2019 is here, which makes today the perfect time to think about business goals and where the company should be one year from now. Now that 2018 is finalized, it provides a great opportunity to review those results and develop a plan for 2019.
It’s not uncommon for small business owners to have started without a business plan. Most businesses don’t need a long 20-page document that will gather dust on a shelf. But entrepreneurs should consider putting together a short, one- to two-page concise document that includes the basic components of a typical business plan: mission, vision, strategies and objectives.
A mission statement describes what the company is in business to do. And while some mission statements typically start with, “Our mission is to sell our products and services,” we encourage clients to think bigger than that in terms of how the business wants to be known or how it will impact more than just its customers.
A good mission statement answers three questions: What does your company do? How does your company do it? Why does your company do it?
Here are some examples from well-known companies:
- Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
- TED: Spread ideas.
- Honest Tea: To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.
- Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
A vision statement describes the company’s future position. It’s what it aspires to be. Again, it could be generic, such as “Our vision is to sell more products and services than any other business.” Or it could be more inspiring and uplifting, such as “To be the best restaurant experience in America.” For example, Southwest Air’s Vision Statement is “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.” The key here is the mission drives the vision of your company.
The business strategies support how the company will get from where it is to what is stated in the mission and vision statements. While there may be many ways to accomplish the mission and vision, strategies are the approaches that will be taken to get there. Often this is a particular design idea, a process that is unique to the company, or simply a better way of delivering a product or service to the consumer.
Business strategies may focus on:
- achieving effectiveness
- finding and taking advantage of opportunities
- allocating resources
- positioning your company for success
- identifying challenges and how to overcome them
- directing efforts and behaviors
- identifying strengths and weaknesses
Goals and Objectives
Goals are measurable destinations with a timeline that are created from the business’s strategies. Objectives finally get down to the nitty gritty and state the tactics and action plans needed to be executed to put all of this work into play. Be sure to use the acronym S.M.A.R.T.
(Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) for any goals.
Each of these items can be written out on a few lines, taking up all together no more than a few pages. The benefits of having a concise business plan are many: if a business owner thinks of an idea they want to do, they can check the plan to make sure the idea falls under the organization’s vision, mission and strategies that have been laid out for the year by the leadership team. If it doesn’t, then the business owner will know that their idea would take them off track from their plan. This can easily occur these days thanks to all of the distractions and options available.
Also, entrepreneurs may want to add additional sections to their plan depending on their strategies. If a business owner plans to launch a new product or execute new marketing strategies, they might want to add a market summary section. If the company is going to need additional capital, the business owner might want to have a section on funding options. With business planning, it makes sense to do what’s relevant – nothing more or less.
We, at Lucrum Consulting, wish you the best in 2019, and if we can help you with the financial portion of your business planning, please reach out to us at 704.927.0462.