New year, new outlook: Building a business plan

The new year is a time associated with big resolutions and lofty goals. For entrepreneurs and company leaders, it’s also the perfect time to examine business plans, whether those are strategies for just the year ahead or comprehensive visions for the coming decade. There’s plenty of reasons why investing time in planning is worthwhile – for one, according to the CPA Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey, 36.3% of businesses that grew strongly in 2017 attributed their growth to an improved business strategy. Taking the time to pause, reflect and create an established plan to work from can have a significant impact on private businesses.

So where to start?

The first month of a new year always offers an opportunity to work on a plan but it’s not enough to just do a quick, one-off session. A business plan should be reviewed regularly to ensure the business is on track to achieve its aspirations and to take any corrective action required.

For a lot of business owners, finding that space can be tricky, with many naming a lack of time and resource as their biggest challenge. However, a plan is strongest when it’s fully up to date. Anna Fitzgibbon, Associate Director at Deloitte Private, has experience supporting clients with their strategies, and recommends that a plan is ‘at least addressed once a year’, with ‘the management team taking time to sit down in a meeting and assess their existing vision.' Any less than that and businesses are putting themselves at risk of working in the dark.

When it comes to starting a strategic plan at Deloitte Private, the team support their clients by using the Deloitte GrowthPLUS System, a bespoke tool which sets out a clear map for business owners with the steps they need to take. Our Deloitte Private team helps each business’ leadership team map out their winning aspirations, understand their competitive advantage and assess which markets the business should prioritise.

From that big picture strategic position, the team then work through the value drivers in the business and identify key areas in the business which can benefit from attention. Smart and simple one-page action plans can then be created for these priority areas to drive immediate action in the business.

It’s also worth noting that a plan shouldn’t simply be set on immediate goals but extend further into the future. According to Deloitte Private Associate Director, Avi Chand, ‘part of the development of the strategic plan should include short, medium and long term goals that the organisation is trying to achieve.'

Finally, once a plan is compiled, it shouldn’t be filed away - but reviewed regularly against performance. Great companies execute on their strategy, prioritise their goals and take concrete steps, but shouldn't be afraid to evolve the plan if it's not delivering the expected outcomes. The plan's goals should be communicated internally, giving all employees a clear idea of what they should be working towards.

How can we help?

With Deloitte Private’s experience in guiding SME’s, Fitzgibbon, Chand and their teams can offer all levels of support in strategic planning. As well as guiding them through the GrowthPLUS System, Deloitte Private's work varies from full strategy days, in which business leaders can get the Deloitte Private team's direct support as they build a complete plan from the ground up, to partners acting in an advisory capacity during in-house planning meetings. Consultants can also stress-test business plans, ensuring that everything is aligned and has the best chance of success. If you would like to discuss your own planning aspirations or are interested in getting strategic support, please contact Deloitte Private Lead Bill Hale, at bihale@deloitte.co.nz.

For those based in Auckland, we're hosting an interactive strategy session at our first Deloitte Private Club of the year on 11 February 2019. In this session, you'll set goals for your business in 2019 and together we'll map out a plan for success. If you're interested in attending, find out more about Deloitte Private Club here.

29 January, 2019 by Jen Scouler,

Jen Scouler

Jen Scouler

Jen Scouler works in the Deloitte clients & marketing team across digital content and social media. She also works closely with Deloitte Private.

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