Strategic Business Planning

Strategic Business Planning

“The nice thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression.”

— author unknown

Truer words have never been spoken.  Business planning in any environment is important but add in the myriad of COVID-19 challenges and strategic business planning is absolutely essential.  So, why is business planning so crucial? In a word, it provides “clarity”. Investing time to develop a plan provides precise clarification of the company vision to both employees and customers. In addition, it provides a mechanism to gauge the results of the business and provides the foundation for future growth plans.   

Below is an outline of items to include in your strategic plan so that you position your company to have a fighting chance in this pandemic world:

Strategic Planning & Goals: 

  • Identify the key company goals
    • Financial
    • Growth
    • Cultural Alignment
  • Plan 1 to 3 years with measurement 

Develop Planning Modules: 

  • Compartmentalize your plan by priority, resources and timelines
    • Focus by quarters
  • Reset as needed by market conditions

Develop Non-Capital Initiatives:

  • Productivity projects – sweat equity, process improvements, better management, etc.
  • Develop checks and balances on resource management
    • Have an “in the queue, out of the queue” mindset

Create A Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) Plan: 

  • Identify all discretionary CAPEX items that add growth and returns
  • Include mandatory, stay-in-business CAPEX items
  • Set up a capital committee to review 

Identify and Monitor the Following:

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) – Identifying key performance indicators for your business to use as benchmarks 
  • Fundamentals, Cycles & Trends (FC & T’s) – Outside forces that will influence your best intentions

Ask the Following Questions:  

  • Where Do You Want To Go?
  • How Will You Get There?
  • Do Your Initiatives Achieve Your Overall Goal?

Operationalize by Writing an Actionable Plan: 

  • Sequentially timeline all projects so they will not be competing against one another for resources
  • Morph strategy to tactical by mapping all the steps of execution
  • Cascade throughout the team the expectations, updates and overall communications of the ongoing business plan process
  • Set targeted benchmarks that can be measured against the initiatives
  • Monitor weekly and monthly all activities to ensure that the team is delivering on-time and on-budget

A business plan that hits the mark is one that not only identifies the strategic direction of the company, but also maps out the tactical elements that enable the company to execute on the plan. This is where most companies fail to deliver. Operationalizing a strategic plan is a discipline that separates the planners from the doers. Successful organizations create a team that consists of both types of individuals. A team that can take lofty strategic plans and tactical execute them is one to be reckoned with.

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John Matthews

John Matthews is the president and CEO of Gray Cat Enterprises and is responsible for the management of all consulting activities for the firm, which include retail consulting for multiunit operations; interim divisional or general management leadership; consumer marketing for companies launching products in the retail sector; and strategic project management. With more than 30 years of senior-level experience and a speaker at retail-group events throughout the U.S., Matthews has recently written Game-Changing Strategies for Retailers, which is available on Amazon. In addition, he has two step-by-step manuals, Local Store Marketing for Retailers and How to Stage a Killer Grand Opening!, which are available at www.graycatenterprises.com.

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