A planned approach towards improving each area of your business.

Having been in business for many years it became extremely important to me to have a structured business planning approach to growing my business that ensured business success.

The Business Planning Jigsaw segments your business into manageable chunks therefore making it easier to manage.

It allows you to have a planned approach towards improving each area of your business. It also helps you measure where your current level of expertise and strength is and identifies the areas of the business that may require your full responsibility and areas that may require some outside help and development.

Basically growing a business is about managing and utilising business planning in eight different areas. The eight areas of the business jigsaw are marketing, finance, human resource, client services which includes our products and services, capital, administration, governance and operational and these are developed through the business planning process and are held together by our business plan.

So lets have a look at these one at a time.

Lets start with marketing, and the reason I start with this is because it is marketing that brings customers to our business. Marketing is anything and everything that stands between us and our potential clients. At the end of the day if we are very good at marketing, we will be very good at growing the revenue streams into our business.

Most businesses are built one happy client at a time. Marketing not only expresses our products and services to the target market but it also showcases our products and services so that the client will want to enquire.

We should ensure that through our marketing our clients expectations are exceeded and that they want to not only return to our business themselves but they will refer others willingly to our business because of their positive experience. So, marketing is a specalised area and absolutely critical for business planning and success. It is the fuel that goes into the business to get it flying!

Secondly we look at the financial aspect of the business and I like to split that into two areas. The first area is the proactive approach to finances which is ensuring that the business has good income streams, a healthy cash-flow, defined budgets, targeted ratios and key performance indicators so that we can grow the business from a financial perspective.

The other aspect of finance is focused around expenditure, making sure once again that our ratios are right and making sure that we are profitable on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and we know at any point in time what our profitability is. Finances also covers the critical aspect of our compliance like IRD, GST and PAYE requirements.

The third segment of our businesses is our people, the human resources area of the business.
This once again is a critical factor if we want to grow our business.

For businesses to grow we need to have great people involved in them. All staff should be contributing to the overall health of the business. Good energy helps us gain traction in the market place and unresolved human resource issues slow a business down and tend to suck the life out of business owners.

Making sure we have a robust human resource management program in place, that we are using really good human relationship practices and performance management processes to grow our staff, making sure they are remunerated correctly and that emotionally they feel as if they are supported is critical to our success and the business planning process. We can’t do it on our own!

Client services is the fourth area of the business jigsaw and client services like marketing talks about the interaction between the services that we are offering and our clients. It incorporates customer service, products and services. Client services to me is where we listen to our clients, we use their feedback as text books from which we can learn and we allow our customer and client services feedback to help us grow our business. It is key to the success of our Company.

The next area is Capital Development. This segment ensures that through the business planning process the business is structured in a way where by it has adequate capital to grow and that the growth of the Company is not solely reliant on growing the Company out of cash-flow. Ensuring that you have a replacement program in place for your IT systems, major equipment purchases, building or vehicle purchases is really important. Your capital development segment of your business works in very closely with the financial aspect of your business.  

The administration segment of the business jigsaw is all around the paper work. It is important to make sure all paper work is filled effectively, that you have an efficient administration system so that you can quickly put your hands on anything and at any given point in time and that the Company isn’t top heavy in paperwork but rather that it is efficient and effective.

The next segment of the business is in Governance and Governance. This pertains to the directorship of the business, how the business is being managed from a policy point of view, what rules you have around operating your business and what rules you have around developing the strategic direction of the business. Governance is an area that can significantly and quickly influence the positive performance of a business, especially through the development of effective Advisory Boards.

The operational segment of the business is the day to day running of the business and once again this is where policy and process comes in to play. Making sure that we have high productivity, that the day to day functions of the business are working like a well oiled machine and that we are mitigating any risk management whether it be in production, manufacturing or performance of any sort is a key to our financial success.

These eight areas of the business are held together by the very important document called our annual business plan. The annual business planning process should incorporate the milestones that we want to achieve within our business over the next 12 months. By managing a business using the eight areas of the business planning jigsaw and monitoring them through the business planning process it becomes not only extremely exciting but also much more manageable to develop and grow your business

Business Planning Jigsaw by Pauline Meredith-King