Plan, Then Execute

February 24, 2015

Business is good or, maybe, not so good. Perhaps, it’s somewhere in the middle just stagnating. When business is not falling into place like you think it should, maybe it’s not what you’re doing that is the problem. Of course, it might also be that whatever you are doing is not what you really should be doing. What’s the answer?

Plan

Businesses plan in a variety of ways or should plan. Obviously, some businesses don’t plan at all. Assuming some planning takes place, it might start with a basic business plan, a strategic plan, or a SWOT analysis (determining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a business).

The planning process should incorporate the internal resources or lack of resources in a business aligned with the business’ goals and answer the question, “How are the goals going to be met?” Some planning might be aimed at accomplishing short-terms goals while others fall into the medium to long-term goal range.

Planning will differ from business to business and will even be different within the same business depending on where the business is in its life cycle and what goals need to be accomplished. This process might involve a number of factors that affect a business…marketing, finance, equipment, technology, facilities, expansion, etc.

The best plan is a written plan with specific steps on how a goal will be accomplished. Step #1: Do this by this date. Step #2: Do this by this date…etc. The various steps should detail specific responsibilities for each person involved.

Execution

While the planning phase is both important and difficult (at times), the execution phase is the “make or break” time. The best plans in the world do no good if not executed properly or not executed at all.

Good plans will detail step-by-step the responsibilities of each individual, but it is up to the owner or management team of a business to ensure that designated tasks are performed on schedule, as required, and measurable. Without scheduled progress reports, it is not possible to gauge if plans are being executed as intended.

Plans rarely entail only one function and one individual but are a series of interrelated functions with various individuals contributing their efforts and talents. The synergy of these functions being performed simultaneously creates positive outcomes.

One Without the Other

So, it is quite evident that plans and execution go together. One cannot work without the other. The best plans lying dormant due to non-execution provide no constructive results for a business. Likewise, making snap decisions and immediate action without proper forethought and planning can lead to negative if not disastrous results.

(1) Operational review, (2) plan, (3) revise, (4) plan again, and (5) execute are essential elements that are major factors contributing to the growth and success of any business. Although a business might be small, it must still plan and execute. There may be fewer individuals involved in a small business, but the process is the same that takes place in a large business. Fundamentals of planning and execution remain unchanged whether a business is small or large.

It is the combination of both appropriate planning and execution that can be the difference between success and failure. Although a business can certainly be successful without planning and execution, the odds of success are much greater for those businesses that understand the importance of the interaction of these two very important business influencers.