Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

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    Nov 22, 2012
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“Proper planning prevents poor performance.” This mantra was drummed into many of us when we were junior managers. But what does proper planning consist of? Is it in simply having a plan? Well, no, of course not, it's much more than that.

Strategic planning in business is not just about how we get from day to day, It's about where we are going as a business, how we will make our profits in the future, and what we need to do in order to be in a position to make those profits.

The basis of a good plan is a SWOT analysis. The poor hard done by SWOT analysis is the most misused tool in business - bar none. Almost every SWOT analysis you will ever see is wrong, wrong, wrong. That's because people mix up their strengths and opportunities, their weaknesses and their threats. It's simple folks, Strengths and Weaknesses are internal to a company, Opportunities and Threats are external.

For example, a Strength is having an excellent marketing department. A Weakness is having an unreliable production line. An Opportunity is having a growing demand in the marketplace for your category of product. A Threat is a new competitor coming into the marketplace. Once you truly understand how SWOT works, you are in much better shape to make a good strategic plan. Now, you're never going to write a pitiful SWOT analysis again, are you?

Plans don't consist of objectives. “To dominate the world market for toilet tissue holders” is an objective. “To increase production capacity and marketing activity so that by the year 2015 we will obtain 75% of the world market for toilet tissue holders” is the beginning of a plan. Plans need to have numbers and time-lines attached to them or they are just wishful thinking. Even the smallest business mustn't be wooly when it comes to planning.

Plans also have to be based on realism, and they have to be staged.. A mom and pop store is not going to dominate the market for doughnut rings in Illinois right away. But you might be able to dominate the market in your town. And then in Chicago. And then in the whole state. It's all down to great strategic business planning.

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Virginia Montgomery is a stay at home mom who enjoys writing articles for Interesting Articles.

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