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Effective Planning – The Key to a Successful Business

Have you ever wondered why some businesses appear to succeed when others struggle day to day while tied down by a variety of issues such as tight cashflow, lack of growth, low productivity and profitability, and high staff turnover?

There are many different keys to success however one of the most important, and often overlooked, is effective business planning & management.  All businesses get into trouble now and then, but what sets successful businesses apart is the ability to be able to plan ahead and therefore minimize the impact of the inevitable upsets.

When we talk about effective planning & management we mean a continuous cycle (or feedback loop) of actively planning, reviewing and improving.  The most common modelused in businesses is the PDCA Model.

PDCA stands for Plan, Do, Check and Act

pdca

Looking at each of the steps in more detail:

Plan – This includes business planning, identifying potential issues that may come up, preparing budgets and cashflow forecasts, setting Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) etc.

Do – Act on your plans

Check – This is where you review your actual results against what you’ve planned, to see how you are tracking.  This should be done on a regular basis.

Act – This is where you should review and improve on your original actions

So how would this look for a small or medium sized family business?

Plan

Planning doesn’t have to be a significant exercise or expensive strategic plan.  All it takes is a small amount of time to think about what you want out of your business for the year – essentially what does success look like for you? 

The first step would be to look at how your business is currently performing and then identify some key areas for improvement.  This could include an increase in sales or profit, improving GP margin, staff efficiency or even making more free time for yourself.  Once you know what you want to achieve for the year,you’ll be able tocome up with some goals that you can measure against your actual results to see how you’re tracking.

The last step in the planning process is preparing a budget of your income, expenses and cashflow for the coming year. This allows you to identify any ’holes’ in your cashflow and include them in your plan.  This could include approaching your bank early to obtain finance to ensure you cover any short months.

Do

Once you have established a plan of what you want to achieve for the year,you’ll be able to action your plans regularly in your day to day business operations.

Check

In this step you are essentially comparing your actual results throughout the year against your budget and goals.  The more often you review the results the quicker you will be able to identify any problems and act to correct them.  Ideally this should be monthly, however bi-monthly or quarterly will also work.

Act

Now that you have data on how you are going compared to your plan, it should be easier to make decisions on any adjustments that need to be made going forward to achieve the planned goals.

Occasionally you may need to alter your plan or goals due to a change in circumstances, this is completely normal. This is where you complete the loop by making new plans or goals.

How do I get started?

It is often hard to get the process started, especially if you’ve never used it before.  However, there are many places you can get assistance including your business coach or mentor, your bank relationship manager or your accountant.

At Campbell Tyson we can assist you with all areas of your business planning and reporting.  If you would like more information please give us a call.

plan do check action

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Guest Sunday, 23 September 2018