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Sink Your Teeth Into Business Planning

How to hammer out objectives and face your goals head-on

Cue the dramatic Jaws film score. It’s Shark Week!

So soak up as much shark-based programming as you can this week, and after that, catch ABC’s popular reality show Shark Tank for even more cutthroat action! The hit series welcomes entrepreneurs seeking investments for their up-and-coming enterprises. Prospects pitch their business plans to investors in hopes of receiving much-needed funding. Imagine yourself in this position. What would your business plan sound like? Did you know that less than 5% of jewelers have a plan set in place?

The business planning practice is imperative to your store’s success. Often interpreted as a one-time activity never to be revisited, business planning should be an active, living guide. It needs regular re-evaluation, even daily, so it evolves and adapts your goals to changes that come along. Let us walk you through business planning fundamentals to keep things swimming along nicely and away from troubled waters.

“The plan is nothing. Planning is everything.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower Click To Tweet

1. Plan the Attack

Begin your business planning by setting goals. Picture where you aspire to be in a year, two years, or five years and follow the scent. Write down the goals you’d like to achieve within a set period to help cement them for you and your staff. Remember, any size team can create a plan and put objectives into action!

Map out your Key Performance Drivers (KPDs) during business planning. When manipulated, each of these variables will produce a changed outcome, thus enabling you to reach your goals. For example, more store events or increased community connection may yield bountiful results. KPDs are the producers of performance and dictate KPIs for measurable success.

Key Performance Drivers

 

  • Salespeople
  • Operating hours
  • Product location, selection, and presentation
  • Community connection
  • Social Media activity
  • Pricing

Time-based Projects:

  • Marketing campaigns and promotions
  • Software or process implementations

 

Then, each changed Key Performance Driver will yield a quantifiable result. These are KPIs – Key Performance Indicators. These figures help you measure your success and your plan’s effectiveness.

 

Key Performance Indicators

 

  • Financial metrics (sales, gross profit, transactions/hour)
  • Customer count
  • Marketing Return on Investment
  • Foot traffic
  • Wellness/Productivity
  • Inventory

 

Business Planning SMART goals

Create SMART goals

S – Specific

Start by being specific to make certain exactly what you want to happen. Answer the following questions for each goal: who, what, when, where, and why.

M – Measurable

Measuring progress with each goal will make achievement more likely. Manipulate key performance drivers (KPDs) and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure effectiveness. When you reach a goal by the target date, reward yourself and your staff for the achievement.

A – Attainable

Your aim must be attainable. Set goals outside of your comfort zone, yet within your reach to avoid failure. This will require some stretching.

R – Realistic

Creating a solid strategy around achieving your goals will make them much more realistic. Don’t make the goals too easy, as you’ll get bored and lose interest. Challenge yourself. Though it may be a stretch, action will make things happen.

T – Timely

A timeline will help bring goals to fruition. Be sure to make your goals measurable, so you and your staff feel like you can reach them with effort.

 

2. Communicate the Plan

Though this seems simple, it’s one of the more difficult parts of business planning. It’s important to bring your team up to speed and keep everyone involved and on track with your store’s goals.

For each goal you’re working toward, create a RASI.

  • Responsibility – Who is directly responsible for getting this goal done? Who is accountable? Who owns this goal?
  • Authority – Who makes the big decisions and calls the tiebreakers? Who oversees the goal? Who provides authorization if required?
  • Support – Who keeps track of the data and measures KPIs? Who performs subtasks as needed?
  • Inform Who needs to be kept in the loop?

Note that your name can fall under multiple areas. Clearly designated roles and responsibilities eliminate gaps and overlaps while assuring you cover your bases.

 

3. Over-communicate the Plan

Talk things over with your team. Then talk it over again until you’re tired of hearing yourself. Reinforce the plan until it becomes a daily touchstone for your team. That assures your employees fully understand it and keep it in mind and discuss it with other team members. State the who, what, when, where, and why of each goal.

  • Why Why are we going after this? How is this important to the business? Why does this change need to happen?
  • What – What exactly is the goal? What are the KPIs and KPDs? Be specific and transparent with your team.
  • When – What’s the timeline? What are the due dates? When do we need this to happen and why is this particular timeframe important.
  • Where Where does it take place? On social media, over the phone, in your store, or a combination of all 3?
  • Who – Use your RASI to explain the role that each person plays in the plan.

Above all, don’t just say, “This is what I need, and this is when I want it,” and then disconnect yourself from the project. This puts pressure on your team and undercuts ownership of the plan. Business planning becomes much more effective when all team members have a stake in the store’s direction. If you include them in the planning process, you won’t have to convince them of the plan because they’ve been a part of it all along.

Keep everyone involved. The team needs to be a part of the plan instead of apart from the plan. Click To Tweet

4. Evaluate Effectiveness

Here at Stuller, we run on a calendar year. We begin initial 2018 planning in August-September. Why start so soon? Because we need to get everything hashed out well before January. Start with initial planning, then refine your plan, communicate the plan to your company and then evaluate your progress consistently throughout the year.

Be Transparent

Conduct scheduled reviews of your business plan to evaluate its success and tweak accordingly. Here are our suggestions:

  • Weekly Business Review – Once a week focus on correcting things that affect customers to provide outstanding service.
  • Monthly Business Review Once a month spend time on the overall plan and make small adjustments accordingly.
  • Quarterly Business Review Evaluate data from the quarterly financials and ROI and determine major adjustments that need to be implemented.

 


So there you have it. Business planning basics to keep you armed to the teeth and out of the jaws of death. How does your business plan measure up? Let us know in the comments below!

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