Strategic Planning for 2015 - Keep it Simple

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My approach is generally this:

  1. What does the business look like in 3 years (Vision) and some overarching strategies and goals.

  2. How will we achieve it: (detailed strategies/actions - the steps to take)

    1. Patrons (Which segments are we going to sell to and what are their problems?)

    2. Products (What are our solutions to their problems?)

    3. Processes (How will we deliver that efficiently?)

    4. People (What people and skills do we need to deliver the process?)

    5. Promotion (How will we sell our unique solution?)

My experience is that you can generally fit all your strategies and actions into those five categories. There might be some overlap or uncertainty about which category but don't get hung up on that. What is the focus of the strategy ?- Define our target market (a).  Anything around training would likely fall into (d). Anything around efficiency is likely to be process (c).

The One Page Business Plan has four categories, but I generally encourage focus on three only, otherwise it becomes a bit overwhelming. You might find you have three actions under one head and 20 under another. This should bring out which of the areas/strategies need to be prioritised. Again just focus on three to four key actions for the next 90 days, but keep the other 17 in reserve to bring forward when the first actions are completed.

If you have key actions under all the headings, you might be able to merge "people and processes", and "patrons and promotion", to keep it simple

With more people you can keep cascading the plan down, but everyone needs to understand how the actions will deliver the Overarching Strategies, which will deliver the Vision.

With actions we are looking for biggest impact and easiest to implement.

So you end up with:

  1. This is where we want to be in next 3 years

  2. These are the 3 areas (Patrons/Process/Promotion or whatever) of focus for next 12 months

  3. These are the key actions to be implemented in next 90 days.

  4. These are the measures of success - i.e. how we will know when we can move onto the next actions.

Then you turn it into a story as talking to your people about Patrons probably won't inspire. A great question is: Why are we doing this - it needs to hook your team on an emotional level. So it won't be about profit, but it might be about improving your customers' chances of success (which is my purpose).

Be prepared to evolve the plan as stuff will change. Delegate actions down and focus on removing the roadblocks that are stopping people making it happen, rather than doing it yourself - that is the role of the leader. Traditionally only 30 per cent of change projects succeed, but how we can improve that significantly is for another blog.

Manage your own expectations - typically if you have three teams working to implement, one will excel, one average and one will bomb. Watch and learn from that - it will tell you a lot about your people and the teams.

Finally be accountable and hold your people accountable. This is where we find our role as business advisors is becoming increasingly important. Once we have the plan, use us to drive accountability to it.

Good luck


Will Abbott

Head of Business Advisory

Randall & Payne LLP

UK200 Group



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