Business Plan vs Strategy
For the past week or so the same topic keeps coming up… folks asking about having a business plan. As if that business plan holds all the answers. IMO, they do not.
A business plan is always a great exercise but again IMO what’s truly useful is a Strategic Brand Plan.
And what’s the difference is usually what is asked next.
First of all, think Micro vs Macro.
Your business plan is the Macro, the big picture version of your business plan.
Your Strategy is the Micro. The exact elements to move the plan into reality.
A business plan is a high level view. For instance: We will sell x amount of widgets per month to reach xx amount of desired metrics. Items such as marketing, budgets for team and other metrics may be identified. You are similar to a drone, flying over to see all yet not close enough to have an effect. To do so, you’d need to connect with something ‘down there’.
Your Brand Plan is much more about the path to those intentions. How will people know about your widgets, what is the UX and other items that would speak to the Micro of getting those widgets out the door and into someone’s hands. Think of your drone now landing where the need is greatest.
When a business is any sort of crises we recommend you look at your Strategy, rather than your Business Plan. UNLESS. Unless you need to alter the Business fundamentally you’ll stick to the Strategy piece. Moving on-line is strategic. Going from making Rum to hand sanitizer is related first to Business then to Strategy.
Your Brand is a consideration here too. What I mean is that we want your Strategy to be aligned with your Brand. What you stand for. Your values. How you get your message out. Your strategic plan is best used when its fresh and tweaked on a consistent basis. Including multiple aspects of your Brand plan is essential as well.
For instance, let’s say that you want to grow your business from $1 million to $5 million dollars. The macro view would look at things like overhead to do so, staffing and support, output of services/products and how to build that out.
When looking from a micro view we’d consider what needs to happen in the next quarter to move towards that goal. Who we’d connect with, market to, then convert to a client.
My clients use this perspective on a quarterly basis. We have for years, and its quite powerful. It gives us the awareness we need to see if we’re staying on course. Once we know where we are, we can course correct in the short term to quickly alter our trajectory. If you sold mostly at shows, that’s gone. If you sold mostly in person, that may be gone too. Now what.
Look at your strategy.
The bottom line is this: You know what you do in your business. Its likely you thought you had a solid plan to getting to your 1-5 year goals. The question is have you revisited your Strategy lately? Because its very likely that this has shifted.
I have friends in the restaurant business who have done great with this … and others who have struggled greatly. Which will you be?
If you’re struggling please reach out. Its possible that I could be quite useful to you.
p.s…For those who wish to explore further, who are ready to design a new map to future possibilities…please let me know… I’m here to help.
Branding Specialist and Strategic Planner, J. Winslow brings decades of solid experience to each project and leader she interacts with. Clients range from non-profits such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, to Madison Avenue Biggies including: Women’s Day Magazine, Cover Girl and Elizabeth Taylor. She also enjoys working with TEDx speakers and students ready to leverage their own brand stories. Learn more here…