It might seem confusing at first – especially when you consider that a strategy is a type of plan – but your business strategy and your business plan are two different things.
In the world of business they can loosely be determined in this way: consider what it is that you want to achieve or even avoid through your SME. Whatever answers you come up with, those objectives are the end result of your business plan.
However, you also need to ask yourself how you’re going to achieve those objectives and the methods you come up with are, in essence, the fundaments of your business strategy. Let’s take a more detailed look at them both and consider the tools you might need to help you to get what you want.
The difference is all
Knowing the difference between your business plan and your business strategy can have a significant impact on the way your company operates. For example, knowing which is which means that you can create a metric to see how the strategy is serving the plan and whether the plan is realistic. There are a number of apps and software packages available to help each category on its way.
Your business plan
As we’ve said, your business plan is an identification of your company’s objectives. In order to put those objectives under the microscope, you’ll have to take a look at all the aspects of the business that are driving it forward to meet those goals. A good business plan will leave no stone unturned; every detail is valuable. From the operations of the marketing team to the front-line staff, you need to know that you have all the pieces of the machine working together.
At the heart of any business plan lurks money. Any SME or entrepreneur will tell you that money management is the key to getting anywhere near what it is you want to achieve. Knowing what’s coming in and what’s going out will tell you what’s available to the business.
Payroll software, such as QuickBooks, is a great way to ensure that you’re on top of the figures at all times, as well as keeping your staff paid on time. One of the chief things to avoid is a hefty fine or inconvenient tax investigation. So in addition to their functionality as a payroll system, some software packages, such as those provided by Intuit, have the capacity to offer Real Time Information, keeping you on the right side of the Law when it comes to filing your tax return. Either of these things could seriously impact on the way your business is operating and bring things to a grinding halt.
Your business strategy
Your business strategy is an identification of the methods your business will use to attract customers, increase sales and, ultimately, achieve its endgame. There can be a number of strategies at work at any one time in a business, such as marketing strategies, customer retention strategies and even staff-training strategies. As the owner of an SME, it’s a good idea to know what’s going on in which department and when.
Bump is a great app, which works on both iPhone and Android. In essence, it allows the user to see everyone else’s business calendar, so you can determine when and how things in their department are progressing. There’s also the facility to share photographs, files and documents between mobile devices, giving instant collaboration – no matter where everyone happens to be.