|Strategic Planning Information|
Pave the Way to a Successful Strategic Plan
Many very successful business owners may never have had a formal strategic plan. Some think, "Why do we need to do strategic planning? We're doing great just like we are."
It's not unusual for a small business owner to have the following questions:
? Why do I need to have a strategic plan? Can't I just tell everyone what our goals will be?
? How do I get started?
? Can I facilitate the planning sessions, or do I need to hire a professional facilitator?
? Will this be like other plans which, after spending time and money, just sat on a shelf?
If you've determined that you are indeed ready to begin a strategic planning process there are several steps to pave the way and ensure the plan gets executed.
Step One: Get Ready
We recommend using a professional facilitator for the initial part of the planning. The role of the facilitator will be to:
o Lead the group in an objective/neutral way.
o Make sure ideas and decisions are not lost.
o Make sure the desired outcomes are kept in front of the group.
o Be more objective and therefore handle difficult situations.
o Challenge assumptions.
o Encourage equal participation.
After you've decided you're going to create a plan, you'll need to think about who to include in the group. Everyone who will be affected by the decisions or the information should be represented.
o Whose input do you need?
o Who is needed to make a decision?
o Who must buy into the plan?
Those in management positions often think they know what's going on with the business, but the people in the ranks are the ones that really know. They can offer honest feedback on what's working, what's not working or what's missing. The more input you have, the stronger your decisions will be.
If you involve everyone affected by the plan, you'll build a company understanding and commitment to see it through. Everyone will feel a sense of ownership in carrying it out.
Step Two: Plan the Meeting
What you do before a meeting and how you follow up after a meeting are equally important to what happens during the meeting. When planning the meeting, clarify your desired outcomes. "What do we want to accomplish?" For example, at the first meeting you might determine company values, brand promise and vision. At the second meeting you might set goals, determine key numbers and develop your action plan. We recommend using a facilitator for these two meetings.
Let everyone know what to expect. Be clear with the group about how the meeting will run and about the decision-making process. The best way to create commitment and participation is to be clear about why you're meeting. This is important because nothing hurts morale more than a misunderstanding about why people are there, and what their role will be in the meetings and in the decision making.
Get the appropriate people involved early in planning the meeting. This will reduce their resistance. You'll be less likely to hear comments like, "We're too busy. Why do we need a plan? Aren't we doing okay as we are?" If you get the right people involved early, commitment will be higher which will lead to the plan being effective.
Step Three: Conduct the Meeting
Spend some time at the beginning of the sessions with what is called "inclusion" or "group building". If you spend time getting everyone on the same page, it will be time well spent. This is crucial, so don't cut it too short.
Pay attention to the content and the process of the meeting. The content is the agenda and decisions to be made. The process is how the discussion happens and how decisions are made. Be assured, paying attention to process increases the likelihood that the tasks get done and will go a long way toward making the meeting more effective and productive.
Listen to everyone. Make sure everyone has a chance to speak ? the more involved everyone is, the more accountable they will be to the decisions made in the strategic planning session. When people are involved in making decisions they are much more likely to carry them out. This builds a sense of ownership ? they are more invested in the outcome
Step Four: Don't Let it Sit on a Shelf
Don't just write up the plan, pat yourself on the back and put it away. Write it up and then make sure everyone gets a copy. Develop a system for reviewing and tracking the plan.. Whatever system you choose, make it consistent. Have weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings. Verne Harnish, in his book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits talks about developing a "rhythm" that will help keep everyone focused and consistent on knowing how they fit in to the company goals and plans. They will be performing at a higher level. There will be better alignment around the strategic decisions made in the planning session.
Communication will be more effective. Regular meetings give the opportunity to ask important questions such as, "Are we doing the right thing?" If not, then you have the opportunity to stop and re-think the decisions. Regular meetings give the opportunity to make the best decisions you can as you progress, and manage the plan as a team. By keeping your plan dynamic, you can relate it to the issues that come up on a daily basis. You can use your judgment and intuition to strategize about new issues in relation to the plan. It helps you keep the priorities clear.
