Planning is a term you hear thrown around often in the business world. Basically, there are two timetables for business planning. The cheat sheet is:
Long-range (1-5 years) = strategic (objectives and goals)
Short-range (less than 1 year) = tactical (priorities and specific tasks)
Long-range extends beyond one year and is normally less than five or ten years. Often called the strategic plan, this process establishes the objectives and goals from which short-range plans are made. Long-range plans support the organizational purpose by providing clear statements of where the organization is going. These plans affect every part of the organization.
The second planning horizon is short-range, covering a period of up to one year. Short-range plans are derived from an in-depth evaluation of the long-range plan. The annual budget is a quantified expression of the enterprise’s plans for the fiscal year. It generally is divided into quarters, and is used to guide and control day-to-day activities. It is often called the tactical plan because it sets priorities, in the near term, for the long-range plans through the allocation of resources to specific activities.
All functional business plans evolve from the strategic plan and define themselves through tactical operations.
The business environment is changing faster and more dramatically than ever before. Shifts in the demographics of the marketplace and rapidly changing consumer preferences and buying patterns mean that businesses must be willing and able to adapt quickly. The emergence and acceptance of new ways to shop and new types of virtual stores creates a fiercely competitive, continually evolving business environment. The number and variety of new products and services being introduced into the marketplace means businesses must be more alert and responsive. Recognizing the new realities of the marketplace is an important part of the market analysis. Local issues and trends can be analyzed and then compared and contrasted to national trends in an effort to assess the current local situation and create a new form of market intelligence.
Project management is a methodical approach to planning and guiding specific business projects from start to finish. It can be applied to any type of business and we see it widely used to control the complex processes of business development objectives. These activities consist of tactical and strategic plans through which a business owner can ensure that their business is constantly growing and excelling at the level they desire.
Project management consists of methods to improve processes, eliminate the attention from fault-finding or assigning blame, and focuses on working as a team to get rid of the wasteful activities that limit productivity. In applying this idea to an organizational strategy, one of the most trying tasks is encouraging employees to adopt a mentality of cooperation. A paradigm shift must be implemented by top leaders which can result in significant change in the way business is done in the minds of your employees. Keep in mind that it is crucial to make sure employees keep up a good rate of development within the business through this process.
Focusing on personal development creates the ability to improve ourselves in all areas and gain control over specific situations. This involves taking 100% responsibility for your health, your career, your finances, your relationships, your emotions, your habits, and your spiritual beliefs. It requires taking a hard look at yourself, consciously deciding what kind of person you truly are on the inside, and then getting your actions to be congruent with your true self. The goal is to achieve outstanding effectiveness while maintaining internal balance – where your thoughts, feelings, actions, and skills are all working together to create the life you truly desire. Always remember that personal development and business development are connected for the small business owner, you can’t have one without the other.
For an existing business, business development is the process of boosting the number of sales and revenue to gain new customers and target new markets that might benefit from the products and services that are being offered. The first thing that you need to do is generate leads for your products and services. Start by carefully planning and executing a very aggressive marketing campaign that will help you reach out to those people who are most likely to buy from you. If you are running a traditional business, you can use radio, TV, newspaper, and local magazines as your marketing mediums. However, if you are running an e-business, you can use effective internet marketing tools like PPC advertising, article marketing, forum posting, banner ads, paid links, SEO, blog marketing, social media marketing, and video marketing. It is very important that you have a solid idea about the people that you are serving. This will make it much easier for you to create products/services that these people will appreciate.
During your business interactions you will meet new people every day or, at the very least, every week. When you meet new people you should assess and determine if they can be an asset to help you achieve your personal or career goals. By looking for certain traits among your acquaintances and contacts you begin to identify the best business partners with whom you should develop a connection or strategic relationship. Bond with those who celebrate your success and offer a helpful ear whenever you face a problem. The right people rejoice over your triumphs and do not feel obligated to “one-up” you.
Business development requires the art of utilizing resources and individuals and then integrating them into profitable solutions and economic opportunities. Successful business models are molded after identifying or creating a market condition for demand and coming up with a feasible solution which can be adjusted and sustained over an extended period of time.
It takes the “right” people to help you move forward; always identify and evaluate the key people in your life along with the opportunities and resources from that come from new acquaintances.
In small business your services and products are your bond. You will gain and lose customers through the life of your business; you don’t have the luxury of being able to generate a new customer within your market for every one you lose due to poor service or product. This reality must balance in your favor and improve as time moves on while you take advantage of those who don’t return to do business with you by learning from your mistakes. Small business owners will have multiple opportunities to close down business operations in difficult times. The successful business person must learn to overcome these types of temptations and continue to work through the key stages of development, find ways to solve operational dilemmas, and improve the business by creating or restructuring the overall foundation. As you spend time developing your business never forget that your customers will provide valuable feedback on how well you are doing. Remember, although you may work hard to create “new value,” your customers will be the final judge of the past, present and future.
The small business owner has to make more decisions than the manager of a large corporation. Because of limited resources you can’t always have a predetermined method of dealing with certain daily activities. A method of activity must be created so that a business owner can work on their business and work in their business. The “balance of time” for a business owner is as critical as sales revenue. In the early stages of development the decision making ability of the owner will become the most valuable business resource within the organization. Even though they may maintain a high level of expertise along with specific business goals, a second perspective is a necessity to provide a clear picture of business operations. Information from secondary sources is often overlooked or not considered important; this can lead to many big mistakes. Good information helps make better decisions. Time, decision making, and information are linked together in the developmental phases of every business.
You need to develop good work habits in the world of small business. In most cases you will play many roles in a small business organization which demands that you are able to stay on task and get the job done. Determine when and where your time is best spent as it relates to producing profit and allows you stay in a position to analyze all of your operations.
Business owners must move out of their “comfort zone” and work strategically. Every business will require multiple skill sets to carry out all operations; it is not necessary for a business owner to master every critical function but they must understand how it all comes together. As a business changes the work dynamics will also change. A successful business owner must stay involved in the alignment of all processes and procedures as they relate to generating income.
To grow a business you must develop the skill of making plans and thinking things through before committing your precious resources to a project or business model. You have limited time and resources, and a well-organized person who manages their time and resources well will be more successful starting, growing or funding a business.
Planning is not just something we do in business; it is a skill that will define the longevity of every business. The process of business development is a continuous action for every business owner. Every business will expand, grow, change and evolve at different critical points in time. The nature of business requires dedicated planning to regulate and expand business operations based on a methodology created through logical sequencing.