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Clear strategy

Published 9th April 2014

Setting out your organisation’s plans and how they are going to be achieved is essential to drive your business forward.

What is it?

A written plan is a simple, clear document that helps keep everyone focused on achieving your organisation’s vision and business objectives. 

Your written plan should be a compelling read that helps people understand where you’re going as an organisation and how you’re going to get there. It needs to be concise, unambiguous and highly relevant to everyone in your team.

Benefits

A strong written plan, shared by everyone in the organisation is a powerful tool:

for employee engagement, to ensure your people understand and share the organisation’s goals
to measure how well you’re doing against your objectives, which will help you monitor and review progress
to focus your communications and as a way to attract new talent, in sales presentations, in tenders, proposals and in meetings with suppliers
for gaining financial support, from partners, bankers or funders

There are three steps to creating your written plan:

Step 1. Develop your content

As a working document – owned by everyone in the organisation – your written plan is a key part of your organisation’s culture. Your team should be involved in putting the plan together as well as in its review.  

Though there’s no set format for a written plan, it’s likely you’ll want to start out by identifying your organisation’s vision and objectives as the basis for the rest of the plan.

Once you have defined your vision and objectives you need to decide on the content of the rest of your plan. Select the headings and sections appropriate for your organisation and build the plan from there.

Follow some simple hints and tips to make your plan effective:

Consider who you are writing it for and what you will use it for. This will affect the information you include, the language you use and the tone in which you write
Make sure it’s focused and jargon-free. Your plan needs to be useful so cut the waffle
If you need supporting documents, they can be included in appendices, but you should keep the plan itself short and uncomplicated

Step 2. Consider your presentation

Your written plan is one of your organisation’s most important documents, so make sure it doesn’t lose its impact by presenting it poorly. How you present your plan will affect how well it engages and inspires your team.

In order to make your written plan a useful tool for everyone in your organisation, it should be visual, simple, practical and useful.

Consider using a visual format instead of simply using text. You could present it as a mind map or enhance your messages with the use of colour and images. It may be worth asking a designer to help you improve the impact of your written plan.

Step 3. Use it

Use it widely and remember it’s a work in progress.

Once you’ve got it right, your plan can be used as the basis for other business documents such as your sales and marketing plans, and in developing your website and communications.

When you have completed your plan, consider how you are going to review your plan.