Planning for success - part II
By Glen Chapman
In this article we are going to look at the next two areas of the strategic management process. The first is developing our business principles and values which combined with the vision you have already developed, to give you the basis of your whole business.
Secondly we will get into the development of the actual business plan. This is not a huge 50 page document, but a short and simple working document which you should be able to put together in an afternoon.
The businesses guiding principles and values
How a business does what it does is more important then what it does. How could this be? Well if you have a business based on sound principles and values that match both the owners of the business and the customers of the business, then there is a level of comfort achieved for all, and with this comfort comes the ability to build business.
The values that you base your business on should not change dramatically form year to year, but be a reflection of how you think and feel. They are the core principles that we live and work by.
The following are a few examples of values from different companies:
We develop win-win partnerships with our clients
The courage of conviction to invest our own money
We help producers, processors and communities to help themselves
Values are personal to you and your business. They should describe how you do business or work in the community and society. How others will see you operate and manage your business.
When these have been defined then you are able to combine the vision, mission and values together to get a picture of your business. Once you have this you can then build the plan to drive your business forward.
The next stage is to start the plan for your business. You now know the basis of where you are going, what you need to achieve next is how this will be done.
There are so many different formats and proformas available to build a business plan that it is sometime confusing as to what is really a good plan. Depending on the purpose of your plan you may require a different format. For example, if you are seeking venture capital then the plan might be very detailed with information about the business, markets and structures that the venture capital CO's might need. However in a strategic management business plan alot of that information is known by you and (especially in a small organisation) adds little to the better management of a business if it is written down.
What a plan needs is the essential information for the day to day running of your business. We want the "ducks-guts". So how do you get this information into a format that will give you what you need - from review of a number of simple business plan formats the follow allow you to see all the relevant information about your business at a glance. Once completed this document should not take you more then 10 minutes a day to quickly read and review and action. And this is what we want - a working document that is quick to read and quick to update.
We have used the Mindshop International one page plan as the basis for the one that we prefer to use. The above layout allows for a little more detail so that the plan then becomes a complete working document.
There is also a version of a business plan from the book "The One Page Business Plan: Start With a Vision, Build a Company!" by James T., Jr. Horan, Jim Horan, Rebecca S. Shaw(Editor),
Which ever one you use, you should be able to easily complete the vision and mission. You now have a vision and your values, we now need to look at how the business is going to achieve this vision.
From your vision or the view of your business in the long term, you should determine your strategies that will allow this vision to be fulfilled. For each strategy you will also set a number of goals, each of which will take you one step along the path. These goals need to be measurable and a timetable set for their completion. They should follow the three time periods for short medium and long term (which will vary depending on how fast you business cycles are). By completing these goals you should end up with the business that your vision has described.
So far we have completed the first four stages of the Strategic Management Model. Business Vision, Plan, Strategies, Actions and Goals. This is really all that is needed in you business plan, but it is not all that is needed to drive your successful business. We also need to look at the budgets and financing of your business and from the strategies and actions you will also have a set of procedures which will make up an operations manual.
(© 1995 – 2007 Glen Chapman)