A national football team, with many top flight players, struggles to win matches and performs rather poorly. The team doesn’t ‘gel’, with eleven individuals out there, and they are not pushing the idea of a common goal, pardon the pun. The defense thinks it’s the backbone with the hardest task, midfielders think they are the generals who control the game, and the attackers wish the rest of the team would give them more scoring opportunities, but won’t help.
Place that analogy in a business context. The Engineering/Development team think they are the backbone of the company, The Finance department thinks it controls the business, and the Sales and Marketing team wish the rest of the business would support them more. An example of Organizational Silo mentality.
With Enterprise Business Planning, those silos are removed, and proper teamwork and integration comes into play. Let’s take a look at how to implement a strategy to get your business proactive, reduce risk and have a swift response to critical decisions.
Overview of Enterprise Business Planning
EBP brings people, processes and information into a single, integrated platform. The latest company and market data can be accessed simultaneously, and when changes are required, they can be distributed automatically throughout the enterprise, allowing personnel to adapt, respond, and make faster, better decisions. It breaks down organizational silos by allowing everyone to use the same information.
EBP helps to avoid mistakes, by using a central data source, strengthened with machine learning.
- It’s fast. Planning cycles in real time are made possible by integrating people with instant information, according to their needs.
- Changes in the market can be anticipated and acted upon with decisions to broaden the business goals.
- With transparency, planned activities will have clearer accountability, with decisions being better informed, and potential weaknesses highlighted.
- It’s more efficient, as regular, mundane tasks can be automated, using fewer resources.
- It cultivates coordination, by providing a forum where ideas and views are exchanged, and agreement is developed.
- It enables a coordinated implementation of strategic business planning, with performance targets continually monitored, driving the organisation in the right direction.
EBP helps to establish the goals a business hopes to achieve over a defined period. These goals include both financial and strategic targets, such as revenue growth, operating profit, market share and new products. It also helps to secure finance or raise money for a startup.
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The most essential steps of successful business planning
A really good business plan involves marking out the projected costs and potential problems for each decision a company makes. Obviously, business plans differ from company to company, and also differ from startup to well-established. But each of them must have the same ingredients, or elements, in order for the company to move forward.
Outlining the company, this should include the Mission Statement, the leadership, number of employees, operations, and location.
Products and Services
A synopsis of the main products and services, along with any proprietary technology, patents pending and issued, production and manufacturing processes, and any information about research and development.
Competition and Market Analysis
A company needs to know the other players in the industry, and their strengths and weaknesses, in order to capitalize on opportunities and expected customer demand, to gain a share in the market. A thorough understanding of the state of the industry is vital. Customer needs and tastes change, as well as what they are prepared to pay for a particular product in the changing economic market.
Sales and Marketing strategy
This part will describe how to get and keep new customers, how it intends to attract them with advertising and marketing plans, and on which media these plans will project. This will also need to have a clear distribution strategy. Market research is also key to understanding customers.
For established businesses, statements and other financial information will be included here. For startups, there should be targets and estimates for the first couple of years, and for any possible investor to view.
Any good company needs to set a budget for the myriad of expenses involved, including staffing, training, development, maintenance, marketing, and manufacturing/engineering. For a startup, there might be rent and utilities added.
Although an annual planning session for the strategies and budgets for the upcoming year is normal and useful, Enterprise Business Planning is more of a mindset for the continual search for new ways to improve the business and make it more competitive. It should be a daily part of management thinking. The only challenge is for people to be prepared to welcome something that is different, a better choice, than traditional business planning.