We wanted to put together a business plan for each of us. I believe these should be clear and simple. It is not necessary to have a great number of words. It is necessary to be sure you know exactly what you are looking to achieve in your business and what the objectives are to accomplish the vision you have articulated. The business planning process is included.
It has 8 parts. The easiest parts of building a plan are the first 5… putting together the plan. The really important parts are the last 3…executing the objectives and accomplishing the goals.
- Establish the critical values of the organization … what kind of company do you want to become.
- Understand where you stand today in terms of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). This can be done in a number of ways, but must be an honest assessment of what drives your business forward and what is holding you back
- Your priorities – you need to decide what the most important things you have to do in the next 6 to 12 months that would have the greatest impact on your business.
- Balanced Scorecard – how will you measure your success? How will you know you are on the right track if you don’t have a way to evaluate your progress?
- Establish the measurable objectives. What specifically is going to be done to achieve your priorities… those you have already admitted were the most important things to do this year.
- Action Plan – Who will do the work? What is the benefit? What is the cost? Who has to be trained? Who needs to be informed about the changes that will occur? The ‘what”, “where”, “when”, “how” of achieving the objective. Being very clear about what will be accomplished
- Review and evaluation – you need to establish a regular schedule when you will check your progress against the objectives you set. This needs to be at least once every 3 months at a minimum. It is here where you will make your corrections to the plan based on the changes that have happened to your business
- Celebration – I believe that at least once a year you should celebrate the work and successes you have. Day-to-day activity is hard work because you are bound in by the details. Step back and enjoy the progress and success. Let everyone who has participated in your journey celebrate with you. They need it. And so do you.
The first exercise:
- Write down those values you want to stand for in the marketplace.
- These are the fundamental ways that you will differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
- Why would a customer want to do business with you? What is in it for them? Why should they care? What makes you different than your competitor? What would you want others to say about you and your business in a testimonial at EANJ?
- Why would an employee want to work with you in your business? What is in it for them?
- It should probably be no more that 3 – maybe 4 – thoughts. Much more than that, people can’t remember. And besides it begins at that point to turn to real mush. It sounds too phony. Much more than that you can’t remember.
- What is your true product?
- Most describe their business in terms of the “stuff” they sell – insurance, painting, stone manufacturing, art services, engineering, public relations
- What do your customers really buy? Even if they don’t recognize it?
- For Disney – they sell rides, and movies, and merchandise. Their true product is “creating happiness for people of all ages.”
- For Ralph at PAC – he sells home theaters and DVDs. His true product is “enhancing life styles and living spaces.” This is an important distinction because it sets the tone for how he and his people need to work with clients. When they buy from him, it isn’t the things he sells that remains in a customer’s mind. They soak up the experience of the sound and sights and ambience that he has created for them. This is joy for them. They take pride in their creation. Their pleasure in the quality of experience is what remains. Their entire life style changes. Their living space is transformed. This is what remains long after Ralph and his people leave the location… if they did their job properly. This is the true product of his efforts.
- For Natalie – she sells art advisory services. Her true product is “building a bridge between people and art”. It is the knowledge of the customers as individuals … their tastes, their likes, their dislikes, the way they like to live, what they like to see and experience – – – combined with her extensive knowledge of what is quality in art that she links together in her business. She “builds a bridge” between the desires of the people to reflect their personal values in their surroundings and the thousands upon thousands of choices of art that is available to them. The vast array of choices is overwhelming to most people. She brings a sense of style and sophistication to the process. She brings clarity. She allows her customers to bridge the gulf between the individual and their desires for quality art in their lives.
- For me – Doug Duncan – I sell HR and business planning services. What I believe my true product is to creating confidence in your human systems and the people you employ. People don’t care about the job descriptions or the training programs or the employee manuals. They care that the people who work for them will act and behave as they want them to act. To serve the customers the proper way without the personal intervention of the management. The human resource systems will support the employee to support and develop the employees so that job performance, customer service, and profitability is automatic. This is just the way we do things here.
