One of the most important strategic planning tools every company must have is a well-written business plan with a winning operational model. Well-constructed operational models answer nine key questions with a resounding ‘yes.’ Some small companies mistakenly think that only large companies need to address these operational questions. The companies that decide to put this off until they become bigger are among the 50 percent that fail within the first five years.
If you can’t answer these questions with a strong ‘yes’, your organization is probably under-performing in the areas of sales growth, customer service, employee satisfaction, innovation and profitability:
- Does your management team willingly participating in the annual planning processes?
- Does your organization regularly achieve all or most of the financial and non-financial goals in your plans?
- Does everyone in your organization know the plan goals and how they will contribute to them?
- Do the actions in your organization regularly resemble the plans?
- Do you receive regular input from all levels of the company and use it to develop your plans?
- Do you get regular input from your customers (not just complaints) and use it to develop your plans?
- Do you know what trends are going on in your industry? Who your competitors are, what your competitors are doing, and what your opportunities and threats are? (SWOT analysis)
- Have you identified specific market segments to focus on?
- Do you know what capabilities, management systems, people, and other resources you must have in place now and for the future, and by when?
If your answers to these questions are a definitive ‘yes’, you have a successful business plan. If not, you know exactly where to start improving your model and planning process.
Howard Shore is an executive leadership coach who works with companies that need leadership development and business management coaching. Based in Miami, Florida, Howard’s firm, Activate Group, Inc. provides strategic planning tools and management coaching to businesses across the country. To learn more about business strategy development through AGI, please visit www.activategroupinc.com, contact Howard at (305) 722-7216 or email him.