Over the years I have been posed the question “do business plans work?” from all sorts of people; small business owners, academics, other consultants and business advisers, however there is only one answer that fits all scenarios and the answer is ‘only when they are implemented’.
No matter what size your plan is, whether it’s a business plan or any other kind of plan, (a holiday or moving house) it will only work if implemented. This may sound silly and obvious, however, a high number of my clients have spent money and time putting business plans together and I’m then told they don’t work and yet when exploring the situation I’ve found the reason it “didn’t work” was because no one had thought to actually implement them.
Any business can be improved by simply identifying two or three key areas, setting some simple actions (targets) that need to be undertaken within the business and then following through on these two or three things to make sure they actually happen, resulting in an improvement.
Of course you can have a very complicated business plan and for some of the very large international corporates this could be a plan incorporating a 20 year vision, for example, but for it to work it still has to be implemented.
So my advice is no matter how big or complicated the business is, set up a system to ensure the actions identified in the plan are implemented.
Integrate your plan into your weekly or monthly management meetings so that on a routine basis, either you or your manager’s area being held accountable for implementing the plan.
A business plan will only work if it is implemented. At the end of the day it is not cost or time effective to spend hours/days/weeks putting together a business plan or any other kind of plan if it never gets implemented.