Article By: Peter Cruikshanks
A visual approach to business planning for SMEs can deliver a prioritised and focussed business plan that engages the workforce in delivering it. SME’s ranging from a “one-man band” to a venture capital-backed business have used LVT to develop their business plans. Most SME’s do not have a business plan. Yet a plan that provides a clear focus on what is important and is used to engage a workforce in working together can make a real impact.
How Making Thinking Visible Adds Value:
Business planning for SMEs involves understanding the businesses current position, visioning a future state and then working out what is needed to get there. Making that thinking visible adds value by encouraging consensus building and clear prioritising.
Business Planning for SMEs Solutions:
- Introductory meetings
- Executive coaching
- Commission facilitated workshops to develop effective business plans
An IT software company selling its unique product into the public sector led by two directors who knew the sector and engaged IT experts to deliver the product. The business had grown slowly after an initial growth surge yet the market appeared to be ready to buy more of the product so it felt like a time of change was on the horizon.
The issue -The MD accepted that he seemed to spend all his life in the businesses, dealing with every big and small issue that came up. He had to deal with the detail of software specifications and testing, recruit and manage all of the workforce, prepare responses to tenders and generally have a hand in everything that went on in the business. He knew he shouldn’t manage in that style especially as growth seemed to be coming through. He needed a plan for the future and a business structure that allowed him to delegate far more.
The solution – We ran two Vision and Planning workshops for the two directors, each one taking 3 hours. These relatively short sessions allowed them to step back from the day-to-day and think about the future. The second of the sessions was more action-orientated and included the development of an outline business plan for the next three years.
Follow up workshops developed that business plan and a management structure to support the MD. Implementation activities included a business plan event for all the staff and establishing regular management team meetings to allow the MD to share the workload.
The results – A business with a focus and an MD with management support. Turnover grew and new staff joined the business to help take it to the next level of growth. The MD was able to focus on the more strategic aspects of the business because there was a management team to look after most of the day-to-day business.
Peter Cruikshanks is a leading expert in Business planning for SMEs. He has worked in B2B management and leadership roles for more than 20 years. A chartered accountant, he has moved on to lead change programmes, coach business managers, develop new businesses, introduce customer experience programmes and build continuous improvement wherever he operates, and uses LVT as an essential element of the OD toolkit. As a leading business adviser, facilitator and business consultant, Peter’s work is always based on 3 principles: Clarity of Purpose, Work on the business and operate as a team.