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How to Write a Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan

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Welcome back,

Status quo is dead! There is no place for the status quo as we proceed into the competitive business environment of the 21st Century. When it comes to competition there can be no holding your own, if you're not winning then you're loosing - there is no longer a status quo!

If your company is faced with stiff competition, don't miss our lead article on "Strategic Planning and Tactical Execution". Strategic planning is a must do activity for companies faced with tough competition and obstacles that challenge their pursuit of growth and profits. The article focuses on developing relevant tactical plans and achieving total commitment for successful execution.

An important long-term objective of your CKN is to help business teams reach their full performance potential. Make sure your key people get a chance to read the article on "Tips On  Achieving 99.9 Percent Customer Satisfaction".

Don't pass-up sending your key manufacturing and finance people to our two day seminar on Kaizen Based Lean Manufacturing (KBLM). They'll learn why and how our application methodology builds the foundation for MRP, ERP and lean manufacturing success. Next scheduled KBLM Seminar is in San Diego, CA on September 19-20. For an e-brochure, CLICK HERE and enter "SEMINAR" as your email subject.

We suggest that you both print and archive this newsletter for current and future reference. Feel free to make copies and share with colleagues.

This newsletter has reached your desk because we share a common objective -- to help key manufacturing people avoid "burnout" while achieving their full performance potential.


Bill Gaw, President                                                                                   Business Basics, LLC



Featured Articles in This Month's Edition of CKN

1. Strategic Planning and Tactical Execution

2. Tips On Achieving 99.9 Percent Customer Satisfaction

3. Don't Let Travel Sabotage Your Exercise Routine!  

4. Managing Phone Tag

5. Business Anecdotes and Famous Quotes

How to Write a Business Plan for Winners 

I. Strategic Planning and Tactical Execution

Strategic planning is a business process that many companies employ to identify critical success factors that set the course for future growth and profits.

Lewis Carroll in "Alice in Wonderland" makes a good case for it: "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" said Alice. "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. "I don't much care where…," said Alice. "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.

Like most business processes, the key to success is the effective implementation of the plan. Companies that do a good job of developing and executing their strategies can create a competitive edge that provides increased market share and higher gross profit margins. Organizations that turn their plan into a "dust collector" upon an executive bookshelf, will never achieve their full growth and profit potential. 

Most criticism of strategic planning is aimed at the planning process. They question the validity of a plan that has been based on market "guestimates", the questionable valuation of the depth and breadth of competitors and an optimistic assessment of the company's internal strength and weakness. The fact that strategic plans can be overly optimistic is not the core problem. Although the criticism may be appropriate, it puts the focus for improvement on the wrong end of the process - it is the implementation task that is critical to producing positive results and it is here where most companies fail at strategic planning.

Poorly implemented rational, strategic plans will produce limited positive results. On the other hand, overly optimistic strategic plans, effectively implemented, can produce results beyond everyone's expectations. This being the case, what is the key to effective implementation? In one word - commitment!

Companies that are good at strategic planning build commitment to the planning process and to each of the strategies within the plan. They build commitment throughout the organization, working with people from all business functions to build commitment before, during and after development of their strategic plan.

Winners begin early in building a commitment to the strategic plan. Suggestions are encouraged from managers at all levels, from key executives who will participate in the planning sessions, and others who will share responsibility for implementing the resultant strategies. Together, they surface issues that will require changes in business process and/or culture and identify those constraints that will need to be overcome if implementation is to be successful

During planning sessions, key executives from each functional area are all encouraged to participate and contribute to the plan. These executives develop strategies that build on organizational strengths and consider resources required to accomplish those strategies. They assure that a key executive "owns" each strategy and commits to a time schedule for its accomplishment. The key executives give thought to resource planning - realizing that human resources are the key to making positive things happen in difficult, complex business environments - and they commit accordingly.

Following the development of their plan, those responsible for implementations develop their own "tactical plans." These action plans, when coupled with self-directed work teams, are major contributors to a successful Strategic Planning implementation. Teams use their plan to manage, to make decisions and to grow their business. Periodically, they review their "tactical plans" to monitor and report on the progress of implementation - keeping the plan "alive" by revising strategies and tactics when necessary.

Finally, to insure successful implementation of their strategic plan, they work on the planning process itself. The planning group continuously "fine tunes" the planning process to insure that inputs from all business functions are given their due consideration and to insure that buy-in and commitment to the final plan is agreed upon throughout all levels of the organization.

So, why are most operations management teams outside of the strategic planning process? Why do many line managers view strategic planning as a make work project that produces little or zero value to customers? Maybe, it's because they did not participate in its development nor did they buy-into its validity - let alone commit to the execution of its strategic objectives. In short, they're not connected to the process! To achieve a company's full growth and profit potential, CEOs and business owners need to insure the active participation of operation management in the strategic planning process.

