Are you as disappointed with the outcome of planning in your small to medium enterprise as I am? As a business development coach, “grafted” into the ~ "gut-feel I need to make a plan" ~ activity, the entrepreneur works hard with our outside influence, using traditional business thinking, to produce a plan. That never gets implemented, or, that is only ½ implemented. That becomes a dust gathering arch-lever file on the shelf!
the 4 steps in planning
Identify a problem; "we are being spammed", defines a symptom; "personal data is insecure", search for a cause; "the network is compromised", points to a solution; "install a biometric access device!"
4 reasons HOW to plan?
A plan needs to incorporate your community and that could include your “captured” clients. If they have been positively influenced by your product or services, they could be a perfect representation of others in your market that could also get value from you.
The plan needs to have accessed through on-line technology for all those that are tasked to deliver on the plan. To just “do it” and then “shelve it” is the definition of insanity. You, and your enterprise, will never evolve, will never produce the great expectations contained in the essence of the enterprise promise(s).
The plan should be an easy to follow recipe for success. One which takes no effort to follow but carefully defines the expected outcome supported by the “terms of reference” to keep everyone on track.
A leader has the job-description of “future weaver”, able to discern where we are going and define how we will get there. Without this “tiller” steering the ship we will be rudderless and meander all over the place. An ounce of direction is worth a ton of effort!”
*8* reasons WHY to plan?
planning is undermined by being unworkable for those with fewer resources.
When we influence planning, either from your own experience or ours. It is heavily influenced by business books, tertiary education and large corporate thinking. It is “kinda” evident that we should use what works for a top 100 enterprise on our little business creation. But is that good? As the owner of the plan, do you have minions to implement the outcomes, or does it land at your feet? We concentrate on this aspect in two ways, to understand the cycle of change and work first to put the implementation in place that is contextual to your enterprise. Then, we have specify ways to delegate the building of the outcome to those most suited to do this work, but, through very simple review mechanisms to keep the “owner” of the plan in the driving seat of the outcome(s).
define the perfect customer - an ounce of direction is worth a ton of effort!
We need to ask and the plan needs to answer the fundamental question of what we need to do to grow our business. The 7 dynamics of the business are all optimised in a well performing enterprise, but, some of them are growth and survival necessities. Marketing & Sales rely on “us” focusing on the perfect customer and articulating to them our special value. Only when we get this right can we expect growth. The plan should have this aspect of focus as a specific outcome which is replicated and expanded on, through every iteration
a clear and direct linkage exists between the defined goal and who, how and when we will achieve it
To make sure we have a direct link from the outcome - “backward” - to the source of task that is building this aspect is a crucial disfunction in a small and medium sized enterprise. Most big corporates, have the resources to staff a project planned to make substantial future change to their organisation. Some "silo's" have a dedicated team that can rove through the organisation practicing their project deployment skills. The delivery tool, cannot be stuck in a "silo" but, must be sufficiently capable of delivering change anywhere in the small/medium enterprise without undue extra burden on the entrepreneur and over-stretched scarce system resources.
traditional corporate management systems are static - an entrepreneurial business management system must be dynamic and continually evolving.
Traditional planning focuses on the strategic (3 to 5 years) while delivery projects concentrate on the short term (3-12 months). It is our contention, using the 5/7 rule, ~ ProvenPath(™) ~ we make sure that planning is delivering! Therefore, there is a concentration on the tactical rather than the strategic. That is not to say that the strategic is suppressed or even forgotten about. It is still necessary to translate strategic into tactical. Our prioritising tool is set-up to do just that by concentrating work on the short term, but keeping “on the back burner” long terms vision. To do this we prioritise Impact (ON) and Importance (TO) the business in terms of our goal ~ Business Development growth.
widget thinking - entrepreneurs start something, then move on to the next BIG thing. Their attention on planning is spasmodic at best
The greatest destroyer of planning is the “just do it” attitude. I must say, when I read Richard Branson, I totally buy into this motivation. But, the successful entrepreneur, like him, also has the resources to make sure the change project is properly resources with ideas, skill and personnel. Not having that luxury cannot be used as an excuse to not do the planning and implementation. So, specific strategies have to be formulated and executed to overcome this debilitating lack of resources. We have been there and have a number of ideas that have worked for our clients.
measurement, review and systems development supports the plan owner & keeps the task owner focused on milestone delivery
You don’t get what you pay for but what you measure is an age old urban legend so, measurement is high on the critical success factors of a) what the project produces, b) where we are in the project, c) what is in the critical path of success. For this reason we advocate the EDD (Electronic Digital Dashboard) which we have provided as a free EXCEL model. You could also use FREE and paid for resources on the web to build the tool in the context of where it is being used. Use TASC to select the tool for your context.
asking the tough question - what are 3 compelling reasons why our ideal clients would want to work with you ~infuse them into the 7 business development goals
There is a crazy and unfathomable reason why we don't want to connect our life purpose to our business life. We have written about this extensively but always back down to the entrepreneur who just wants to “do it” rather than be diverted in the task of defining the Values Vision & Purpose* for themselves, and by definition, for their enterprise. Coming toward the end of the list means it has a lower priority than most of the seven that appear above it, but, that should not be so. However, the planning for VVP*, is just another business imperative that falls within the leadership dynamic and therefore, most often, falls at to feet of the entrepreneur. The unfortunate thing though, is that it is seen as window dressing rather than a tactical imperative. Consider, your VPP as the essence of the business delivery "cause" and the unique character of the products you produce!
your Vision, Value & Purpose must have a great influence on business direction - missing this vital link will produce an environment of a thankless "job"
We spend an enormous amount of deflected energy trying to “talk up” our essence - the way we do things here - but with little outcome in the every day life and client interaction of our enterprise. The enterprise SoD, gives us a ready template to influence this crucial attribute in planning the future.
Not every business dynamic is equal, but failure to make at least 2 ~ Sales and Finance ~ work optimally could mean the death of the business, or at best, a business that does not reach it's full potential.
We all are aware how a franchise works, it is staffed by high school students working for pocket money and/or university graduates that are searching for business experience. Neither employee category could be seen as taking the work to start and build a career. They are there for the work, the job, the salary, tips, to get "out", a variety of reasons ~ but not to engaged in a cause greater than their lives. To make a difference to the world. But yet, they produce product and deliver it almost universally in exactly the same way, quality, quantity and customer satisfaction as defined by some vastly remote franchise owner. In short, the system works, produces sustainable results, delivers the expectation of the customer and is a source of annuity revenue and profits for the apex owner. Having this as a pattern is a great start to planning.