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Plan like a multinational: 14 steps to success

Published 25th April 2014 by IIP Scotland

Planning has always been a fundamental part of the work carried out within Investors in People, however we often find that it is not being carried out with the rigour that it should to ensure business success.

Regardless of the type of company that is being operated or the sector it works within, it is always wise to remember the following points when planning for the future:-

1. Set goals

Goals should encompass different variables, including, but not limited to financials. Also think about the time considerations on each of your goals. Are they things that you want to accomplish in a month? A year? Five years?

2. Use perspective

You’re focused on the business becoming a success. Your single minded about achieving your aspirations. Think this sounds like a good recipe for tunnel vision? Bring in others to offer a fresh pair of eyes to look over your plans and offer different perspectives.

3. Acquire the right tools for the job

You will be more than aware of companies such as Facebook or Skyscanner that began in someone’s bedroom or shed, but they still had the requisite materials to do the job that they needed. Ensure that in preparation for growth, you have the correct materials whether this be software for IT or physical materials.

4. Track your progress

Is your company progressing as you would like or is it stalling, or indeed backsliding? By having regular progress updates in which individuals or departments are accountable for their actions, you can rectify problems as soon as they arise.

5. A good leader has the ability to face facts

Sometimes it can be difficult to admit that things are not going as you may have planned. A good leader however, has the ability to say that their plan is not working and find a way to either make it work, or seek the assistance of those that can.

6. Manage your cash flow

It’s as important to plan your financials as everything else. Whether it’s investments, spending on facilities or IT, staffing and overheads, having a plan for your money is imperative.

7. Tell your story on social media by letting leaders loose

It sounds dangerous doesn’t it? Letting the Ops Manager loose on Twitter? The Financial Director penning posts on LinkedIn? The truth is that you know your company has an engaging story to tell. The individuals who make up the business are the ones in the best position to tell that story. This also helps to give the organisation a more human face.

8. Listen to your customers

Your customers will have ideas, feedback, criticism and praise to give, should you simply take the time to listen. Regardless of your position within the company, attend meetings, phone customers and make yourself available for interaction with them.

9. Invest in your people

As Investors in People, you may expect this from us. But regardless of whether you are working with the IIP framework or not, investing in your employees is one of the smartest bits of planning you can do.

Remember the old adage of the conversation between the MD and the FD:

MD: “We should invest in our employees”

FD: “What happens if we invest in them and they leave?”

MD: “What happens if we don’t and they stay?”

Beyond that, investing in people results in enhanced levels of employee motivation and engagement as well as upskilled employees.

10. Become leaner and fitter

 As you plan to meet targets and goals, unburden yourself of anything that is not contributing towards them. Plan your goals and ensure that you are not distracted by other issues. Ultimately this will make your company leaner and fitter and in better shape for the future.

11. Only follow trends with direct business benefits

How many marketing reports have you read this year citing the next great trend that will save thousands/make millions/free up your time? New trends are launched all the time, but ensure that if you decide to utilise one or any of them, that they are directly beneficial for your business and not just because it’s a fad or because the competition is using it.

12. Business success stems from hard work not chance

Don’t plan anything you don’t have the resource for or the strength to fight for.

13. Inject some flexibility into your business plan

Particularly if you are looking some way into the future, it’s wise to be flexible. Things will occur that couldn’t possibly be predicted and markets, as well as your business, will change over time, so ensure that you are flexible enough to deal with change.

14. Are you protected for when you encounter problems or even disaster?

“Hope that the worst never happens but plan as it will”.

Planning is more important today than it ever has been. Success doesn’t just materialise; it is envisioned, then planned, then realised.