Effective planning can make the difference between business processes that are flawed and wasteful versus those that are efficient and well managed. There is a direct correlation between effort spent planning and quality of execution in any process. To develop an effective plan that will succeed in it’s execution utilize the following key points.
State your objectives and goals
Good planning requires a clear understanding of the objectives and goals to be achieved. The first step in developing a plan is to state the objectives (what you want to accomplish). The second step is to set goals. Goals are specific targets. For example ‘Increase sales’ is an objective. Improve monthly sales by 5 percent this year versus last year by March 31st is a specific goal. Goals should always be realistic and achievable.
Evaluate the 3 major components of the plan
The 3 major components of any plan are resources, time and goals. The ability to achieve goals within a specified time frame is impacted by the resources (people, funding, etc.) available. Any of these can be adjusted in order to develop an effective plan. More resources can be utilized to accomplish the desired objectives, the target completion date can be changed and/or the goals can be modified.
Perform a cost/benefit analysis
Perform a cost/benefit analysis when evaluating the viability of any endeavor. Once a plan has been formulated determine the cost to implement it, the impact on profit through sales increase or cost reduction and resulting benefit. The benefit may not always be directly measurable in terms of dollars. There are many benefits that will have long term positive effects such as improved customer service.
Plan to change your plan
Plan to change your plan. The most well thought out plans will require change as progress is made and circumstances change. The ability to adapt and adjust is paramount to the success of any plan.