Balanced Scorecards can provide focus and performance feedback for strategies and objectives and raise the level of implementation success. Business Basics has recently released our Balanced Scorecard Tutorial to help business teams improve their strategic planning and implementation 
effectiveness. To check it click here--->Performance Management Training

How to Write a Business Plan for Winners 

II. Tips On Achieving 99.9 Percent Customer Satisfaction

What performance standard in customer satisfaction should a winning business set? According to author V. Clayton Sherman, excellent organizations set 95 percent customer satisfaction as a minimum and aim for 99.9 percent satisfaction. Why?

As Sherman writes, "The 95 percent minimum standard is based on the finding that 92 percent is necessary just to stay even; because the dissatisfied 8 percent talk to so many others, at 92 percent satisfaction you are merely staying even with [competitors]. To win, an organization has to be achieving at some point above 92 percent."

What are some ways to improve customer satisfaction?

Sherman recommends the following for both external customers and internal customers (i.e., anyone within your organization who used your services).

  • "Fix the rub points," or points at which a customer interacts with or "rubs against" the system. Examples? A customer's long wait for service or confusion over product assembly, a delay in receiving feedback from another department, or inferior samples given to a technician.
  • "Beware the Questionnaire" which can be read in ways that don't accurately reflect the customer's reality. Sherman notes that our familiarity with routine - or "operational blindness" - can prevent us from seeing freshly as a customer would see us. His solutions? 
  • Role-play the customer and take the time to go through all of the steps required by both an internal and an  external customer using your service.
  • Often, a survey is not required. Simply ask your internal customers, "What can we do to make your job easier?" Ask external customers questions like, "What can we do to make our service better?"
  • Try the "Walk a Mile in My Shoes Program," advises Sherman, where associates and managers rotate time working in other department s to observe interactions and problems from another's point of view.

How to Write a Business Plan for Winners 

III. Don't Let Travel Sabotage Your Exercise Routine!

With little forethought, you can continue exercising even while traveling for work or pleasure. Robert Pritikin, director of the Pritikin Longevity Center, suggest the following: >> Keep exercise clothing - especially shoes - in a separate and handy bad. If you have a long layover at the airport, stay your carry-on luggage in a locker and take a few brisk turns around the concourse. If you are on a long drive, stop at a park or rest stop for a 20-30 minute walk or jog.

  • Bring your favorite light-weight exercise props with you - a headset, exercise tapes or exercise rubber bands, and if you are in shape and able (i.e., no knee problems), pack a jump rope.
  • Use the lunch hour during business meetings for a quick salad followed by a 20-30 minute walk.
  • Call your hotel in advance to ask about their fitness facilities. Do they have a swimming pool? Lifecycles?

Some hotels give their guest passes for a nearby health club. Others provide guests with maps outlining nearby walking or jogging routes. a quick call ahead prepares you to take advantage of what your hotel offers.

How to Write a Business Plan for Winners 

IV. Managing Phone Tag

For every ten times you use the telephone, you will reach the person you wanted only three times, estimates communications consultant Nancy Friedman in Using the telephone More Effectively. With averages like that, it's small wonder the phrase "telephone tag" permeates our conversations.

Here are some tips on making the most out of the seven times you try to reach someone without success, by phone or fax:

  • If you reach a secretary or administrative assistant, find out when to try your call again. This step saves you time and lets others know you are busy, too.
  • If you have to leave a message, make it a specific, but short message, and include the following information:
  • The best time for your party to return your call
  • The points on your agenda, plus any deadlines (i.e., "I need the report by the 4 p.m. Wednesday staff meeting").                                                       
  • Your phone number. If your party receives your voice message while they are out of their office, they may not have your number with them.

As Author Madeline Bodine advises, "Although these skills are basic, don't let their simplicity fool you." They work!

How to Write a Business Plan for Winners 

V. Business Anecdotes and Famous Quotes

Teamwork Champions

The underlying premise of teamwork is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This was true of the Boston Celtics from 1957 to 1969. In those twelve years the basketball franchise won eleven NBA Championships, yet never had a player among the top three scorers in the league. the Celtic's baseball counterpart was the 1949 - 1953 New York Yankees, who won five World Series without ever having a player who led the league in any major batting department.

The Moral? What matters most is not who you work with but how your team works together to make the most of everyone's strengths and opportunities presented!

An emissary from a learned society came to invite naturalist Louis Agassiz to address its members. Agassiz refused on the grounds that lectures of this sort took up too much time that should be devoted to research and writing. The man persisted, saying they were prepared to pay handsomely for the talk. "That's no inducement for me, " Agassiz replied. "I can't afford to waste my time making money."

- - The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes

"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor."

- - Vince Lombardi, American professional football coach

"Quality Leadership emphasizes results by working on methods. Problems are solved, not just covered up. Dr. Deming tells us to give customer's concerns top priority, to study and constantly improve every work process so that the final product or service exceeds customer expectation."

- - Peter R. Scholtes, The Team Handbook

"You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting somewhere."

- - Charles Kettering

How to Write a Business Plan for Winners 

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