Milsted Langdon already offers its clients the full range of accountancy and associated services and we are now also able to provide our clients with access to Mindshop, the global provider of strategic and personal development solutions for business leaders. Mindshop is regarded by practitioners in many fields as ‘the professional service advisors’ professional service advisor’.
General Practice Partner Ian Lloyd is an Accredited Mindshop Facilitator based at Milsted Langdon’s Bath office. This supplementary role enables him to provide additional assistance to companies seeking to develop strategic plans to help improve growth, profitability and business development.
Mindshop urges all businesses, regardless of size and sector, to apply the Now-Where-How analysis to identify sure ways to enable them to provide continuous improvement.
Milsted Langdon invites you to consider what the analysis can do for you and your business:
The Now-Where-How analysis will let you ascertain:
- your current business position (NOW)
- the place you want it to be, your vision (WHERE)
- the methods you intend to use to get there (HOW).
The NOW analysis allows your business’s starting point to be identified. It sets the initial benchmark against which progress and performance will be measured.
Issues for examination in a NOW analysis are: where are you NOW on critical matters such as sales, customers, products, staffing, training and development, workload, financing, and cash flow?
This exercise will inevitably create a wish-list of desires and objectives that will highlight existing barriers to forward movement.
Businesses that first wave the Magic Wand over their operations often find it difficult to resist taking immediate drastic action to remedy problems they identify due to the high visibility of the perceived cause within their structures. This is not always the right step to take. There are frequently underlying mitigating factors that merit investigation to ascertain their actual impact on the business.
This is why it is essential to undertake the …….
The WHERE analysis relates to deciding a business’s future performance outcomes, outputs and results, establishing a vision statement, removing barriers and developing a sustainable competitive advantage strategy to realise them and performance monitoring processes.
You need to decide where you want to be in the FUTURE on the NOW issues you’ve identified.
Now you know the place you want your business to be, you need to move on to the most important element …….
The HOW analysis deals with the drivers and enablers of business performance.
- You need to produce strategies that will bridge the gap between the NOW and the WHERE
- Specific action plans will be generated from these strategies and create the means to translate plans into deeds
- The timing of, and responsibility for, execution of all actions must be always be recorded.
Business plans – before and after
Traditional business plans are lengthy, complex and all-encompassing documents that often require vast amounts of time to write – and often difficult to read.
Most professionals are only interested in seeing the part of a business plan that relates to their area of expertise: colleagues will deal with everything else, and paths will cross whenever necessary in accordance with the overall process mapping.
This business plan formulation method can work. But it is not always reliable. Most traditional business plans are often unwieldy, impenetrable and unlikely to hold interest for any length of time. They also contain historical detail, including plans that have never come to fruition, but which have not been removed, reviewed or refreshed and therefore stand as records of unachieved targets.
A traditional complex business plan might appear impressive on paper, but much of it will not be worth the paper it is written on, as it is not – and never can be – responsive to modern, rapidly changing business environments.
Relevant, topical information about a business’ current and future place and positioning in its field is the first item potential investors and clients will want to see: if they don’t, they won’t look further – but will look elsewhere.
This is the reason many modern businesses, especially SMEs, are moving away from longer term business planning to embrace a faster pace of change in markets, clients and communication methods; some overhaul their business plans every six months to stay ahead of their rivals.
This paradigm shift is changing professional approaches to business practices, and market contenders in every field need to be capable of adapting to take account of the changes to their market places and competitors’ approaches to winning clients and work.
Business plans now need to be proactive, reactive – and instantly adaptable. This is why it is vital to consider adopting an alternative – or companion – to the traditional business plan.
Mindshop has developed the concept of a One Page Business Plan – a quick-to-create, practical product of the Now-Where-How analysis – which will allow any business of any size in any sector to create, maintain and adapt a presentable, informative document that is immediately accessible to any party whose input or support is required to assist management, planning, financing and development.
Below is a sample One Page Business Plan created using the Mindshop Now-Where-How tool:
The STRATEGIES and ACTION PLANS are the HOW element of the One Page Plan that move a business from NOW to WHERE
WITHOUT THE ‘HOW’, YOUR BUSINESS CAN’T GO FROM ‘NOW’ TO ‘WHERE’.
THIS MEANS IT MAY WELL END UP GOING NOWHERE…..
One Page Plan administration
It is essential that the original OPP production date is recorded and that a review is undertaken at least once every eight weeks.
It is usually only the Action Plans that will need changing on an OPP review – and this is usually because the ‘To Do’ list will no longer be outstanding due to ongoing successful implementation of an uncluttered, clearly mapped OPP.
Essential supporting data (for example, a market analysis or financial projections) can easily be attached to an OPP. Such data will need to be similarly comprehensible and digestible to complement the OPP.
The advantages of a One Page Business Plan:
- it encourages immediate focus on your most vital business functions
- it only takes minutes to prepare and can be updated as quickly because review and revision are of fundamental issues
- it is a manageable and flexible control document for your business improvement process
- it is simple and easy to understand – so it is accessible to peers, colleagues, stakeholders, employees, financiers, strategic partners – and you!
The One Page Plan concept can be applied to a whole business, or to all, or any, of its separate elements.
A personal OPP can also be created for an individual and One Page Team Plans can be swiftly produced – especially if the team participates.
However, the best outcomes for all commercial concerns are likely to result from production of a One Page Plan that can cover every element of the business and all its personnel. This will ensure consistency in form and function – and will prove that your Now-Where-How Analysis has been completely effective.
If you would like to know more about how Milsted Langdon can help you to use traditional and modern methods to create a clear business vision and positive strategies that lead to achievement of your goals, please contact Ian Lloyd. He will also be able to advise on all aspects of strategic business funding.