While all of the reasons for writing a business plan are usually described as external, such as landing investors or recruiting quality talent – there are plenty of reasons to make an internal business plan as well. Generally, such a plan is there to act as a roadmap for the company’s success; something to remind everyone of the joint vision they are working towards.
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Why make an Internal business plan?
Generally, many large businesses utilise internal business plans to make sure that the overall company vision is not compromised and easily communicated to everyone. That sort of strategic direction is not easy to achieve solely by meetings and memos, especially if sprawling corporate structures are involved. Plus, the information laid out in such ways is always prone to change; which is why business plans are there to provide a more long-term, future-oriented set of values and motives.
Apart from that, as you will see in detail below; internal business plans are less focused on the financial aspect of running a business, at least when everything is functioning correctly in that regard. Instead, such plans are more often used to establish a set of metrics that the staff can use to see how hard they are working. Additionally, they are there to enable better performance management by upper management; ensuring that everyone realised what they need to do for their job performance not to suffer, and precisely what is expected of them in the workplace.
Overall, internal business plans allow for a higher degree of control and coordination among different levels of management and employees. Not only is communication vastly improved by the elimination of superfluous dilemmas; but the staff is also better able to voice their pleasure or concerns about where the company is going in the commercial and cultural sense. Such a plan is as much suited for staff empowerment as it is for better management.
If vision is about imagining and looking forward; your mission is very much about the present, and doing. In other words – you want to focus your mission statement on the practical, everyday actions that company employees can undertake to itch closer to the future forecast of the vision statement. So, make sure to lay out what kind of behaviours and actions must be done for your business to get where you want it to go.
For customer-oriented companies, the mission statement can also contain a succinct description of what the most average target consumer is for the company; something all employees will keep in mind. And then, tackle the public image of your company; what it is currently, what you want it to become, and what everyone needs to do to attain that image. That will bring a unique definition to your business in the eyes of the public, and give everyone a sense of clarity about what kind of collective they’re in.
If you want to bring even more clarity to your business, the only thing you can do is provide more specific desired outcomes for the future of your business. With that in mind, make sure to use your internal business plan to lay out a clear set of objectives for everyone who has access to it. Once you manage that, you will have a perfect guiding light to keep everyone involved headed in the proper direction.
Unlike the broader mission statement, your objectives should be less long-term and much more detail-oriented and specific. For example, you may want to choose a realistic revenue target and a reasonable date for hitting it. Then, think of what all of your employees need to do to manage this. And give them a set of objectives all of them are capable of understanding and working towards. Naturally, these must be in perfect alignment with your mission and vision, for the business plan to give a meaningful structure to your company culture.
Strategies are more general activities that your management must employ to reach the desired objectives. You want to make sure these are spelt out clearly, but they can be pretty broad in terms of scope. Remember – these will act as a bridge between your objectives and the practical actions that must be taken.
If you’re looking for examples, think in terms of detailed quarterly or monthly reviews, and better measurements of certain metrics to reach specific objectives. For example, most of your employees may need to work on revamping the quality control process at all production stages.
Action plans are a part of the internal business plan; usually there to tie in a particular activity from a strategy with your set of objectives. Let’s clear this up a bit. Actions could mean the creation of a new product or a more modern marketing plan. It could also be the process of developing or investing in new systems. That is something you want to plan out annually and with strict deadlines.
Before you round out your internal business plan, there’s one crucial question you need to ask yourself. Namely, is your company capable of doing everything that this plan sets out to do? After all, with so many different management plans that are a part of this overall plan, it may all seem a bit overly ambitious. And while it sometimes just seems a bit confusing until everyone gets more comfortable with it; in many situations, an internal business plan may be too lofty to be realistic.
There’s no shame in making amendments to your internal business plan after it’s been circulated the company. After all, some things may prove to be not feasible after a couple of months. Or, an idea which seemed great to you, in the beginning, is now looking pretty outdated.
On the other hand, you don’t want to throw things out of the plan whenever they prove difficult to do; that’s also a recipe for disaster. Finding that middle ground between following an intricate, but realistic plan, and changing one that’s just not viable – that is something only a truly great manager is capable of.