I have espoused the importance of a strategic business plan (SBP) for years now and the critical part they play in any company committed to attaining business excellence. This level of operational excellence will be achieved through a live, workable and measureable SBP and will underpin the journey towards improving productivity and performance at all levels of a business.
In our ever increasing market volatilities and pressures from an international market place, all businesses need to identify factors which are limiting growth and profitability. The SBP will do this and also provide opportunities to implement the improvements needed to add substantial value for all key stakeholders.
People often ask me why they should have a mission statement. My answer is simple: A Mission Statement is the ‘Starting Point’ of all strategies
- It must be a clear statement of the business you are in and it’s capabilities
- It must be qualitative – Not to make more money or more profit
- It must define the scope of your business activities
- It must assist in the decision making process
- It must also reflect your commitment to a future for employees
There needs to be a clear ‘Vision’ which details the objectives and long tern strategies that will achieve your business targets and sets you apart from any opposition. It is also something which has ownership by all employees, customers and suppliers and points up the future direction of the company.
I believe the objective of your vision statement is to have a measurable target with supportive underpinning assumptions which become the key drivers for the business to achieve successful and sustainable growth as a market leader.
Equally important is a sales and marketing plan which articulates what the company does well and sets them apart from competitors. It also builds the business reputation and image as a critical component of your growth strategies.
The plan also demonstrates to potential funding authorities, investors and/or potential purchasers that the company has respected the competitive and demanding nature of the marketplace.
As part of the SBP development process, there are some crucial Strategic Planning questions which should be undertaken as part of a diagnostic review.
- What is the true position of the business from a strategic, operational and financial perspective
- What is the degree of leadership alignment – who is part of the problem/solution?
- Is short term survival be funded?
- Is the business viable in the medium to long term on a qualitative basis?
- What are the strategies for stabilisation, restructuring and recovery?
- What does the financial modelling of turnaround impact show in terms of future cash flow, profit and funding needs?
- Who is the team to take the business forward considering the current position and past history. What are the growth objectives by market and price escalation?
- What are the immediate cost reductions/cost avoidance initiatives that can have immediate impact?
A company will achieve more in twelve (12) months with a SBP than a company will in twenty (20) years without one.