Business plans should be 1 page and no longer

Many of you will also remember reading it months/years after writing it and realising that you had some really good ideas when starting the company, which you had forgotten about!

Now I?m not knocking business plans, but we are living in a new age where traditional business plans are dead from the moment they are written, because businesses and technology are changing in a heartbeat. 

This means your strategy needs to be flexible and adaptable to these changes. The old style 50+ pages of theory and no accountability play no part in this fast-paced world.

Learn from the big boys. They use a one-page plan to manage and organise projects, teams and strategy. Many of them cheat and have huge pieces of paper with font size eight to fit it all on, but this defeats the point. Strategy should focus on the MAJOR results? it?s not about the tactics.

In order for strategy to work, it needs to have the whole company buy in to it. So the entire team should feel a part of, and believe in, the vision, purpose and values of the business. 

They should be clear on how the product differentiates itself in their market place. Everyone needs to be aware of their strengths and responsibilities in the five main areas of business: sales, marketing, operations, finance and people management. 

And most importantly everyone in the team needs to hold themselves accountable to meet their individual targets.

Just take some time to think about your company. Are all of the above points clearly defined and is this information disseminated to EVERYONE in the organisation, from the CEO to the cleaner?

For 99.9 per cent of the clients I work with, the answer is no, and here are the top reasons why:

  • People don?t know or want to admit what they are not good at. If you are reading this and you are a marketing person, you are more than likely to be rubbish at finance;
  • If you are a finance person you will probably be poor at people management. The role of a business owner is to outsource your weaknesses! and
  • People think that strategy is only for large organisations. Wrong! Strategy is not goal setting and for an SME to have sustained growth it needs strategic planning at any size. 
So it?s time to take your head out of the sand of strategy and become the next leader in your industry. Define why you exist as a company, align your team to the values and vision, and hold everyone accountable to their key activities.

Deri app John Llewellyn-Davies (AKA the strategy man), is an international speaker, consultant and author of the number one bestselling book ?BGI Strategy on a Page?.

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