One of the key differentiating points between average and high producers we emphasize at The Covenant Group is the time frame or time span in which they think and work. Setting aside time now to engage in a strategic planning process for your business is one of the highest priority tasks, especially as we get closer to year end. Successful entrepreneurs and executives work ON, as well as IN their business. Here is a checklist for any business that wants to be successful in both the short and long term:
Vision – The future drives the present. Vision describes what you want the business to look like 5-10 years from now. Your vision should be widely known, shared and believed. Don’t keep it a secret! The clearer we are about our vision, the more likely we are to achieve it.
Strategy – The articulated statement in your Business Plan of how you are going to achieve your Vision (Five Questions to Answer in Developing Your Strategy)
Mission – Answers the question, “Why are we here?” It informs what you do and why it has value from the client’s perspective. (Four Fundamentals of a Mission Statement)
Structure – Defines the roles, role relationships, policies, systems of authority and accountability (Defining the Roles within Your Practice)
Your structure is informed by the resources you employ and the systems you put in place to achieve your objectives. It includes:
- Human Capital – how you will hire, train, compensate and manage people in your organization.
- Information and Knowledge Systems – how you will accumulate, get value from and share needed information and knowledge.
- Career Planning and Talent Pool Development – how you will ensure that you have qualified people when needed and that you are developing them over time to meet the needs of the evolving business landscape.
- Skills – the application of knowledge, experience and expertise.
Systems and Processes – are the clear articulation of what you will do to achieve your objectives. The systems and processes comprise your operational strategies:
- Marketing Plan – A sub-set of the business plan, it is required to build your brand and create a unique identity in your chosen market(s).
- Sales Plan – Addresses whom you will sell, what you will sell them, and when you will sell them.
- Service Plan – Outlines the service activities in which you will engage to get and to keep clients.
- Resource Plan – Describes how you will deploy people, capital and technology to implement your marketing, sales, and service plans and reach your objectives.
- Three Major Tasks – Top priorities for the next year.
To be successful as entrepreneurs, we must take the time to fully comprehend the financial statements. The plan should include historical financial information about the business and a pro forma projection of revenue and expenses over the next One and Five Years. The financial pro formas allow for the tracking of projected versus actual revenues and expenses month by month to ensure the business stays on track.
Winston Churchill said: “Plans are useless, and planning is invaluable.” A Business Plan is not a static document. At its best, it is like a flight plan, constantly adapting to an ever changing environment. For the entrepreneur starting out or in the early stages, the business plan sets the course for finding success. For an established enterprise, the business plan outlines what will be required to achieve sustainability and significance.
At every stage of the entrepreneurial journey, taking time to work ON the business is critical to your success. At The Covenant Group, we would be glad to talk with you about your business plan and strategic planning process if you have any questions about it.