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Plan? - What plan?

By Charles McClelland on 12/07/2016 - 0 Comments

Plan? What plan?

Football teams should have one for each big game (Was this true for England/Iceland?).  Theatre companies have one for each major production.  Political parties have one for every crucial campaign.  And ordinary companies ... well, not so much.  What are we talking about?  We’re talking about The Plan.

What is The Plan?  A process that leads to success – whether in business, on a sports field, in the West End, or with a BBQ in your garden, it’s obvious that you need one. It can be simple, or complex, it can be in your head, or well documented or both. And yet many, many Companies don’t have them.

Your Company will probably need several that work together and with them you will meet or exceed your company’s key goals, making you company stronger, and more profitable.

What’s the Point? (of The Plan?)

To pull together and co-ordinate what you need to achieve a winning result. Typically, it will include a number of employees and processes, and some will be new, or at least different. They need to come together in a timely fashion to complete a complex activity on time, to budget with a predicted result. (Think BBQ for a moment – you want good food, cooked all the way through but not burnt, all coming together and ready to eat at the same time, whether it be burgers, chicken thighs, sausages or steak. And don’t forget the salad! smiley)

The Plan’s purpose is to (massively) increase the likelihood of a successful outcome – and in a way that is measurable and predictable.

Many SME businesses have had some level of success not because they have a good Plan, but in-spite of the fact that they do not have one.  Luck is good, and many people say the smarter you work, the more luck you have, but given probabilities, a solid plan clearly helps drive more predictable and measurable revenue growth - in any market.

Some guiding questions that contribute to a solid Plan    

The Plan should take you through to what “success” means for you. Typically it looks 12-18 months ahead. It can of course be shorter or longer if there is good reason, but creating a good plan, and then sharing it among key functions -- like R & D, Production, Sales, Procurement, Finance, Marketing, and Support is what you should be aiming for.

Your Plan needs to consider these key points:

1. What do you do?
What is your customer based story that you take to market? Will it clearly (and realistically) explain the business problem they have and the eloquent solution that you are offering. Is your story a “one size fits all” or do you refine it for each customer? Does it pass the “so what” test?

2. Who is, or should be, interested:
Who are your target customers or vertical segments that you want have on your books in the next 12-18 months, and why? Who is your competition?
Plan to avoid “takers” that want to have your expertise without paying for it.

3. Your own view of your own products*
Have you considered your own products*? Do you know which are the easiest, most unique, most profitable ones? Do they all consume equal resource to create? Does the Plan focus on the ones that give the best return?
* in this discussion your product is whatever you sell, either a traditional product or a service, whatever you want to sell.

4. Supply and demand
What if the “worst” happened and all of your customers “get-it” and placed orders immediately – is your delivery mechanism scalable?  If you create demand that you cannot fulfil – those people you thought were your customer will go straight to the competition. So set expectations carefully, if you under-promise and over-deliver it always works well.

5. In your customer shoes
Would you enjoy being your own customer? Do you have well considered “customer journeys” to find, excite, nurture and convince these prospects to buy, with each one tailored for each of the markets you’re targeting?
Remember: It has to pass the “so what” test at every step.

The above structured approach is the way Icon Business solutions works to help Business Owners understand their Businesses and build stronger, more sustainable, more profitable businesses. I will be with you every step of the way.

It all starts with a free health-check that shows us both where to focus.

For your free health check please contact your local Icon Advisor directly - we are always happy to work with you.

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