The plan needs to be solid yet flexible enough that when new insights and ideas emerge you can be open to them. You want to have the freedom to keep your meetings creative.
Step Five: Celebrate!
Whatever you do, don't forget this step. Although your strategic plan doesn't have to be perfect, you and your team deserve to celebrate your hard work and accomplishments.
©2005 Julane Borth
Julane Borth is co-founder of EWF International®, an Oklahoma based firm providing peer advisory groups for women business owners and executives. EWF International®franchises are available throughout the Southwest.
Microsoft Great Plains Implementation: Placement/Recruiting Agency example ? overview for consultant
Microsoft Great Plains does wonderful ERP job for horizontal markets and clientele. However in our opinion placement software market is underserved and needs custom modules to be developed. In the case of Microsoft Great Plains we see numerous examples of in-house or outsourced customization done for Great Plains Dynamics/Microsoft Great Plains in order to automate placement agency workflow and processes. In our opinion Great Plains is good choice, considering the side of placement and recruiting companies: mid-size or even small. Let us give you highlights from our consulting practice.
Business Planning and the ?Bozo? Factor
"Bozo" ? A clown with a forlorn look, always finding negative implications in every activity or event. A person who tries to find a way to prevent you from moving ahead, giving excuses such as "we've always done it this way, or this is not our culture" when presented a new opportunity or challenge. Normally associated with people who are uncomfortable with learning new techniques, processes, or relationships.
The Chief Cause of Business Failure & Success
Business rises and falls on leadership. According to business guru, Brian Tracy, "Leadership is the most important single factor in determining business success or failure in our competitive, turbulent, fast-moving economy." Still not convinced? Based on a study by Jessie Hagen of the US Bank, here are the main reasons why businesses fail:
Becoming Wise - Wild & Free - Writing A Successful Business Plan - Part 2 - Do It In Steps
So you've decided to write your own business plan because you know the value that the experience will give you. With the books and software that are out there today you can probably sit down and complete the plan in a day or so, right? Plug in the numbers, add the notes, write the whole narrative (story), print it and get it out to the banks or investors.
The Best Entity to Hold Real Estate
Possibly THE most frequently asked question of me is "What is the best business entity to use for real-estate investments?" My recommendation to most people is that a limited liability company (an "LLC") is the best entity for this type of use. Here's why:
Designing an Efficient Distribution System
Let us look at a few of the big distribution networks in the US that we use today. The US Post Office for instance is a huge complex chain of symbiotic relations ships with vendors to deliver by truck, work with FED EX for air, previously that airmail idea started commercial aviation. The reason it grew big and evolved so well is because of the special teams and companies and individuals from the first air mail carriers to the Wells Fargo Coaches. A much better system than Paul Revere; although he was very simple with only two possible signals 1 or 2 "if's" scenarios. Let's face it 1's and Zero's or 1 or 2 ifs are different than today.
What Every Service Provider Ought To Know About Writing A Business Plan
It's easy to lose sight of what needs to be communicated to prospective investors when writing the various sections of a business plan. Successful business owners/entrepreneurs use each section of their business plan to work up interest, to present arguments and, most important, to build trust and confidence.
Documenting the Exit Strategy in Your Business Plan
All investors greatly desire and are motivated by a clear picture of a company's exit strategy, or the timing and method through which they can "cash in" on their investment. This picture best comes into focus when the key valuation and liquidity drivers of the company are clearly delineated. An excellent method to accomplish this is through descriptions of comparable firms that have had successful liquidity events, either through acquisition, merger, of initial public offerings (IPOs).
Going Self-Employed ? A Few Handy Hints
The day you decide to take the plunge and work for yourself will be one of the most life-changing choices you ever make, whether starting a company large or small or as a freelance; from the very first moment of being self-employed, you and you alone will stand or fall by your decisions and actions. You will be responsible for steering your business through all its ups and downs, good times and bad times with no guarantee that everything will turn out right in the end.
