Developing a Strategic Focus Plan for a business is essential to its survival and growth. I start with a new client by learning as much as I can about their business; and, if possible, get to know their staff, product/service, internal operations, etc. I also ask the most important question: What is the single item that you feel is hindering your growth?
Armed with this information I now can work with the owner to develop a new Strategic Focus Plan. Note that I did not ask if they had a business plan or ask for a copy to review. In most cases their existing plan, if available, is sitting, unread in some file cabinet.
It does not matter in what capacity I am hired to work, my input into the plan development does not involve setting a company vision or company goals. Yes, I may share input in the rest of the plan development.
Usually after a day or day and a half of planning the owner is tired but satisfied that now a definite direction is in place with steps and accountability ingrained in the process.
Our work is not yet finished. I ask another question, “What if a crisis occurs, natural or man-made, that causes a major disruption?” In an economy and a world that is in constant change there are a lot of factors that may occur with a result that this carefully prepared plan will not work. What then?
The second part of the overall plan development is to analyze things that could happen either internally or externally that will cause the plan to fail, or at least not to perform as expected. This is where a contingency plan, based on the identified critical activities that could derail the original plan, is developed.
Identifying possible crisis issues and the likelihood of them occurring, allows the business to pay closer attention to the potential crisis points and to develop “what if” plans.
Having contingency plans is not “planning for failure”, but it is a smart business move which makes the Strategic Focus Plan a much more powerful and reliable tool. Having a contingency plan does not stop the semi-annual review of the Strategic Focus Plan.
He who fails to plan is planning to fail. Winston Churchill
Nick J. Petra CFP We developed the our Strategic Focus Plan, call us to show you how it works.