Yes it is a cliche and one that is used way to often, including by me. It continues (should you not know) with “planning to fail”! Now who said this first? Not exactly sure but Benjamin Franklin stated something similar and Sir Winston Churchill offered a version too! Never mind. Not material but the statement is critical to any business, whether you’d be an entrepreneur, an SME or an MNCs.
Point here being that if you have no clue what you want with your business, you won’t succeed. Similarly. If you do not know where you are going how on earth are you going to get there?
Now, I am NOT a strong proponent of large scale, hugely elaborate plans. Some MNCs have these and an annual process to make them. The effort to make them annually is enormous. Mostly the plans are made for show and tell, like in kindergarten, and then used for …… nothing. Stored, filed away, hidden, unspoken of until next year when business planning ask for them again, for yet another period, and with a completely different format, template structure, and you say to your team….. now what was it we promised to do last year when we made our business plan….. Let’s take a look. Nothing happened in 12 months! Seriously? How can you afford this and what is the point in it?
So let’s avoid that common pitfall and instead focus on 3 basic elements only. You as a company executive or company owner, you need…. no you must have:
- A vision! What is the reason you made or bought a business? And no a vision is not to make money! When you have this vision, you must communicate it and get every stakeholder onboard, buy into your vision and believe it, work towards it, wanting to realize it!
- How do you realize it. Well you work towards this every single day, hour, minute etc. Consciously. If you do this sporadically and in a happy go lucky take it as it comes manner, the likelihood of it never materializing, is, well, high!
- So instead, you make a plan. A business plan that is intended to work towards you realizing your vision. You map it out, step by step, action by action, over time and with clearly communicated knowledge of what to do when and who does it!
The thing with visions statements are that they are mostly an expectation to be realized far in the future, if ever at all and one that may change at times as life and circumstance change. Take a look here. Good inspiration on the topic and a few shining examples.
Vision statement: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Vision statement: Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.
Vision statement: To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.
Most companies would as well have a mission statement, a broken down detailed, elaborate version of the vision. This you’d see taught in business schools as the most common modus operandi. Your choice if you wish. In my book, a vision suffices when you then consciously work towards it.
See with most vision statements, unless they change over time (and they can), the vision is often not a destination, but a journey. Take Ikea now. Their statement is “To create a better everyday life for the many people”. That is a statement, not a goal as you can keep improving this. Everyday life betterment in an ongoing intention.
Ok. Once you have a vision statement you ought to begin to plan towards achieving this. You do that by working focused with your actions. And those, your planned actions, you make an effort to shortlist, write down and share for team or company consensus. The typical platform for these actions is what is known as a business plan.
One definition (I like what Investopedia states):
A business plan is a document that defines in detail a company’s objectives and how it plans to achieve its goals. A business plan lays out a written road map for the firm from marketing, financial, and operational standpoints. Both startups and established companies use business plans.
So how do you make one? Well, you contact us – PAC – if you need assistance. This is what we are great at, but if you want to do this yourselves, we recommend covering at least the following critical aspects. And make absolutely sure to keep your plan, short, to the point, very well understood by any stake holder, current, timely and one that is referred to, again and again.
The main elements of a very effective business plan are:
- Executive Summary
- Top 5 Objectives
- Priority Markets – max 5 per region
- Customer Opportunities
- Vertical opportunities
- Go to Market Plan
- Competitive Analysis – SWOT & VP
- Sales Budget 202X
- Expectations to 202Y
Again – if you need help. Reach out to us.