Winston Churchill, once wisely said that, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”
Planning is vital to your mission’s success. Remember that planning and control go together – one cannot exist without the presence of the other. For effective planning and control, you must make use of various planning and strategic management tools.
Strategic Planning Tools
You can deploy SWOT Analysis for undertaking the situation analysis, PESTEL Analysis for scanning of the external environment, BCG Matrix for doing Portfolio Planning, Porters Five Forces Model for formulating your competitive strategy, and Balanced Scorecard for analyzing the performance of an enterprise. Likewise, there are many more tools to help you with every aspect of your business planning and control.
You should also go for building necessary organizational systems, instituting monitoring, and control mechanisms regularly.
Business Plan Document
Your Business Plan document is your key to success. Prepare a good business plan and navigate your business according to it – modifying and adjusting the plan to respond to the fast-changing dynamic business environment.
There should be no hesitation to undertake a comprehensive planning exercise only because your project is small.
You have every reason to undertake a detailed in-depth appraisal of your proposal – howsoever small. A detailed appraisal of any small business opportunity or project need not be complicated but is crucial and vital to your success. You must undertake a detailed and thorough planning exercise and study each aspect in detail. All these aspects must be captured well and documented in form of a structured business plan or a detailed project report (DPR).
Start with a detailed draft statement of the business plan which can later be refined based on successive in-house brainstorming sessions and/or consultations with experts and persons with more knowledge in respective fields.
Consultants & Mentors
Wherever and whenever required – outside professional help of high quality must be sought without the least hesitation.
Entrepreneurs (particularly those running family-based businesses) are generally reluctant to accept such help from outside. They show indifference towards getting advice and professional help from such consultants and experts either for ego reasons or for reasons of security. Such entrepreneurs think and believe that professional advice and inputs from experts and consultants are only meant for large businesses and are not required for their small businesses. On the contrary, they believe that they can solve their problems on their own without any outside help.
Young entrepreneurs from SMEs and traditional business families should be encouraged to welcome knowledgeable consultants and experts and should be open to using their knowledge and experience in developing and fine-tuning their businesses.
It can be a very good idea if young entrepreneurs invite and opt for senior members from business and industry with relevant experience (and/or subject matter experts from academic institutions) for representation on their boards and/or subcommittees of the Board.
Such intervention by an outside professional consultant/expert may help the enterprise in several ways including aspects like refining/re-defining the Business Models, designing suitable control systems, designing training and capacity building programs for executives, providing useful counsel on various commercial, statutory, and legal matters.
How do Small Businesses benefit from planning?
“Proper Planning is 100% essential for ensuring success of any component (or several critical components) of your small business.”
Institution of effective planning and control systems – both during the project implementation and operation phases can prove beneficial to the entrepreneur in one or more of the following ways:
- Ensuring that the project or the program is completed without unwanted cost and time overruns.
- Ensuring that the scope of the project is not altered during the project gestation period and if there are any unavoidable changes in the project scope, these are thoroughly discussed with project sponsors – so that cost and time frames are revised suitably.
- Meticulous planning and control systems during the operation phase of the project will ensure that all-important operational parameters like cost of production, expenses on salaries and wages, financing charges, promotional and advertising expenses, lease rentals, and other avoidable expenses are kept under check.
- The firm can deploy suitable strategic planning tools to undertake structured performance evaluation in various areas like Quality Control, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Portfolio Management, Competitive Analysis, and others.
Are there any other planning tips and operational practices that you have followed in your business to your advantage? Let us know in the comments below.