So you want to be a manager – here’s what you need to know about Management as a discipline, the four Management functions, its purpose and practise
We took a look behind the scenes at some of the most important aspects of what managers and aspiring managers need to know about management as a whole and crafted our thoughts into a single page resource to include our top key topics that will enlighten and guide you.
5.Strategic management and organisational goals and understanding the key concepts
6. Strategic plans and the implementation process
Management is a systematic way of doing things
When introducing the four basic functions of management keep in mind that the management process is a systematic way of doing things.
All managers, irrespective of their aptitude or level of skill, engage in certain inter-related functions in order to achieve their desired goals.
All managers carry out the main functions of management; planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling. But depending on the skills and position on an organizational level, the time and labour spent on each function will differ.
In a nutshell the four basic management functions involve:
- Planning and Decision Making – determining courses of action
- Organizing – Co-ordination of activities and resources
- Leading – Managing and motivating people
- Controlling – Monitoring and evaluating activities
The diagram below illustrates the inter-related functions of the management process.
Planning and Decision Making – Determining Courses of Action
The planning and decision making function involves looking ahead into the future and predicting possible trends or occurrences which are likely to influence the working situation is possibly one of the most critical skills a manager can possess.
Planning means setting goals
Planning means setting the goals of the organization and deciding how best to go about achieving these goals. Planning involves decision making around the goals to be set and the future course of action to be taken from a given set of alternatives so as to effectively reach these goals.
Planning ensures management effectiveness
The planning phase ensures management effectiveness since it serves to guide the future activities of the business. Essentially, the important elements include selecting appropriate goals and the paths to be taken to effectively achieve these goals.
For a manager, planning and decision-making require an ability to foresee, to visualize, and to look ahead purposefully.
Organizing – Co-ordinating Activities and Resources
Organizing can be defined as the process by which the established plans are moved closer to being realised.
Once a manager has set goals and developed appropriate plans as a means to achieve them the next managerial task involves organizing human and other resources that are identified as necessary by the plan to reach the said goals and objectives.
Organizing involves determining how activities and resources are to be assembled and coordinated
Organizing produces a structure of relationships in an organization and it is through these structured relationships that future plans are pursued.
It is intentional in the sense of making sure that all the tasks necessary to accomplish goals are assigned to people who are best suited to achieving these tasks. The purpose of an organization structure is to create an environment for optimal human performance.
The structure should define the tasks to be completed. The rules as established must also be designed in the light of the abilities and motivations of the people available.
This can be achieved by determining the positions to be filled, identifying the requirement of manpower, filling the vacancies and training employees so that the assigned tasks are accomplished effectively and efficiently.
The managerial functions of promotion, demotion, discharge, dismissal, transfer, and so forth are also included within the broad task of “staffing.” Staffing ensures the placement of the right person in the right position.
Organizing involves deciding where decisions will be made, who will do what jobs and tasks, who will work for whom, and how resources will be assembled.
Leading – Managing and Motivating People
The third essential managerial function is leading. The skills attributed to influencing people for a particular purpose or reason are aptly termed as ‘leading’. Leading is considered to be the most important and challenging of all managerial activities.
Leading is influencing or prompting members of an organization to work together with the interests of the organization at the core of activities.
Creating a positive attitude
Creating a positive attitude towards the work and goals to be achieved among the members of the organization also falls within the scope of the function of ‘leading’, it is an essential requirement as it helps to instil the objective of effectiveness and efficiency by changing the behavior of employees to meet the business objectives of the organisation.
The functions of direction, motivation, communication, and coordination are considered as part of the leading process or system.
The importance of co-ordinating
Coordinating is also essential with respect to the task of leading. Co-ordinating is regarded as the essence of good management for achieving harmony among individual efforts in pursuit of the accomplishment of designated group targets.
Motivating is an essential quality of good leadership. Motivating is the function of the management process that deals with influencing people’s behavior based on the knowledge of what causes and channels sustain human behavior in a particularly committed direction. Efficient managers need to be effective leaders.
Since leadership implies fellowship and people tend to follow those who offer a means of satisfying their own needs, hopes and aspirations it is understandable that leading involves motivation leadership styles and approaches as well as good communication skills.
Controlling – Monitoring and Evaluating Activities
Monitoring the organizational progress toward goal fulfillment is the management function known as ‘controlling’. Monitoring progress is essential to ensuring the achievement of organizational goals.
Controlling involves measuring, comparing, finding deviation and correcting the organizational activities which are performed in respect of achieving the goals or objectives of the organisation.
Control activities generally related to the measurement of achievement of results
Controlling consists of activities such as measuring performance, comparing with the existing standard and finding the deviations, and correcting the deviations. Control activities generally relate to the measurement of achievement or results of actions which were taken to attain the goals in question.
Certain means of controlling, such as the budget for expenses, inspection records, and the record of labour hours lost, are generally familiar. Each measure also shows whether plans are working out or whether they need to be revised.
If deviations persist, correction is indicated. Whenever results are found to differ from the planned action, the individuals responsible are identified and necessary actions are taken to improve performance.
Thus, outcomes are controlled by controlling what people do. Controlling is the last but not the least important management function process.
