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  • Writer's picturetheflexiblepa

Let's Make Plans!

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance Now, there are many variants and various claims to be the original source of the 5 P's quote - some more choice than others - but whoever originally scribbled the Five P's knew what they were writing about, and I bet they had an excellent planning strategy.


When you manage a business, planning is essential but what are the four important types of planning in management?


· Operational Planning - How things need to happen

· Strategic Planning - Why things need to happen

· Tactical Planning - What is going to happen

· Contingency Planning - When something unexpected happens or when something needs to be changed


When did you last look at the structure of your business and make plans using the above four types? I can safely put my hands up and say, that until recently, this was a new way of thinking for me! But here’s why looking at these different planning areas can help you to steer your business in the direction you want it to grow in.


Operational Planning


Operational planning is the overall planning for the core purpose of your business, how are you going to deliver your product or service to your customer? Where is that going to be? Perhaps this could be in multiple areas, perhaps it is one venue, or it could even be online. What do you need in this space to deliver your best experience? Water, heating, lighting, electricity? Are you delivering in all the ways you want to and can?


What do you need to deliver your product or service? Do you need to pre-order any items? Is there an order of events that need to take place for customers/clients? Are there any forms required?


Strategic Planning


Strategic planning is about defining the direction you want your business to grow in, making this a goal and creating calculated decisions that determine the actions, resources and timeframe in which you want to achieve this.


This can be, and is in no way limited to:

· Allocating a budget towards marketing to increase sales during a quiet time of the year or calendar event

· Creating team projects for staff and allocating them time to develop or investigate the viability of ideas such as events or new products

· Building a focus team to look at client relations

· Looking at industry opportunities and threats

· Investigating company weaknesses and how to strengthen these


Strategic planning is a process towards achieving a target and usually involves inputs (such as time and money), activities (meetings, research and investigation), outputs (documenting the finds and further building of the plan) and outcomes (realisation of the viability of a goal and unexpected findings).


Tactical Planning


A tactical plan is a written outline of the specific actions you're going to take to address a problem or achieve a goal. It goes hand in hand with Strategic planning and could, for example, list the tasks that you'll do yourself, and the tasks you'll assign to employees. It can include a timeline with short-term targets and helps you keep on track in smaller, achievable steps towards a long-term objective.


Contingency Planning


This area of planning is a little like a risk assessment. Ironically, it’s planning for the unplanned. This could be anything from an unexpected staff absence (for just a day or a much longer period) to an externally produced product coming in faulty and having a knock-on effect to lead times for customers or clients. Who are you going to contact? What is going to help? What is your backup plan?


Thinking about what you need in place for the day-to-day running of your business and how you would cope without an essential element of that is a good place to start.


Why make time for planning?


Making time to plan can help you to evaluate your goals and recognise what it will take to get you there. 2023 is just beginning and now is a great time to do this.


Make sure you start with the big picture – the smaller things to help you get there will then fall into place and highlight the areas you need help/need to focus on.

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