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Follow five key steps to create and sustain your strategic business plan

Myron Jobson

There are five key components that advisers should keep in mind when it comes to formulating a strategic business plan, according to Steve Billingham.

The first requires advisers to question why their business exists, the director of West Sussex-based Steve Billingham Consulting said.

“Yes I know it’s to make money. But what I’m talking about here is… what does it do for the people it serves – that is, your clients? What is its purpose? Answering this question (which is actually quite difficult) is the starting point for creating a clear strategic plan.”

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Second, advisers should consider their strategy vision, Mr Billingham said. The key questions to consider include how many clients the business will serve, the number of professional and other staff on the payroll, and the level of revenue and profit the company should aim to generate.

The third step is to explore what Mr Billingham calls “critical success factors”.

He said: “What core competencies have helped you to get to where you are today? What new competencies do you need to develop to continue to be successful?

“Remember, what has got you to where you are, may not get you to where you want to be. What are the five key things, that if you execute them really well (and consistently) will make your business hugely successful financially, and from a customer attraction/retention perspective?”

Reviewing operational goals is the fourth key step. Mr Billingham said specific operational goals should be developed in the strategic vision process, adding that the establishment of clear measures would create an effective framework enabling advisers to effectively track progress through the year.

The final step is to identify the key actions or steps to facilitate the effective execution of the business strategy.

“Once your goals are set, you will need to identify your “Big Rocks”: the key actions or steps that need to be taken to execute the strategy effectively. Having a plan is one thing. Executing it is entirely another. Most businesses struggle to fulfil their potential due to their lack of ability to execute effectively.”

He added: “It requires discipline to set the time aside to do what needs to be done and regular reviews to hold everyone accountable for their part in executing the plan.”

Adviser view

Kevin Croker, of Derbyshire-based Crokers Financial Planning, said: “Company heads should regularly review their business statements. They can’t stay the same forever because there are always new challenges that need to be taken into consideration. Targets and goals will change depending on the performance of the previous year.

“We tend to meet to discuss business strategy every quarter, but this is not to say that the plan for the business is changed after every meeting. We explore the areas in which our goals were achieved, why they were achieved and look at ways of ensuring that the same targets will be met. We also explore new ways of increasing revenue and profits, but this is often discussed at our yearly review meeting.”