Business Planning

Setting the goals for business

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An Overview of Business Planning


A thorough assessment of the business.


Fulfill the vision and mission.


Achieve key financial results.


Implement the vital year-one actions.


Successfully work your plan.

Step 1: Origination

1. Valuation                         Serves to conduct a thorough “strategic inventory” of the business

2. Values                              Determines the shared and prioritised values of the business

3. Vision                              Identifies the shared view of the destination of the business

4. Variables                        Enables the undertaking of a complete environmental scan of all the major internal                                                and external factors influencing, or of importance to the business

Step 2: Opportunities

Opportunities, asks the question: “What should we do to fulfill our vision and mission?”

What the “Who”, “Where,” and “Why” questions answered in “Step 1 – Origination”, the journey now has been clearly and compellingly justified, for the enterprise team knows who it is, where it is and, more fundamentally, why it exists.

Step 3: Objectives

Objectives, asks the question: “When will we achieve key financial and business results?”

Based upon all pertinent matters which has charted out at Origination before the launch of the strategic journey can begin, and what the most important Opportunities for the enterprise are, step three builds a staircase to the strategic future. It is dedicated to the act of quantification of both existing and new strategic product and service deliverables into “units” and “rands” of opportunity, in order to construct tangible targets or clear, measurable objectives.

Step 4: Operations

Operations, asks the question: “How should we implement the vital year-one actions needed to lay the foundation of our strategic future?”

This step builds directly upon the opportunities in step two, by taking the planning process deeply into the practical realm. This step focuses the entire plan on very specific, measurable, person- responsible, time-bounded actions that serve as the critical success factors of the entire plan.

Step 5: Outcomes

Outcomes, asks the questions: “How can we ensure that now that we have planned our work we will successfully work our plan?”

Success in implementation is a simple, two-step process: First, set the action plans; second do them.

Through these two simple yet vital steps, actual strategic leverage is realised – and the possibility of having quicker and higher business results or having a better top-, middle-, or bottom-line return on investment. There are two very important aspects to the implementation stage, which follow.

1. Chronologically-Ordered Action Plans

2. The Monthly Executive Review Meeting.

A Succinct Definition of Business Planning

A Process

First, business planning is a process, a continuous, closed-looped life cycle perpetuating a healthy, growing entity.  This process is not an end in itself, but continuously sustains the goals and actions that are vital to the success of the Business.

A Vision

It is difficult, risky and ill-advised to establish specific goals without first establishing the organisational context in which those goals will exist and determining the long-term vision of the Business.  By a long-term vision, we mean the overarching, all-encompassing sense of collective identity and direction the entity has.  In the Old Testament, a proverb aptly states that “without a vision, the people perish” or “run wild.”  Therefore, the more lucid the vision, the more clear the context in which the company can set major Business goals-those preeminently important objectives of the Business.

The Goals

With the process in place and the vision identified, the goals that are identified will be major, significant, and specific.  These are the actual Business levers to be pulled synchronously to achieve the desired Business leverage.  These goals are the big opportunities that usually go unaddressed when a company’s leadership is overly focused on day-to-day operations.

The Implementation

The last, and to our mind the most practical, element of business planning is the “how to fulfill” part, which is often forgotten about or overlooked.  Better than average companies set and articulate visions.  Yet stronger companies set and elucidate clear goals.  The best companies fulfill their goals by disciplined implementation.

 What companies have you ever seen that tie specific actions to their visions and goals to fulfill them in operational real-time?  Usually, it is the market and industry leaders, pioneers, and long-term successes that do the implementation job the best.  This then is business planning: the process of determining the long-term vision and goals of a business and how to fulfill them.