Time to Plan?

09 December 2020 Giles Keay

Plan Edit

​Normally I would expect to create business plans to run for the financial year and I would always certainly recommend that to anyone I was advising or coaching however, this was no ordinary year and any planning that was done in June 2020 may look very different now.

I don't necessarily believe that business levels now look worse, in fact in many cases what I am hearing within the market is that there is strong hiring intentions in many verticals and the market activity is exceeding most peoples expectations.  The economy is changing so rapidly at the moment and is so uncertain, that long term planning, albeit still essential is difficult and that more flexible shorter term goals are far more effective at this stage.

With this in mind, all business owners should be considering writing and implementing new shorter 6 month plans to put in place from January with some realistic but challenging goals and expectations on what they are looking to achieve.  In this respect, I am not just talking financials, revenue and profits but some real and tangible goals around improvements and changes across the whole business.

So, if you haven't done this as yet or haven't even considered the need, please feel free to take a look at this link with my top 10 points to consider when creating a new strategic plan.

  1. No more than 5 pages - Don’t waffle, make it concise and specific

  2. Set a structure and layout for what you wish to cover before starting - this might be similar to the following; executive summary, market/economy overview, employee engagement and support, sales strategy, operations review, marketing & branding, organisational structure - now & future, Profit & Loss Year to Date,  Budget - next 6 months

  3. Research all aspects of the business before starting to make decisions or writing - review the P&L and balance sheet, review your sales and key clients,  review all aspects of operations, what works and what doesn't work?

  4. Ask yourself some key questions to consider?

    • Sales Strategy - Identify the key areas of revenue and identification of new target areas and verticals. Analyse your competition and where you sit in the market?  How can you take greater market share?

    • Staff Engagement - incentives, events and morale boosting - do you need to allocate more money than usual? Staff engagement is more important than ever whilst some may still dispersed.

    • Marketing and branding - As the economy comes out of recession next year is it more important to make sure you are seen and heard?

    • Operations - Get detailed costing for expenses and review anything that is discretionary and decide if still needed in the current market. Do you need any increased spend in technology to continue W.F.H. support?  Either Keep & Improve or Remove

  5. Back up your statements and ideas in your business plan with clear goals and objectives. 

  6. Be realistic with time, money and targets.

  7. Break down all your agreed targets and actions to be bite sized so that you can easily take them on and will not procrastinate or put them off.

  8. Write your executive summary last when you have completed the entire plan and use it to summarise your objectives.

  9. Then when you are finished - Proofread and then ask someone impartial to read and review it. Ask them if it seems simple to understand and realistic to achieve.

  10. ACTION IT!

It is more important than ever to make sure you have clear goals and objectives for the next 6 months so that you can navigate any unforeseen events that come your way, so make sure you put some time aside over the next few weeks to plan before the team is back in January.  It can be a great opportunity to then present to the team and ensure that they are clear on your objectives and direction and ensure their buy in to the strategy.

Giles is a coach and mentor to a number of SME business owners across Australia assisting them with many aspects of the running and improvement of their companies. For further information please contact Giles Keay directly on giles@constructive.net.au