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Better Business: The importance of business planning

Many people argue that spending time on three year business planning is pointless when there is major change and uncertainty. Others suggest this is exactly the right time because it reduces risk and demonstrates effective management.

The planning process has many advantages and provides:

  • business direction
  • opportunity for discussion of exit and succession options
  • opportunity to involve key people
  • time for different views to be debated
  • opportunity to prioritise and test ideas
  • for strategic thinking in contrast to day-to-day operations
  • support for teambuilding within an agreed plan
  • staff with confidence that they are working for a business that has set direction in a changing market.

To make the exercise worthwhile involve the key people, take a full day out of the office and work to a structure.

Base this on:

  • internal strengths and weaknesses
  • external opportunities and threats
  • key issues that must be dealt with
  • profile of the business in three years
  • actions needed to achieve the profile and deal with the key issues.

Have someone to take full notes and write the draft plan using the structure above. Review this within two weeks and, when adopted by the senior team, present to the staff.

 David Shelton is the author of “The Business of Advice” book and website www.businessofadvice.co.uk

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