We often wonder why some businesses are so much better than others, even though they sell the same products and services. Why is this the case?
A study of businesses concludes that rather than simply being a little better than their competitors, the top companies are often much more successful. The primary reasons for success, in my professional opinion, are not an accident. The nine key factors that characterize a highly successful company are:
- A strong sense of identity felt throughout the organization
- An openness to change
- Authority diffused broadly throughout the organization
- Ideas evaluated more on their merit than on their origin
- A strong sense of support of the employees for the organization, the organization for its employees, and the employees for each other
- Orientation to achieve, more than to follow, set procedures or rituals
- Open communications throughout the organization: up, down, and across
- Understanding of the organization’s strategic plan, objectives, and values
- Meetings devoted more to problem solving rather than win-lose propositions/decisions
While all of these factors are important, item No. 8 —understanding of the organization’s strategic plan, objectives and values—is particularly timely as we move into budget season. Understanding where your organization wants to go and how it plans to get there is a critical element of designing and achieving your corporate budgets and forecasts.
The end of the financial year is a busy time for most businesses. It is the time that a business will reflect on its performance and perhaps create forecasts and budgets for the coming year. Unfortunately, this self-analysis may be confined purely to the financial side and forecasts will be based on previous growth or a figure plucked from the air, such as a 5 to 10 percent increase.
How many businesses build budgets following the development of strategic plans? The answer is less than 10 percent. Done correctly, the strategic plan can be the most powerful tool you can use to drive the growth of your business and design realistic goals and expectations for the future.
We strongly recommend you begin your planning season with a review of your existing plan and the results of the last 12 months of activities, what worked and what didn't, and which activities were best aligned with your strategic direction and helped drive revenue. Once your plans and budgets are created, make sure they don’t wind up sitting on the shelf. Continual monitoring of your progress throughout the year is essential to success.
Robert S. Olszewski can be reached at Email or 215.441.4600.