare businesses. Many people think all you have to do is love kids and have a home. But to have a successful daycare business, it takes a little more than that. Actually, it takes a lot more.
Small Business - Would You Still Need An Accountant If You Didnt Need A Tax Return?
After over thirty years advising small business it still comes as a surprise to see the number of small business owners who are only interested in their financial results when it is time to do their tax return.
Mission Statements: More Important Than You Thought
If an organization lacks a mission statement, it is worthwhile to at least try to draft one. Even if it does not yield an acceptable final draft, the exercise will be rewarding for the hard work which must go into figuring out the company's direction and putative purpose.
Business Checks are an Added Cost to Your Small Business - Try Making Them Yourself!
Starting and managing a small business is no fun chore, especially when it comes to the accounting. There are a few common sense ways that you can help that bottom line.
Franchises Offer Shortcuts, But Not Control
Q: I will be retiring this year at age 60 and intend to fulfill my lifelong dream of owning my own business. I'm too old to start from scratch, so I'm looking at several franchise opportunities, including fast food, auto parts, and an accounting service. What should I consider before choosing one? Anthony R.
S Corporation ? What Is It?
For many small businesses, the "S" corporation is the business entity of choice. The "S" in S corporation refers to a tax designation. All corporations are created the same way under state law. A small business must then chose a tax status, to wit, "C", "S" or non-profit. Important issues concerning S corporations are covered in this article.
Wichita Kansas is a Great Place to Run a Business
We love Wichita because it has great all round weather except during ice storms and the once in a while Tornado threat, which could carry away you best workers to meet Dorothy. 225 sunny days a year snow about 5 days a year. Which makes a Downtown out-door'sy type setting even better.
The Wrap on Ag Plastic
While driving through Pennsylvania farmland, you have probably noticed an increased amount of white plastic bundles stacked in lines or piles along farm buildings or edges of farm fields. Sometimes referred to as "marshmallows" or "long white tubes", etc. these objects are increasing in farmer popularity and represent a changing trend in harvesting of farm livestock feeds.
Employee Email and Internet Use - A Small Business Guide
Small Business Failure? Nuts!
Pardon my enthusiasm, but a large part of your small business' success is somewhere else. Namely, out among the company's important external audiences.
Small Business Operators - 7 Reasons You Should Change Your Accountant
A recent survey showed that only 28.7% of small business owners were happy with their accountant, and only half of those would recommend him to their friends because he was too busy already.
Small Business and Wichita
Owning a small business in Wichita, KS might not be a bad idea, job growth is good, housing has rebounded and the aviation manufacturing capital of the world is on an aileron roll. So consumer spending is up and retail and service sectors are doing fine again.
Bad Regulators Cost Small Businesses
When a regulator finds a target to go after to collect fees to insure next years budget, often it is a small business. In fact the definition of a small business includes what normal people might even think of as a medium sized business. Often a Federal Regulator might be a 26-year old kid fresh out of college being supervised by an older regulator. The younger regulator often wishes to secure his or her case in the name of Justice and wants to change the world being fresh out of college. But they know they must win the case.
Want to Grow Your Business? Make an Irresistible Offer
My clients and many of my readers are small and home-based business owners, and one of the biggest struggles they face is getting new customers.
|home | site map|