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David Shelton’s top tip: Hold a business planning day

A disciplined approach to your business planning day – in preparation and execution – will ensure that everyone gets the most out of it… 

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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 

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