Key Components of a Business Plan

As a business coach, one of my essential roles is to assist my clients in determining what the key components of their business plan should be. My experience is that many companies do a poor job of creating their business plans, costing them serious growth in revenue and profits. If you are like most leaders I’ve worked with, your annual business planning process may be broken. Often I find that leaders spend too much time focusing their attention on goals rather than on the components of their plan that will cause them to achieve those goals.

Two indications that you have a problem with your current business plan:

  1. You do not find the need to visit your business plan weekly, monthly and quarterly with your executive team to make sure you are following your plan.
  2. You are not consistently hitting your revenue and profit numbers on a monthly basis.

The Importance of a Business Plan

The main reason to create a business plan is to find the simplest path for your company to produce maximum results. A good plan creates focus, sets priorities, causes alignment throughout your organization, and provides a means for accountability. As a facilitator of hundreds of monthly, quarterly, and annual planning sessions, I have found that most organizations fall well short of achieving these objectives.

Lack of prioritization is, by far, the most common issue I see causing companies not to reach consistent performance. While most leaders like to blame external conditions, it is usually an internal shortcoming. The leadership team fails to say “no” often enough, chooses to chase fires rather than identify and address their real issues, and thus makes their organization work twice as hard to produce less.

The 8 Components of a Business Plan

In order to accomplish focus, prioritization, alignment, and accountability, your business plan must have the following components:

1. Core Values and Purpose

Tell everyone how they must operate (core values) and why you exist (purpose).

2. Sales Strategy

Clarify how you will make money.

3. Competitor Differentiation

Distinguish how you will be different from your competition.

4. Goals and Objectives

Be specific and measurable in terms of goals so everyone knows what success looks like on a monthly basis for the company.

5. Annual Priorites

Identify the 3 to 5 absolutely essential annual priorities – these are the very difficult changes that need to be made in terms of products and services, systems and process, and people so that you can accomplish the above.

6. Company Priorities

Identify the 3 to 5 quarterly company priorities that will drive the annual priorities.

8. Leadership Priorities

Identify the 3 to 5 quarterly personal priorities for every leader that aligns with the company priorities and functional priorities.

7. Action Plan

Create very specific action plans to make the priorities happen.

8. Accountability

Establish a measurement system so that everyone can be held accountable.

Improve Your Business Planning Process

With the business coaching services offered at Activate Group, we can maximize your team’s success and simplify your organizational processes. Contact us for a free consultation to learn how we can help your organization, or check out the testimonials page for stories from other leaders we have coached.

Business Coach, Business Coaching, Business Plan, Business Planning, Leadership, Strategic Plan, Strategy

About Howard M. Shore

Howard M. Shore is a Certified Gazelles Coach, Certified Public Accountant Certified Executive Coach, Certified Behavioral Analyst, Certified Values Analyst, and Certified Attributes Index Analyst. He has earned Bachelor and MBA degrees from Florida International University, and completed advanced executive programs at Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago.