Have a Plan That Works!

"Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.
- Proverbs 15:22 "

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. There is no focus! I often say - if you chase two rabbits, they will both escape.

When I assist businesses (and not-for-profit organizations) these days, I take them through a 4 to 5 hour planning process that asks these questions. From their answers we develop an actionable plan.

Here is the process you can apply:-

Where do you want to be in three years?

Do you want to grow by 10%, 30%, double your size, expand nationally or Internationally, even sell?

I will not accept “I want to stay where I am” - why?

  1. They will soon move backwards and go out of business due to inevitable cost increases and loss of customers.
  2. They will not action the plan anyway.
  3. There will be no momentum, leading to complacency and eventually the organisation will die.

What are the barriers to achieving where you want to be in three years?

When you can list the barriers, then you will be able to start writing actions to address these. Later in this article we will deal with actioning these.

Vision – what is your vision?


"To be the most loved and respected coffee company in the world."
- Gloria Jean’s Coffees

"We desire to create an automobile culture of putting customer first via developing human–centered and environment–friendly technological innovation."
- Hyundai Motor Company

"That every Australian has the opportunity to access trusted Christian media and resources that connect faith to life"
- United Christian Broadcasters Australia

Vision keeps you focussed - both good things and bad things will come along to take you away from where you want to go.

Note: The higher and larger the vision the more creative you need to become to achieving it.

Under Vision set your...

Mission Statement –

This is your statement of purpose it fleshes out the vision and makes it plain.

"We are committed to serving you, our guests, with the consistently highest quality coffee and outstanding personalised service in a vibrant store atmosphere.."
- Gloria Jean’s Coffees

"Our ambition is to provide our customers with the widest range of home improvement products at the lowest prices everyday, backed with the best service."
- Bunnings Warehouse

"UCB is passionately committed to building communities of mature Christians through engaging media and resources"
- United Christian Broadcasters Australia

And your

Values -

The things you want to represent, and what you believe in as a company.

  • Safety and the Environment
  • Integrity
  • High Performance
  • Win-Win Relationships
  • The Courage to Lead Change
  • Respect for Each Other - BHP Billiton

Are any of us going to be perfect in these? No – but it reflects how you want to operate and helps you work towards it.
Tip: Look up other websites for their vision, mission and values statements.

Do your S.W.O.T. Analysis

Strengths               Weaknesses
Opportunities         Threats

Divide an A4 sheet into four quarters. Title each section with the four categories and complete for your organisation- ask valued staff, clients and external friends for input.

Look at your Marketing

Get all examples of the marketing you do now including stationery. Have a look at how your company or brand is looking to the market.

Look at your Structure

Draw up the current structure of your company. Who reports to who? Warehousing, office space, location etc. (as it applies).

Now to the Actions

Draw up a list of actions with the following headings
ITEM          DETAIL          BY WHO?          BY WHEN?

Review all previous headings and the information you have listed under each. What needs to change to achieve the vision set? Brainstorm creative solutions for the obstacles, weaknesses and threats. Assign tasks and dates.

Look at everything

Staff Structure - Training, Reviews, Future employment needs
Warehouse - Stock, Buy Prices
Pricing - Sell Prices
Marketing - All Materials inc. websites and stationery.
Review Costs - Telephones, loans, travel, insurance etc.

  • You may want to get an outside person to help with planning – they can bring out crucial things you might miss.
  • Make sure you are not nominated to do most items on the list. Involve your staff - or employ outside help in specific areas.
  • Some items may involve several steps to achieve.

The Future is Out There!

Once you start actioning your plan, you will start to see focus and momentum. There will be bottom line savings, improved cashflow and many other benefits.

The key to this process is making sure your staff (in business or not-for-profit) buy into the vision. Make sure you employ people who want to be part of the journey, not just do the job.

A business or organisation run with real purpose by people who believe in what they are doing can go places never dreamed possible.

Peter Irvine
Peter is Co-Founder of Gloria Jean’s Coffees, author of "Win In Business", speaker and business consultant.

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