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Expert opinion: The importance of a plan

Written by Rob Perks on .

Rob PerksRob PerksWhether you are the boss, a director or manager you need to have a plan that identifies what you are going to do, when, who will do it and how you will know if it's working.

Your team members need to know where their efforts ‘fit' into the plan as their ability to achieve their targets will define your and their success or failure.

A good start point is to debate and agree what you are trying to achieve overall (ie. Why everyone is working so hard), this could be your ambition, sometimes called the vision.

You should be able to articulate your vision in a statement that makes sense to you, to colleagues and potentially clients or suppliers if you choose to make it public.

It is a statement of intent that identifies what you want to achieve and importantly, by when. If you don't have a series of dates as stepping stones, you won't be able to monitor if you are on track.

If you only check back in 12 months' time you might be so far off target that you cannot get back.

The next stage can be to develop a commercial plan. The completion of activities that you identify in your plan should move you towards achieving your vision.

Sometimes staff can be putting in great effort but if your people aren't aligned towards interlocking goals then all that effort and goodwill could be going to waste.

The activities in the plan might be split by product or service offer, by market segment or by client type. However you split them those activities can form part of the objectives for the relevant members of your team.

By setting objectives you not only start to form the alignment of effort and activities that will help you towards achieving the vision, you are also creating clarity across the business which helps to answer the ‘what we are doing and where we are going' question.

It is important that your plan is agreed and owned by all relevant senior staff and it should be a live document. Whilst not set in stone, it should be seen as a referral document that is reviewed as the year progresses and is updated in the light of new opportunities, market changes or competitor activity.

A clear, agreed plan will help you to manage the business, communicate goals and challenges to members of staff and monitor progress towards your goals.

Rob Perks is chief executive of Inspire by Wessex Chambers. He is leading a workshop, Creating a Winning Formula for Your Business at The White Horse Enterprise Centre, Trowbridge on Wednesday, May 24. Details on our Events section.