Strategic plans and factors critical for success

In a previous life when working for a large corporate, I got used to helping senior managers learn how to develop and implement ‘strategic plans’.  You might think these would be based on the main functions, for example the ‘strategic production plan’, the ‘strategic sales plan’, etc., but this was not the case.

Of course, plans did exist for these functions, but they were mainly internal to the function and operational in nature. The company’s strategic plans were usually designed as cross-functional projects that developed the overall capability of the company, for example ‘improving the communications and data management between sales and production’, ‘developing a corporate university to act as change agent’, ‘total cost optimisation’, ‘creating a talent pool system’, ‘developing new products for existing and new customers’, etc. All the strategic plans involved several if not all functions.

I remembered this when recently with bquest I was helping a startup fitness company learn to get its act together. The owner wanted quickly to get up and be running successfully. Many startup business guides say you must have a financial plan, a marketing plan, a production plan, etc. but over a few hours using the bquest diagnostic tool, we identified three integrated plans to be prepared and implemented in the first year:

  1. Develop the brand – set out how the company will be differentiated from the many existing competitors, how the brand will be focused around the owner of the company, and how the brand will be communicated and implemented in the service.
  2. Develop core processes – say how the critical processes of attracting and retaining customers (members) will be designed, including the member data management system and payments. It is critical to get members joining quickly and cash coming in.
  3. Developing a small team of people – who can support deliver sessions, who operate in a consistent and high quality way that promotes the brand.

Later, not a priority at the moment, will be the need to develop plans a) to develop a quality management system for all parts of the service, b) to develop a range of added value services and exploit knowledge assets, c) to consider options for growth

These three plans focus on the critical success factors of the business at this stage in its life.

What factors are critical to success in your business? In bquest we can help you answer this question.

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