“Strategic Planning is a process by which we can envision the future and develop the necessary procedures and operations to influence and achieve that future.“ – Clark Crouch
I have lost count of the number of Business Plans I have drafted, completed and then presented with Coca-Cola and Philip Morris. They are a very necessary business evil. They seem to be too time consuming, administratively burdensome and non productive; but without them, we do not have any targets, goals or direction.
It’s a little like playing basketball without the hoops. More important, they are a great way of communicating to the organization outside of the senior management about what the future holds and what needs to be done to be successful. Now there’s a novel idea!
But if used effectively they are a guiding star by which a company’s destination is navigated, charted and adjusted over time. Business Reviews are then the key to measuring the course and making adjustments to it as circumstances change.
Typically the real guts of a business plan are Objectives (What we want to accomplish), Strategies (Broad ideas of how we will achieve our Objectives) and Tactics (Specifics and detail of how the Strategies will be executed). However, what I have never seen in all the plans I have worked on is any reference to Relationships. Why is that?
We focus on what we want and how we need to do it. The piece we miss is the third dimension – who are we going to do it with?
In other words, who are the people we are talking to as our partners?
Are they the right people?
Who else are we missing?
What are their objectives?
What is our current Relationship situation?
What are our goals and what initiatives will we take to accomplish them?
These are critical questions that need addressing if we are going to fully execute the business plans. It is imperative, in a situation where a company is reliant upon several large customers or clients, that there’s a Customer or Client Business Plan in place.
It can be a reality filter to the objectives and strategies of the Business Plan and often provide guiding principles as to how the tactics get executed.
What I have been doing with customers and clients this year is integrating Customer or Relationship Strategy Plans into their Business Plans. Interested? Let me know and maybe I can help. Comment or mail me.