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Clarity and your Business Plan

Every six weeks, we do a master class to help leaders develop a business plan on one page. We call it “Five Steps to Take Control of Your Business and Crush Your Goals.” What I like best about the program is how interactive it is. Each night we create a homework thread for attendees, and we provide feedback. Ultimately each participant leaves with a well-developed business plan.

What is the framework of a One Page Business Plan?

In the One Page Business Plan framework that we teach, there are five key components.

  • Vision – What will your business look like in the future?
  • Mission – Why Does Your Business Exist?
  • Objectives – What will you measure for business performance?
  • Strategy – How will you run your business?
  • Action Plans – What do you need to build for your business to succeed?

These terms can be defined differently based on where you went to school or where you worked. But in our methodology, the words are specific. I often find clients want to default to their way of defining things. Objectives often become projects, not something to be measured. Strategies become over generalized ideas about the work to be done. Action Plans become Strategies.

Determining an Objective, Strategy and Action Plan

In today’s blog, I will break down a real-world example from a Master Class attendee. They submitted the following statement for the homework after our strategy session:

That seems pretty straightforward, and it is. What it isn’t is a Strategy as we define it in our framework. For the One Page Plan, we define a Strategy as a business building activity or goal and how we will achieve it. For example: “Increase revenue by offering diverse programming, additional events, and  targeted marketing campaigns.” The business building activity is “increase revenue,” and we will achieve it through “diverse programming, additional events, and targeted marketing campaigns.”

The exciting thing about the homework submission is that it contains an Objective, Strategy, and Action Plan. Not bad for a twenty-word sentence! How do we break that down?

First, the statement contains an Objective for us to measure. A capacity target for customer service leads to 60% to 70%. We will want to get more specific with that number so let’s make it 65%. Then, the corresponding Objective is: Achieve a 65% capacity target for customer service leads. We will then measure that Objective each month to ensure we achieve the target.

Second, the statement contains a Strategy. The Strategy is “Reduce client assignments for customer service leads so they can focus on increasing sales and renewals.” The business building activity is increasing sales and renewals, and we will achieve it by reducing their client workload.

Third, there is a need for an Action Plan based on the original statement. Action plans are projects we undertake to achieve an Objective or execute on a Strategy. In this example, we need to figure out how to keep their workload at 65% capacity. How are we going to do that? With an Action Plan called: Create a staffing plan to ensure customer service leads hit the capacity target of 65% by October 15, 2020.

The complexity behind the simplicity

When we work with our clients to develop a business plan on one page, we need to ask many questions. As the example above shows, you need to get behind the initial thought. The beauty of the program is that the concept of a One Page Business Plan is quite simple. The complexity is thinking through what is crucial to your organization’s success and keeping your focus there. And when you identify those critical items, focus on the actions it will take to achieve them. Plan development is one of the two areas where we bring real value to the business planning process. The other piece is long term accountability, but that is the subject of another post! If you would like a 15 minute consult, contact us!