- What is your true product?
The true product is what your customer buy… Not what you sell. That is why building you plans from the customer back is so important. You want to sell what the customer is buying. …. Not what is convenient for you.
If you understand what your true product is, you will be better able to build your plan from the “customer back rather than from your internal capabilities out”. Customer back is a concept of creating the systems to enable your customers to do business with you as they require at the same time you make your business more efficient and effective. These operational, financial, marketing, and human systems must all be integrated together so they do not operate in conflict. Most unprofitable companies have competing systems that are ultimately dysfunctional and unprofitable. Designing your systems from the “customer back” eliminates the duplication and significant dysfunction. The first step in this direction is to identify your “true” product as the customer perceives it.
Creating the Value Statement
Purpose of a Value Statement:
- To ensure a consistent, clear purpose throughout the organization.
- To provide a point of reference for all planning decisions.
- To gain commitment from those within the organization by clearly communicating the nature and concept of the organization’s business.
- To gain understanding and support from people outside the organization who are important to its success.
It’s a dynamic, living document that enables virtually everybody within the organization to focus their efforts in a supportive manner.
1) It starts with an umbrella statement. It states the nature of the business in which the company expects to be engaged in the future. It is probably 15 – 30 words long.
2) Following the umbrella statement, there should be a line that says, “In support of this mission this organization is committed to:” . . . . followed by a limited series of statements of philosophy and operational beliefs. These are your values. What you stand for. The underlying principles upon which you will be running your company.
Examples can be found on the following pages. A word of caution; don’t include anything in your mission you are not prepared to back up with action. If anyone perceives any item in a mission statement as not really reflecting the way you do business, it will destroy the credibility of your planning efforts . . . not to mention the credibility of your words in the future.
Whether you call it a mission statement… or vision statement … or philosophy … or value statement … or guiding principles is not so important. Pick the terms that are right for you… that you feel most comfortable with. After all this is your company. These words need to reflect your inner values to the world at large – both customers and employees.
The xxxxxxx Group is in business to provide long-lasting, results oriented management and planning concepts, process, and techniques for organizational leaders. This is accomplished through speaking, consulting, writing, training other consultants (both internal and external) and through the production, sale and distribution of learning materials.
In support of this, we are committed to:
- Providing high-quality, high content services and products to our clients
- Maintaining the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct
- Being seen by our peers in the top echelon of our profession
- Contributing to the growth of our profession through volunteer leadership and assistance in the development of developing professionals.
The yyyyyy Company is in business to supply technically innovative hardware and software I/O solutions to the OEM computer market that provide a long term benefit to our customers.
In support of this, we are committed to:
- Being recognized by our customers for being responsive and oriented to their needs;
- Being recognized for being a technically superior and innovative supplier of high quality products
- Being recognized by our employees and the business community for excellence and integrity in managing the company’s business;
- Providing an environment for achieving personal excellence and growth for all our employees.
Our mission at Publix is to be the premier quality food retailer in the world.
To that end, we commit to be:
- Passionately focused on customer value
- Intolerant of waste
- Dedicated to the dignity, value, and employment security of our associates
- Devoted to the highest standards of stewardship for our Stockholders
- Involved as Responsible Citizens in our Communities
At Wegmans, we believe that good people, working toward a common goal, can accomplish anything they set out to do.
In this spirit, we set our goal to be the very best at serving the needs of our customers. Every action we take should be made with this in mind.
We also believe that we can achieve our goal only if we fulfill the needs of our own people.
To our CUSTOMERS and our PEOPLE, we make the commitment:
“EVERY DAY YOU GET OUR BEST.”
VIA Global links human resources and business planning for small to mid-sized companies.
To that end we commit to:
- Creative Solutions to Real Issues
- Delivering what we promise
- A Passion for Excellence.