Before turning your mind to specific action plans, we suggest you start this section by making a list of Critical Impediments. This will give you a reference point, and generate some ideas to prime the pump as you begin the important work of developing detailed action plans for each section of the business. Critical Impediments are current critical issues, problems and challenges you feel might impede the accomplishment of your overall goals – what is getting in the way or holding you back?
Action Plans are your “to-do” list. To ensure you create a complete list, we break the business into 8 parts, looking at it from 8 points of view: Marketing, sales, operations/customer service, people, partners/alliances/ influencers, finance and administration, technology, community and the environment.
- Marketing: What do you need to do to build your brand and drive new business opportunities or leads to your company?
- Sales: What do you need to do, differently, or better, or more effectively to turn these leads into contracts, and close more deals?
- Operations and Customer Service: What do you need to do better, and more cost effectively, to improve services and deliver on your promises in the sales contract, and create repeat customers, your customers for life?
- People of your business: How you build talent in your company. This focuses on recruiting, training, coach- ing, and your reward and compensation systems?
- Partners, Alliances, Influencers: What do we need to do to build stronger, more effective relationships with our Partners (suppliers), Alliances and Influencers?
- Finance and Administration: What action steps are needed to improve financial controls, management, information systems, and the administration support services internally?
- Technology: Specific company wide initiatives of constant technology upgrades – what are they, what are your priorities?
- Community Involvement and Environment: A thoughtful, pro-active plan that explains how your company interacts in your “community” and your contribution to the environment.
When you have a plan that moves forward with each of these parts, you avoid a common trap of developing one area of your business at the expense of another – all these parts need to work smoothly together, moving forward, with each section contributing to the company goals.
Note: Most if not all, business activities are contained in these 8 areas. If you have an initiative that does not fit neatly into these categories, we suggest you place it in the area where most of the resources will be available. Eg. Research and development could be listed in either the marketing section or operations. Or a Procurement project could be added to the marketing and sales area.