Simplified business plan

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We all saw the results of the inflexibility in the five-year Plans produced by the soviet Union. That is definitely not the model you want for managing your business. A strategic plan is a management tool; it should not become a straitjacket. Authors such as Henry mintzberg of McGill University have argued that strategic planning "while not dead, has fallen from its pedestal". He correctly argues that as practiced in many large companies, strategy planning has become strategic programming, squeezing out any creative spontaneity in decision-making. A good strategic plan should give guidance and stability to a company.

We hope to start doing the planning next year.". Don't try to do the entire strategic plan in a few consecutive days. Establish a schedule that allows for time between meetings industry to reflect on the discussions, dig up additional data, and build consensus. This should be a results-oriented process that can be adapted to the time and resources available in a company. Typically, a company allocates 2 to 4 percent of top management time to the sessions, including four your to seven days for planning meetings and a few days for preparation and research. As the goals of the plan become clear, the implementation of the strategic plan becomes part of normal, everyday operations. The planning becomes a tool that helps to run the business better, rather than an abstract exercise done by little green men on some distant planet. How frequently should the plan be updated? The most important point is that it should be updated. Too many think of a strategy as a long-range plan that gets set at some off-site meetings and then is rigidly followed as company policy for the next 5 to 10 years.

simplified business plan

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In many pdf companies, a quest for perfection dooms the planning process. The managers regard the choices to be made as so momentous that they must find perfect answers or risk losing the company. This kind of attitude often lengthens the information-gathering phase infinitely. At one seminar for small and mid-sized companies, we asked each of the attendees how long his or her company had been doing strategic planning. A member of one group present said that their company had been doing it for five years. Thinking they surely had some insights to share with the group, we asked if they did a better job with each successive planning cycle. "Successive cycle?" one responded, a bit puzzled. "We're still gathering competitive and market information.

simplified business plan

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What is the timetable? Who is responsible for what?). How much time will it take? The strategic plan can take as much or as little time as you want to devote. Remember, you are in control. It does not have to be a monster that eats your top management alive. What you want to do is allocate a reasonable amount of high priority time to the process of developing a strategic plan, and then get the best job done in the time allotted.

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Basically, strategy is about the following critical questions: What will you sell? To whom will you sell? How do you beat or avoid the competition? Though these questions sound simple, they require sophisticated responses. Clear and comprehensive answers to them will give you the basic elements needed for an effective strategic plan. Asking a group of managers to answer them inevitably stimulates a lively discussion.

The first two questions deal with the scope or "strategic focus" of the enterprise: What products and/or services will the company provide? What markets or customers will it serve? The third question seeks writing to identify the sustainable basis for competitive advantage — your core competencies". Ideally, strategic planning is a process whereby a management team comes up with answers to these questions, and accepts submission and feels committed to being guided by the plan that emerges, in part because they have participated fully in its formulation. Generally, the steps in the process include: a situation analysis (Where are we today?) strategy formulation (Where do we want to go?) implementation planning (How do we get there? How much will it cost?

Decisions are often based on top of mind thinking rather that fact based analysis. "Me-too" strategies are all too common. There is frequent failure in turning intentions into results. First of all, be aware that Planning is only the first step in Strategic Management. Strategic Management also must include Execution of the plan, monitoring of developments and execution progress and feed-back into the plan. Without proper Execution, monitoring and feedback, planning will surely fall short of expectations.


Planning must include provision for Execution, monitoring and feedback. Strategic planning should be a process that provides for: balanced input, thoughtful consideration, prioritization, selection of a course and direction that will differentiate your company and lead to profitable growth, and finally, provide highly focused action on a few strategic initiatives in support of that. If your process is virtually non-existent or fails to attain the intended results you will be interested in the following. Strategic Planning Process, formal strategic planning developed in large companies and business schools in the decades following the second World War. Most models of strategy planning today reflect those beginnings and reinforce the widespread notion that planning is a big, complicated process. Nothing could be further from the truth. Like most management processes, it should be lean, structured and thorough. What are the steps in the process?

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You can use a paper calendar to schedule your tactics hazlitt or use a contact manager or spreadsheet program-what matters most is that you stick to your schedule and mom follow through. A plan on paper is only useful if it's put into action. Section 5: Budget Breakdown, the final section of your plan includes a brief breakdown of the costs associated with each of your tactics. So if you plan to exhibit at three trade shows per year, for example, you'll include the costs to participate in the shows and prepare your booth and marketing materials. If you find the tactics you've selected are too costly, you can go back and make revisions before you arrive at a final budget. You can adapt this plan as your business grows and your marketing programs evolve. Soon you'll find it's a simple tool you can't afford to be without. Many business leaders are frustrated with their strategy planning process.

simplified business plan

an example of an ineffective goal. You'd be in a much better position to gauge your marketing progress with a goal such as, "Increase sales of peripherals 10 percent in the first quarter, 15 percent in the second quarter, 15 percent in the third quarter and 10 percent in fourth quarter.". Section 4: Strategies and Tactics, this section will make up the bulk of your plan, and you should take as much space as you need to give an overview of your marketing strategies and list each of the corresponding tactics you'll employ to execute them. Here's an example: A client of mine markets videotape and equipment. One of her goals is to increase sales to large ministries in three states by 20 percent. Together we've developed a strategy that includes making a special offer each month to this prospect group, and one of her tactics is to use monthly e-mails to market to an in-house list. Your tactics section should include all the actionable steps you plan to take for advertising, public relations, direct mail, trade shows and special promotions.

If you're creating your marketing plan for in-house use, you can bullet the sections and make the writing as brief as possible. Content matters most-not your writing style. Here's how to write a five-part plan that works as hard as you do: Section 1: Situation Analysis, this introductory section contains an overview of your situation as it exists today and will provide a useful benchmark as you adapt and refine your plan. Begin with a short description of your current product or service offering, the marketing advantages and challenges you face, and a look at the threats posed by your competitors. Describe any outside forces that will affect your business in the coming year-this can be anything from diminished traffic levels due to construction if you're a retailer or a change in law that could affect a new product introduction if you're an inventor, for example. Section 2: Target Audience. All that's needed here is a simple, bulleted description of your target audiences. If you're marketing to consumers, write a target-audience essay profile based on demographics, including age, gender and any other important characteristics. B2B marketers should list your target audiences by category (such as lawyers, doctors, shopping malls) and include any qualifying criteria for each.

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5 steps to a simple, concise plan that'll get your marketing efforts on the right track. March 3, 2003 4 min read. Opinions expressed by, entrepreneur contributors are interests their own. Q: my partner and I want to write a marketing plan for our business, but it seems really complicated. Is there a way to simplify the process? A: Writing a great marketing plan doesn't have to be a headache. I recommend a simple plan, broken down into five sections, that's easy to write and follow.


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