In business, words without execution is useless. Any goals or plans must be accompanied with realistic strategies and actions. For without them, they will remain empty words better reserve for literature.
Business leaders say planning a strategy is 25 percent of the task. The rest is execution. And, so it goes without saying that, if not properly carried out, a plan, no matter how great and exciting it may sound, will not make things work.
This is not to say, however, that we need to reinvent the wheel – rather, we need to keep it rolling to get the business going. In this context, the thing keeping the wheel going is the business plan.
Here are the keywords:
Some confuse a business plan with a goal, which actually are intertwined, experts say. The business plan sets the direction; the goal identifies the targets to be met at every step of the way. This inter-relationship does away with the old practice of creating a plan and expecting things to happen on their own. Goals make for a well-defined and structured assignment of tasks for each team member and as well identifies areas that may have been overlooked in the process of brainstorming.
Priorities and support measures
It is important that entrepreneurs know where their priorities are. Equally essential is keeping these priorities attainable and by this, the experts mean steering clear from setting too many so as not to strain resources – human and logistical. Lastly, priorities need support measures to make it happen.
An example would be expanding sales and marketing operations at a particular area based on research results. That being a priority would need logistical and manpower support. In tangible terms that could mean setting up a satellite office at the target expansion area, increasing presence both physically and on social media, putting knowledgeable and experienced people on board and rolling out a time-bound marketing plan.
As business gurus say: having too many priorities leaves deprives one of the element of being focused.
Key performance indicators (KPI)
These benchmarks should tell you how far you have been progressing, if at all. KPIs are measurable outputs complimenting each other toward a common goal: the success of the business plan.
It doesn’t end there. KPIs are assessed and evaluated regularly to identify areas that need to be improved and areas that are working well.
This practice ensures that the plan is actually continuously being harnessed and developed based on KPI assessment results, which identify what component of the overall plan is hamstringing the project, and thus needs adjusting or improving.
The importance of regular communication is immense. In this age of global digitalization and connectivity, it is impossible to fail in conducting regular communication with the employees and key people in the loop.
Communications ensures everyone in the team doing his role as regards the plan is on the same page – everybody is moving along; nobody is left behind. It synthesizes results and make possible a quick reaction in cases where a particular component of the business plan is hampered or even fails.
So, in real time context, this could go in the form of daily “morning alignments” in chat groups specifically set for the people involved in the business plan where every reports progress and follow-ups for the day. This provides for a certain level of measurability in gauging whether the plan is getting along and in what stage.
As things progress, those in the executive committee should hold monthly or quarterly meetings for evaluation purposes to identify problem areas and to brainstorm on whether the execution of the business plan needs to take a slightly different path. In other words, data accumulated from the daily alignment meetings would play a key role in setting forth whether the overall business plan is on the right track.
It’s a discussion on the plan’s strength and weaknesses as well as the opportunities that present themselves and threats that could bring the entire project down – SWOT.
Going back to the marketing expansion plan, this executive meetings should be able to identify what is going well; what is not turning out as expected; what are areas that can be favorable or speed up consummation of the business plan; and the threats – disgruntled staff, perhaps, even security – that could derail the plan.
Key product of regular executive committee evaluations is a one-page summary of the business plan’s progress for the employees. This is important in that it gives them a sense of being part of the whole undertaking and thus keeps them motivated and inspired. Just be conscious not to give out too much detailed information, especially company secrets.
Remember all these key words and you are good to go.