Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What’s the issue? Business planning or just doing?

The recession continues and more and more businesses are failing - failing and being forced out of business, failing enough to have significant losses despite large layoffs and a desperate focus on cost cutting or failing through having little idea of how to turn the business around and keep a meaningful cash flow.

What’s the issue? Is it too much planning or too much action?

Are they failing because they have spent so much time creating the mission, vision, objective, goals and measurements for their strategic business plan that the opportunities have passed them by? Or are they locked in to outdated plans, programs and spending? Or is it more a case of having leadership that is unable to cope with the realities of today’s dynamic marketplace?

On the other hand, is it because they do not have a basic business plan that they are following and are just winging it? In this case, everyone is going full speed, but not in the same direction, no matter what you may think and certainly not toward a specific goal.

Or worse still, is it because they are faced with analysis paralysis and actually doing nothing? This cause a company to seize up and the organization grinds to a halt.

Actually, the failing may be the result of some or all of these elements. Business plans are a MUST for every company. However, they need to be actionable. And they need to be acted upon, adjusted and acted upon again. They shouldn’t be binder thick. In fact, we recommend that they be kept to one or two pages. Otherwise, they are not read, used properly or followed.

What are you doing in your company? If your company is struggling, is it due to over-planning for the business with concentration on the theoretical plan and not taking the appropriate action? Or is it all action and no known overall plan. Clearly, it can’t be an either/or if you are going to survive in today’s economy. It is a reasoned combination of both planning and action.

Do you have a written business plan? Is it simple and understandable to all? Has it been communicated to others?

Are they taking action on it? Are you adapting the plan based on the ever new market feedback? Do your customers know what you are trying to do and the benefit in it for them? Are they supporting your direction?

What are the results and what needs to be changed?

So many companies are focused on cost cutting that they are not generating revenue that is desperately required for cash flow and support and also undermining all future efforts. Now, and when the economy turns, it is going to be the company with the successful plans put into action and market honed that will prosper.

Managing in today’s turbulent times isn’t easy so don’t think you can do this on your own. Get some help from experts who have been there before and can help lead you through the problems.

This can be a time for you and your company to actually prosper but you have to do it smartly.


John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management

View John Maver's profile on LinkedIn

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