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Give your business plan steroids

01 November 2010 Esm? Davies, Celestis

Depending on what you read or who you listen to, indications are that 2011 is unlikely to be an easy ride. However, without doubt there will be ample opportunities for the innovative amongst us and those with the resolve to succeed will do so.

As 2010 winds down, you might take some time to reflect on the year that was and to consider what next year holds in store. Being the start of a new decade, maybe this is the time for developing a longer-term strategy.

More than a facelift

From a television viewpoint, the past decade was probably dominated by Reality TV and in keeping with the trend, we would like to propose that a complete makeover is well worth considering.

Boost your business plan

Start by taking your business plan to a higher level. Identify the strategies that will give you a better than average chance of achieving your vision for the decade. Then set about defining how you and your team will achieve them. Ensure inclusivity. Everyone in the team needs to play some role in the achievement of the practice’s goals and they need to be aware of their responsibilities. Put it all in writing and do what is necessary to gain commitment.

Financial issues

Then it’s time to seriously examine your financial affairs. Is there a focus on profitability or is your business sales driven? What is the relationship between how you operate and your bottom line? Is there sufficient emphasis on efficiency in the practice to enable you to manage the cost of your earnings?

Operations

Take a careful look at your practice from an operational viewpoint. Are you geared to deliver in terms of your goals and intentions? Do you have the appropriate resources – technology, processes and personnel? Are your staff adequately trained and, most important, are they incentivised to focus on the aspects of their work that will lead to the achievement of the practice’s goals?

Client review

Next, review who you are doing business with and how. How much of your business is being derived from clients who fit your ideal client profile? Are your value propositions developed for specific market segments or are you hunting down clients that might fit the proposition? And are your best clients really receiving your best levels of service or are they subsidising the cost of a general service standard applicable to all?

Call on the experts

Conflict of Interest legislation has seen a number of financial advisors steer clear of consultants whose services must now be paid for directly. Yet, this is the time to ensure that you get what you need to capitalise on opportunities. Value for money rather than cost should be your yardstick.

Chris Jones, innovation and strategy consultant at US firm Strategos, notes that starting with a blank white board or paper simply doesn’t work very well, because it’s very difficult to generate novel ideas without any stimulus.

Having your practice consultant attend your business planning session could just provide a fresh, objective viewpoint that makes all the difference.

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