The Importance of Structure in Business Planning

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The first step for writing a planning document for your business is designing the structure
for your plan.

With a clear and coherent structure, the task of planning is much easier. You simply fill in
the content, and Presto! you have a working plan for your business. And the structure can
be reused each time you need to make a change to you plans.

To help you get started, we designed a universal structure that will fit any business, large
or small, at any stage of its growth, from start-up to preparing for sale.

Step 1 – Plan Summary
This is a short document that contains the following information: your unique business
proposition, your purpose, your short-term and long-term goals, as well as the major action
items that will help you accomplish your goals.

Step 2 – Values/Culture
Another short document that identifies and clarifies how you expect everyone in the
company to behave and to exercise judgment when dealing with non-routine challenges
that arise.

Step 3 – Where you are now
In this step we would gather four important pieces of information that explains your current
picture and helps you identify changes going forward: your target market, your products
and services, your partners and alliances, and your competitors.

Step 4 – Departmental Action Plans
A list of 90-day action plans/projects that involves all the company departments: marketing,
sales, operations, human resources, technology, finance, community, etc.

Step 5 – Organization Structure
Two diagrams: your current organization chart, and a future chart that shows the changes
in resources needed to execute on the action plans.

Once you have captured this information on your initial draft, it is easy to review and
update.

We are on a quest to help business leaders be more successful through better planning. If
you like the ideas expressed in this message, please let us know.

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