Guide: Business Planning

The most logical place to start is by explaining the key “hero documents” your business needs to have as part of the business planning process. Many businesses have a lot of documents and the really key ones become lost in the noise. It’s important to give them accurate and memorable names so that the importance of these is clearly highlighted to the team.

Strategic plan

This is the most important document you will have, and you will create a precursor to this (the Strategic Sketch) at the end of this program. It contains all of the high- level strategy information about where you’re going to play, and how you’re going to win. This is the key hero document most businesses don’t have. Instead, they just carry on trying to do the same things they’ve always done a little better each year.

Business plan

The business plan flows on from the strategic plan but is far more operational in nature. It starts with a reminder of your vision, values and goals, and then gives a high-level summary of the different functional/operational areas of your business and what is needed from each to achieve those goals.

It shouldn’t go into detail otherwise the document will become a monster, will be hard to update, will not get read, and will simply be duplicating the operational plans below it e.g. marketing plan, sales plan. These plans should always be done well before the start of each financial year and gain the sign-off from both the senior management and governance teams.

Individual processes and other documents

This is where the detail goes. Which documents you need will depend on your organisation’s needs but every business should have most of those listed in the examples above.