I just completed the Vision Manawatu, NZ Trade and Enterprise "Strategic Planning" workshop presented by Lyn McCurdy from Third Bearing Limited.
I've done this type of development several times before and I have a 5 year plan but it's always good to refresh your plan and listen to someone else's perspective. Lyn's presentation was very logical and easy to follow so I thought I'd highlight the bits that caught my attention in my blog.
Why are we in business?
When asked the above question we all noted many reasons and some of mine included:
- It's exciting
- Supports my lifestyle
- Provides more opportunities
- Provides satisfactions
- Helps others
All of the above reasons and more are valid but the underlying reason we're in business is 'Financial Security". If your business isn't making enough money then it stops being exciting, fun, helping others, etc. and you probably need to ask yourself "Am I in the right place, doing the right thing, with the right people?"
Most people grow their wealth between the ages of 40 - 65 for when they retire so it's important for us to visualise what we want when we retire. For example, if I want financial freedom and a house by the sea when I retire I might need two million dollars and $500,000 house. To get this I'd have to save $166,666 per year.
This long term analysis of why I'm in business really helps put my business plans in context because though I still want my business to be fun, challenging, helping others, etc it should ultimately meet my long-term goals so my business vision needs to reflect that.
On the work sheet supplied to me, for our Business Vision I put "Nationwide Web Design Business creating valuable websites for our customers". Our original vision that was posted on our website was "To create websites that improve business".
Below are our present mission guidelines but I will discuss these further with my team tomorrow morning to see what they think:
1. Web Services: Create valuable, measurable and modular web services that empower our customers
2. Professional: Be professional, creative, and innovative
3. Transparent: Be transparent, trustworthy and reliable
4. Open Source: Grow and share knowledge through Open Source principles
5. Community: Encourage growth and excellence in local and global communities
When making goals for our business we take the above guidelines into account. The goals are then added to our five year plan. Here's an example of goals completed last year:
1 MONTH GOALS (22 Aug, 2008)
* New staff job descriptions and contracts
2 MONTH GOALS (22 Sept, 2008)
* Reduce overall support by 20%
Some important things to note about goals is that they need to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) and you could also add another A on the end for Accountable.
Your goals need to take into account your key stakeholders needs. Frequently as business owners we may only view things from our own perspective but it's important that we step outside our comfort zone. I identified the following stakeholders for my business:
- Commercial Partners
- Community Partners
- Business Networks
When planning my business I need to take into account the needs of the above stakeholders because they are key to me meeting my Business Vision.
When you create business objectives put "because" in the sentence. Here's what I wrote on our work sheet:
- Launch our Green Host emissions free hosting service by November because it will corner the Green Host marketing in NZ, considerably reduce our costs and add value to our brand.
- Expand our MBIZ free Chamber member website scheme to central North Island Chambers by December because it will generate upsells to our professional websites in other regions and grow our brand.
We were then given another work sheet to help us assess the benefit of an opportunity. Below is what I wrote on mine:
STRATEGIC PLANNING SHEET
OPPORTUNITY: To become NZ's first Green Host
OUTCOMES/OBJECTIVES: NZ's first Green Host by November, corner green host market in NZ, build national brand trust, reduce costs
ISSUES/BARRIERS: New technology untested, new systems need new procedures and training for staff, high capital investment
OVERCOMING ISSUES/BARRIERS: Spread development over longer period and use savings and sales of redundant hardware to fund, create new procedures and train as we develop, test heavily before we launch and hire smart local companies to develop the advanced solar technology needed.
ACTIONS REQUIRED ---- BY ---- COMPLETED BY
1. Solar tech ---- DLT LTD -- Oct, 2009
2. New Billing Sys -SP LTD -- Sept, 2009
3. New Admin Sys -- SP LTD -- Oct, 2009
REVIEW: Assess completed goals
There was a lot more information but the above elements are what caught my attention. Finally, for your amusement, here's Tony's Tyre Service's Vision: "Have unfair market share in every major centre in New Zealand" (Steve Lang).