To make a business planning day successful, invite those who are key to your business and essential to implementing the plan. Before the day, issue a structure and explain the purpose of the meeting so those participating understand what is going to happen.
An example of a good structure is:
- Business strengths and weaknesses: 2 hours
- Opportunities and threats that will affect the business: 1 hour
- Key issues that identify no more than five major items arising from the previous sections: 30 minutes
- Vision covering the direction, scale and scope of the business in the next 3-5 years: 1 hour
- Headline implementation to cover what needs to be done, who will do it and by when: 1 hour
- Risks to the plan and how it will be monitored: 30 minutes
You have to be very disciplined to stick to these times and using a facilitator to run the day and take notes makes a lot of difference.
Agree some ground rules at the start, including: no ‘hobby horses’, make points once, avoid long examples, leave politics outside and respect all viewpoints. Finally, ask somebody to write up the plan for everyone to consider and agree at a subsequent meeting.
David Shelton is the author of The Business of Advice book and website www.businessofadvice.co.uk