‘In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.’ Dwight D Eisenhower This might seem like a strange quote for a planning site, but it makes an important point. Often the planning process is more valuable than the plan. Whatever plan you have, as soon as you start to take action – whether it’s a business launch, a new market entry, restructuring (or a battle) – things happen – events. We’ve all encountered the situation where a carefully prepared business, marketing or communications plan runs into unexpected obstacles as soon as it’s applied. Competitors may react unpredictably, economicRead More →

Brand strategy

And yes, brand strategy is that simple. ‘A’ is where you are now and ‘B’ is where you want your brand to be – your brand objective. The bit in between is not strategy, it’s the tactics you use to reach your objective. Okay, the concept is simple but I admit that planning and applying it requires a lot of application. Knowing where you are may not be as straightforward as it seems. You need to be objective and step ‘outside the brand’ for a while. There may be a good deal of research and assessment to understand where you are – and where yourRead More →

Download the free decision framework PDF

Entering an export market may seem complex and scary, but it is a straightforward process so long as you identify the key decisions to be made and the order you need to make them. We have created a chart to guide you through the process. It outlines the framework and looks at the main steps and milestones you need to consider. It is not exhaustive and only deals with the fundamental decisions such as selecting a market, choosing a route to market and considering the marketing mix. Think of it as a basic route map to get from A to B, then you can putRead More →

Strategy versus tactics

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between strategy and tactics, and it is important for anybody involved in business planning to be clear about them. Strategy is about the identification of the overall business objective and the route or plan to get there. Tactics are concerned with the steps and actions necessary to carry out the plan. All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved. Sun Tzu A strategy document should not be a huge tome, in fact it can often be summarised in a single page.Read More →

It’s the new year and many of us will be creating new plans or reviewing our current ones. The year ahead still looks very uncertain so how do we plan in these unstable conditions. The key is flexibility: but then you may well ask, “How do we plan for flexibility?” The answer is to concentrate on strategic issues, but leave your tactics flexible. Lets look at an analogy: Suppose you are going for a walk, from A to B: you know where you are starting from (A) and you know where your objective is (B). But you don’t walk in a straight line (the redRead More →

Everyone is busy, and simply finding time for networking is difficult enough without having to plan it – but if we don’t plan, then that valuable time may be wasted. Try not to be reactive. Look at all the possible networking opportunities and make some serious decisions about which are likely to deliver contacts of interest or are likely to enhance your exposure to the right audience. Then plan those out over a workable timescale.Don’t try to do every available event – you won’t get the most out of them if they are chores. Do diary them and don’t just slot them in when youRead More →

“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is” Yogi Berra. Thank you to Chrissie Lightfoot for that one.Read More →

The flippant answer is, “As much as possible”, of course, but small and medium business owners and entrepreneurs are, by nature, action people. They want to get on and run their businesses. So, although they recognise the importance of planning, their time and patience is limited. Well, the good news is that you only really need one plan – the business plan or strategy. Everything else is just a branch of that plan. The most important thing about that plan is setting a clear objective. Once you have that goal agreed and you know where you want your business to be in say, two orRead More →