Planning is an important component of business success. Every business is planned to some degree. In the simplest form ideas are formulated and developed in the small business owner’s head and then executed. However being more specific and organized in the planning process can yield more positive results. Volumes have been written about the building blocks of business planning. To simplify the process each step is formulated then expanded until an actual physical plan of how things will be accomplished it reached. The starting point is the mission statement which is a one sentence description of who you will be in the marketplace. From the mission statement strategies are developed that will support the accomplishment of the mission. The strategies will allow for establishment of realistic, achievable goals. And finally tactical plans are developed to support the accomplishment of strategic objectives. Following are steps to effective management planning:
- Establish the Mission – Every successful business starts with a mission statement. This should be a one sentence description of the business purpose, values and direction. Care should be taken not to pursue conflicting objectives. For example providing the highest quality in repair service will conflict with providing the lowest price.
- Define a Strategy – A strategy is a statement of what you will do to achieve your mission. Simply put – a strategy is a statement of what will be done.
- Establish Goals – It’s important to establish realistic achievable goals. Stated goals provide a unified direction for members of the organization. Also, clearly stated goals provide a mechanism for performance evaluation.
- Develop Tactical Plans – A tactical plan states the way in which strategies and goals will be accomplished, when they will be accomplished and who will be responsible for the components of the plan. Strategies state what will be done – tactics state how it will be done.
- Plan for Short and Long Range Objectives – A long range business plan may span 3 or 5 years. A short range plan may span a single quarter or a year. It’s important to plan for both. Short range plans should serve as stepping stones toward long range plans.
- Develop Contingency Plans – Evaluation of results will reveal the effectiveness of strategies and/or plans. Considering that some plans may not yield the intended results it’s always a good idea to develop alternatives.