Business Consulting

Planning

The old adage that ‘people never plan to fail but fail to plan is so true’. How often do you think people take the time out from their lives to plan not only for their business but their lives? Probably not enough.

Sometimes business planning is done because the bank has asked for a Business Plan, or perhaps your Franchisor or Head Office requires one each year. In those cases sometimes very ‘correct’ documents are generated using the latest buzz words, projections, charts and ideas (with no thought of implementation) and sent away to the respective people.

What normally happens with the plan after that?

Do you think those Business Plans are used on a daily basis – do they bear any resemblance to reality? Normally the answer is no. They just end up in the bottom drawer or on the top shelf gathering dust.

At PlanA Consulting we take a slightly different view for business planning. Your Business Plan should reflect what you are trying to achieve, where you want to go, the roadmap for getting there and the measurements that allow you to know how you’re progressing and when you’ve arrived.

Is your Business Plan written or in your head?

If it’s in your head then it’s not a plan – it’s just an idea. Getting your plan on paper requires you to think about the important components of your business. It allows you to consider your strengths and weaknesses. It allows you to consider your competitors. It allows you to consider what you do on a daily basis and measure that with the outcome you are after.

If your Business Plan is written how often do you review it?

It needs to be front of mind, not just for you, but for others on your team as well. How can your business succeed if everyone is heading in their own direction?

So what are the components of a planning for your business?
How much time is spent on the big picture and how much attention is given to detail?

At PlanA Consulting we break your business planning into separate areas:

  • Vision
  • Strategy
  • Activity
  • Implementation
  • Measurement and review

These lead towards:

  • Long Term Planning (5+ years)
  • Short Term Goals (12 months)
  • 90 Day Activity
  • Daily Activity (the implementation)

Long Term Planning (5+ years)

This is the vision – what do you want your business to be like in the future

  • Where do you want to be operating
  • Who do you want to be on your team
  • Who are your customers going to be
  • What sales figures do you want
  • How do you want to be perceived in the market place.

These are all questions that need to be considered and at PlanA Consulting it is our job to help you think in all of these areas. Too often people limit themselves because at a strategic level they are scared to have a goal or a vision for the future. You don’t need to know how you are going to deliver in all these areas – that’s the detail part – you just need to know where it is that you want to be.

Be brave and bold when considering your long term plan – don’t worry if the goals don’t bear to much semblance to reality at this stage, just think how you want the future to be and what it is that you want – leave the detail for the shorter term plan.   How is your Long Term Planning at present – do you have a future that you are working towards?

Short Term Planning (the next 12 months)

This is the strategy – what you need to accomplish in the next 12 months that will move you towards your Long Term Plan.

  • All of your activity needs to be aligned and at PlanA Consulting we work with you to make sure that what you are going to do in the next 12 months is heading towards the vision.   This might be at a strategic / governance level – working on the big picture, or ‘in the trenches’ with you at a management / implementation level.
  • This plan needs to have definite benchmarks that you measure yourself against. By having a short term plan for the next 12 months you are looking at all key activities that are required to be achieved.
  • To reach your long term vision you need to have a number of short term plans. This 12 month plan should be reviewed on a regular basis – every 90 days.
  • The question is always ‘is what I’m doing today leading me towards my short term goal’.

How is your short term planning for your business at this stage? How often are you reviewing that short term plan, or are you just too busy being busy on a day to day basis?

90 Day Planning

This is the start of the ‘activity’ phase. 12 months is too long a period to focus on, so by cutting the year down you will find that you will be able to achieve more. It also means that when the odd challenge appears you are ready for it and it won’t put you off course for too long.

To decide on your 90 Day Plan you need to look at:

  • What it is you need to achieve in the next 12 months and break that down into easily managed components.
  • It may be that you will achieve ‘$x’ in sales
  • Or deliver to ‘x’ number of customers
  • You may need to put in place and implement a new system
  • Or you may refine a staff incentive programme.

Whatever it is it must compliment the 12 month plan which in turn is leading you towards the 5+ year plan.

Tip
The 90 day plan needs to be in place before the quarter starts, so if it is for Q1, January – March the planning needs to have taken place well in advance of January (here’s a tip – try not to have January as the start of a 90 day period – it may align with your tax year but can be difficult from a planning perspective with Christmas. Perhaps use December – February as the period – that way you stay on task over that Christmas period).

How is your 90 day Planning going?
Do you know exactly what you are looking to achieve over the next 90 days?
Do you know who is accountable and responsible?
Do you know how you are going to measure results?

Daily Activity

  • At PlanA Consulting we know that for some people this is the most crucial part of the equation – what happens on a daily and regular basis. Having a fantastic vision and great strategic is useless unless you fail to implement.
    Unfortunately for some people in business this is where they fall over. Failure to implement can happen for a number of reasons – it can be:
  • A lack of discipline
  • Poor time management
  • Past experiences holding you back
  • Failure to be accountable to someone
    At PlanA Consulting it is our job to keep you on track. We believe that you know your business best, so it’s our role to make sure that you stay on track and do what you said you were going to do. Remember you decided the vision, you decided what was important over the next 12 months and how that was to be implemented – we are there to make sure you do what you said you were going to.

The best way to get the most from your daily activity is the development and implementation of systems in your business. That way nothing is left to chance. Have well thought out systems and great people to implement them and you’ll be ahead of the bunch. At PlanA Consulting we assist you in identifying, designing and implementing systems that allow you to run your business smarter.

What are you like when it comes to implementation?

It’s easy to do great things every now and then – but it takes discipline and accountability to deliver on a regular and consistent basis

Measurement

Activity needs to be measured against the short term plan. Just because you are ‘doing stuff’ means that you are going to get the results you want – you need to be doing the ‘right stuff’.

So how do you measure your business?

Just looking at your Profit and Loss Statement or Balance Sheet is like trying to drive a car by looking in the rear view mirror. That is historical information – even if it is only a month old.   Every business will have 4 or 5 key numbers that if they measure on a regular basis will give them an immediate snapshot of where they are at and what is happening.

What are the key numbers that you measure and look at on a daily or weekly basis?

At PlanA Consulting it is our role to assist in identifying these key numbers and then help you monitor and measure them.