Setting Priorities Starts with a Good Business Plan
May 5, 2016
Guest Blog by Howard Shore, Founder Activate Group
The trademarks of a great operation are how well its leader and team use time and set priorities. Too often people confuse activity with productivity. Setting priorities starts with a plan. A good plan creates focus, sets goals, creates alignment throughout an organization, and provides a means for accountability. Have you reduced organizational activity down to the minimum necessary to achieve maximum results? Are anyone’s priorities working at cross purposes to those of the organization? Are the organization’s daily activities properly aligned toward its goals? You are likely emphasizing the wrong set of priorities to your team if you don’t address these issues.
Two Indications That You Have a Problem
As a business coach, one of my essential roles is to assist you in determining the key components of your business plan. My experience is that many companies do a poor job of creating their plans, costing them serious growth in revenue and profits. If you are like most leaders I’ve worked with, your annual planning process may need some fine-tuning. Often, I find leaders spend too much time focusing their attention on goals rather than on the components of their plan that will cause them to achieve those goals. Two indications that you have a problem are:
- You do not find the need to visit your plan weekly, monthly and quarterly with your executive team to make sure you are following it.
- You are not consistently hitting your revenue and profit numbers on a monthly basis. Or, you are hitting those numbers, but because of reasons other than your plan. In other words, you are growing by chance rather than by planned actions.
Creating a business plan helps to find the simplest path for your company to follow to produce maximum results. Lack of prioritization is by far the most common issue preventing companies from reaching consistent performance. While most leaders like to blame external conditions, it is usually an internal shortcoming.
What are the 8 Key Components of a Business Plan?
In order to accomplish focus, prioritization, alignment and accountability, your business plan should clearly answer the following 8 concerns:
- Why does your company exist (purpose)?
- How are you different (unusual offering)?
- Who is the core customer that you will build your business around?
- What are your goals?
- Which critical number(s) will you elevate this quarter?
- What are your 3 to 5 essential annual priorities? Remember, these are the difficult changes that need to be made in terms of products and services, systems and process, and people.
- What are the 3 to 5 quarterly company priorities that will drive the annual priorities?
- What are the 3 to 5 quarterly personal priorities for every leader that aligns with the company priorities and functional priorities?