In order to leverage its talent, ideas and energy to create a high performing company, a small business must be focussed and clear on precisely how it intends to conduct its affairs. Small business plans create this clarity and focus. They take the critical issues identified within a company’s strategic thinking and align them with the necessary tasks, then allocate the resources required to achieve the targeted goals.
The following 4 “musts” are the keys to effective small business plans.
1. Must keep them simple
Effective small business plans embody the following characteristics. They:
- Spell out the goals that need to be achieved
- Establish milestones along the way
- Document the required tasks
- Allocate those tasks
- Transform those tasks into step-by-step processes
- Identify the resources required
- Assign accountabilities and responsibilities
- Create the appropriate deadlines
- Become a measure of progress
- Allow for incorporating emerging opportunities.
2. Must keep the business on track
Small business plans make sure that all employees are pulling in the same direction, in keeping with the human, technological, physical, time and financial resources that the small business has at its disposal.
They do not have to be overly complicated, but they do have to be clear, understandable and tailored to the needs of the business. In essence, they have to be easy to use by everyone in the organization, and they have to cascade down to the individual level.
3. Must be applicable to everyone
When a company implements its small business plans in this manner, the plans become the living blueprint for all of its daily activities. The plans are not meant to sit in a nicely bound folder on a shelf somewhere. They ensure that the small business gets its priorities right and that it is tackling the most critical issues, within a structured approach. All the people in the organization are involved and are attending to the right issues and handling them in the right way in their particular part of the business.
4. Must tell the business how it is traveling
Small business plans facilitate the measurement of results. Business plans that are implemented in this way become the daily measure of all the things that the company is paying attention to.
When cascaded correctly throughout the organization, small business plans create the framework for the body of work that has to be done for the organization to be successful. They enable people to self-manage and self-govern around the company’s priorities and expectations of them, and they give them the tools necessary to do so.
In summary small business plans must:
1. Be clear and simple
2. Keep the business on track
3. Apply to everyone in the company
4. Tell the business how it is traveling.