The Next Step After Planning

September 24, 2018

Business is good or, maybe, not so good. Perhaps, it’s somewhere in the middle and just stagnating. When business is not falling into place like it should, maybe it’s not what is being done but, perhaps, what is not being done. The answer is planning but, also, taking planning one step further.

Planning – The First Step

Businesses plan in a variety of ways. Obviously, some businesses don’t plan at all. Assuming some planning takes place, it might start with a basic business plan, a more detailed strategic plan, or a SWOT analysis highlighting 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 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 the business…marketing, finance, equipment, technology, facilities, expansion, etc.

The best plan is written with specific steps on how certain goals will be accomplished. The various steps should detail specific responsibilities for each person involved, but the process does not end with simple a written plan.

Execution – A Crucial Second Step

While the planning phase is both important and difficult at times, the execution phase is the “make or break” time. The best written business plans are ineffective 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 and accomplished as intended.

Planning rarely involves only one function and one individual but usually is 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 with no execution provides no constructive results for a business. Likewise, making quick and/or uninformed decisions without proper forethought and planning can lead to negative or even disastrous results.

Operational review, planning, revisions, more planning, and finally execution are essential elements that are major factors contributing to the growth and success of any business. Although, there may be fewer individuals involved in a small business or SME, 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.

Success or Failure

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.