Home Improvement Construction Project Planning
The first task before hiring a contractor for home remodeling is laying out the details on what exactly you want done. This will ultimately save you time and money, as you will be able to choose the perfect contractor for your construction job, and get the job done correctly the first time. Personally, I have always found that writing out every detail initially will help you think of the task more clearly in your mind. This will also aid in your description of the job to the contractor, and will allow for a better estimate of time and cost, which are coincidentally the two most important things to consumers.
Planning for Success
Business planning is widely acknowledged as one of the keys to business success. Yet there is still a great reluctance by small business owners in this area. This is despite the fact that it can be shown that fewer business fail if they have prepared a business plan.
How To Leverage Your Current Ideas And Products Into Multiple Revenue Streams
Diversify - to make diverse, give variety, to balance, to divide securities in different industries, to produce variety, to engage in varied operations.
Building a Better Brick-and-Mortar with the Billion-Dollar Web
More than $117 billion passed hands from Internet shoppers to Internet vendors in 2004, according to the statistical research firm comScore. That's billion, with a B. Compared to the year before, the figure represents a whopping 24 percent increase in sales. Compared to the early 1990s, when the Web was a questionable commercial venture, today's $117 billion is proof-positive that the Web is the full-fledged money-making machine. It seems to be a big enough pie that any merchant with a Web site can cut out his heaping slice.
Defining Go for It Business Goals
Many business start-up kits or consultants will tell you one of the first steps to starting a business is to define your business goals. Your goals may differ from the goals of another individual, for example; some people want freedom to do what they want to do, whenever they want, and without having to report to someone else. For others, the goal might be financial security. For another, flexibility or creativity might be their goal.
Changing Strategy Without Losing Your Customers - Three Vital Steps to Refining Your Strategy
American Eagle Outfitters and Wet Seal Stores have issued statements about company turnarounds needed to cut sales loses. This kind of story occurs far too often: a business disconnects from their customers because the company either wants to sell to a larger customer base or they want to upgrade to a more prestigious look.
Abstract Thought; Business Strategies and Biological Systems
To stop a computer virus you must understand how it works, grows and what it's innate purpose is? What is its program, evolution and future vectors. The fastest way to expand a business or exploit a competitor on a sports team is to use the organizational patterns of nature like swarms, ants, and viruses. The human body is has a good defense mechanism against an organic virus, it is bigger with a strong immune system
Online Promotion: 10 Ways To Use Focus Groups To Ignite Your Profits
A focus group is a group of employees or current customers that discuss and brainstorm new ways to improve different parts of your business.
The Chasm of Change---- Restructuring ----- The Goliath
Richard L. Daft one of the country's recognized academic leadership experts raises the question, "What kind of people can lead an organization through major change?" A Turn-A-Round restructuring qualifies as major change and requires transformational leadership. Daft points out that this type of leader is characterized by the ability to bring about change through innovation and creativity. This type of leader motivates people to not only follow their lead but to believe in the vision of corporate transformation, the need for revitalization, to sign on for the new vision and to help institutionalize a new organizational process." Daft points to four principles in discussions about leading an organization through major change. These four principles are the foundation of the restructuring Turn-A-Round process.
Invalid Excuses for Poor Business Results - Rising costs
Note to Northwest Airlines ? It's not about fuel costs
Akron OH; A great place to do business
When looking at Akron carefully one cannot help but notice it's brilliant location to rivers, water, large cities and middle class consumer spending populations. With Canton to the South, high-end and growing Fairlawn to the North, Kent State and University of Ohio both a stones throw; the potential for any business is quite apparent. There are 160 trucking companies many of which are located in the area due to its proximity to large markets on a major freeway. Everything you want is there or can be delivered within days.
|home | site map|