Planning for your business’s future is just good common sense. In order for your business to survive in today’s market, you need to be constantly thinking of ways to improve, compete and evolve. But what does planning really mean and what is the best way for you to go about doing it?
The market place is currently inundated with lots of key buzz words and templates grabbing for your attention. There are business plans, strategic plans, marketing plans, financial plans and operational plans just to name a few.
How do you know which one is right for your business at this particular moment in time?
What’s the Difference Between a Business Plan and a Strategic Plan?
If you don’t get it right, you could be just spinning your wheels. So, before you go and do a bunch of work that doesn’t add value, before you create that masterpiece of a plan that will sit on your shelf collecting dust, here are a few key explanations to help clarify those nagging questions that you might have.
Let’s start with the key question at hand. Are business plans and strategic plans the same and if not, what is the difference?
No, they are not the same and they are most definitely used at different times in your business. Business plans are reports that are frozen at a specific point in time. They include information that is key to understanding where your business came from, what it looks like today and what it may look like tomorrow. Business plans can be visionary in nature, they can help you get a business loan, they can help you identify what needs to change in your business and they can definitely help you dig into identifying those critical roadblocks getting in your way or any opportunities available down the road.
Picture yourself sitting in your car ready to start your journey; to take your business from where you are today, to where you want to go. Think of your business plan as the key that fits in your ignition. You need to have it because it is key to getting the engine started, but the key itself is not going to take you anywhere.
In order to reach your destination, you need to actually put the car in gear, step on the gas, make lane changes, watch the road signs and turn left or right based on what is ahead of you and where you want to go. That is what a strategic plan is. It represents you actually driving your business to get it from point A to point B.
Let me explain in a more graphical way.
Your business plan is a key report based on your business that analyzes and includes information on:
- Your marketing plan – who your competitors are, your sales and pricing strategy, your product revenue stream, where your customers hang out and how you are going to find them
- Your financial plan – how much money your business needs to make, how much cash you will need and a budget so that you can keep your costs under control
- Your project plan – what products will you deliver, what will be included, what does the quality look like, how much research and development is required
- Your operational plan – how many staff do you need, what are your delivery times, how does communication work within your organization?
- Why are you in business? – What do you hope to accomplish, how do you link your paycheck to purpose?
- Where is your business situated? Are you looking to expand into different regions?
Your strategic plan is a working, interactive tool that is used to help move your business forward in a specific direction. It includes information such as:
- What needs to be done to move your business forward? – these are your action items that are prioritized and then given the adequate resources to be completed
- How is the work going to be done? – these are the detailed steps involved in taking action that are constantly reviewed, discussed and adjusted as required in order to make the greatest impact
- Who is assigned to completing the work? Putting the right people in charge of the execution of your plan is key. Having someone to oversee the entire plan to make sure it is staying on track is also required.
- When is the work to be complete? – Results happen when work gets completed. Setting realistic deadlines that push your team to deliver these results and hold them accountable will be the difference to whether your business succeeds or not.
It is confusing out there. There are so many business plan templates to choose from. There are lots of business coaches that will help you put together a strategic plan.
Where do you even start with a business plan?
You want to be sure you’re not wasting your time and money. So let’s stop, hit the brakes and take a deep breath.
Your business is unique. Where it is at and what it requires to be successful is also unique. The answer that you are looking for is not a cookie cutter solution. You don’t need a bureaucratic solution that is going to just collect dust on a shelf somewhere. You don’t need to follow a process that feels like scraping your nails down a chalkboard.
You need a solution that:
- Takes your business on a journey,
- That gets you engaged and passionate about your business all over again
- And that delivers results, saving you both time and money
If you are tired of just spinning your wheels and getting nowhere, if you want to inject fun back into your business, if your want to have investors and banks excited about lending you money or if you just want to see your business grow and flourish in the years to come, contact us at the link below to receive your free ½ hour strategy session. Together, lets get you on the right road to success.