It is rightly said, “planning without controlling is useless”. In short, we can say that controlling enables the accomplishment of the plan.
All management functions are inter-related and cannot be skipped. The management process designs and maintains an environment in which people working together in groups, accomplish efficiently selected aims and objectives.
Most managers today recognise the importance of history. Knowing the origins of their organisation and the kinds of practices that have led to success or failure can be an indispensable tool to managing the contemporary organisation. Thus, in this section we trace the history of management thought. Then we move forward to the present day by introducing contemporary management issues and challenges.
The importance of theory and history
Some people question the value of history and theory. Their arguments are usually based on the assumption that history has no relevance to contemporary society and that theory is abstract and of no practical use. In reality, however, both theory and history are important to all managers today. A theory is simply a conceptual framework for organising knowledge and providing a blueprint for action. While some theories seem abstract and irrelevant, others appear very simple and practical. Management theories, used to build organisations and guide them toward their goals, are grounded in reality. In addition, most managers develop and refine their own theories of how they should run their organisations and manage the behaviour of their employees.
An awareness and understanding of important historical developments are also essential to contemporary managers. Understanding the historical context of management provides a sense of heritage and can help managers avoid the mistakes of others.
The historical context of management
The practice of management can be traced back thousands of years. The Egyptians used the management functions of planning, organising, and controlling when they constructed the great pyramids. Alexander the Great employed a staff organisation to co-ordinate activities during his military campaigns. The Roman Empire developed a well-defined organisational structure that greatly facilitated communication and control. In spite of this history, however, management per se was not given serious attention until the nineteenth century.
Two of its first true pioneers were Robert Owen (1771-1858) and Charles Babbage (1792-1871). Owen, a British industrialist and reformer, was one of the first managers to recognise the importance of an organisation’s human resources and the welfare of workers. Charles Babbage, an English mathematician, focused his attention on efficiencies of production. He placed great faith in division of labour and advocated the application of mathematics to problems such as the efficient use of facilities and materials.
The classical management perspective
At the dawn of the twentieth century, the preliminary ideas and writings of these and other managers and theorists converged with the emergence and evolution of largescale businesses and management practices to create interest and focus attention on how businesses should be operated. The first important ideas to emerge are now called the classical management perspective. This perspective actually includes two different viewpoints: scientific management and administrative management.
Productivity emerged as a serious business problem during the first few years of this century. Business was expanding and capital was readily available, but labour was in short supply. Hence, managers began to search for ways to use existing labour more efficiently. In response to this need, experts began to focus on ways to improve the performance of individual workers. Their work led to the development of scientific management. Some of the earliest advocates of scientific management included Frederick W Taylor (1856-1915), Frank Gilbreth (1868-1924), and Lillian Gilbreth (1878- 1972). One of Taylor’s first jobs was as a foreman at the Midvale Steel Company in Philadelphia. It was there that he observed what he called soldiering-employees deliberately working at a pace slower than their capabilities. Taylor studied and timed each element of the steelworkers’ jobs. He determined what each worker should be producing, and then he designed the most efficient way of doing each part of the overall task. Next, he implemented a piecework pay system. Rather than paying all employees the same wage, he began increasing the pay of each worker who met and exceeded the target level of output set for his or her job.
Whereas scientific management deals with the jobs of individual employees, administrative management focuses on managing the total organisation. The primary contributors to administrative management were Henri Fayol (1841-1925), Lyndall Urwick (1891-1983), and Max Weber (1864-1920). Henri Fayol was administrative management’s most articulate spokesperson. A French industrialist, Fayol was unknown to U.S. managers and scholars until his most important work, General and Industrial Management, was trans lated into English in 1930. Drawing on his own managerial experience, he attempted to systematise the practice of management to provide guidance and direction to other managers. Fayol also was the first to identify the specific managerial functions of planning, organising, leading, and controlling. He believed that these functions accurately reflect the core of the management process.
Most contemporary management books (including this one) still use this framework, and practicing managers agree that these functions are a critical part of a manager’s job. After a career as a British army officer, Lyndall Urwick became a noted management theorist and consultant. He integrated scientific management with the work of Fayol and other administrative management theorists. He also advanced modern thinking about the functions of planning, organizing, and controlling. Like Fayol, Urwick developed a list of guidelines for improving managerial effectiveness. Urwick is noted not so much for his own contributions as for his synthesis and integration of the work of others. Although Max Weber lived and worked at the same time as Fayol and Taylor, his contributions were not recognised until some years had passed. Weber was a German sociologist, and his most important work was not translated into English until 1947.18 Weber’s work on bureaucracy laid the foundation for contemporary organisation theory.
Given the complexity inherent in the job of a manager a reasonable question to be asked is whether management is a science or an art. In fact, effective management is a blend of both science and art in its application. And successful executives recognise and value the importance of combining both the science and the art of management as they practice their craft.
The Science of Management
Many management problems and issues can be approached in ways that are rational, logically thought out , objective, and systematic. Managers can gather data, facts and objective information. They can use quantitative models and decision-making techniques to arrive at “correct” decisions.
They also need to take a decidedly scientific approach to solving problems whenever possible, especially when they are dealing with relatively routine and straightforward issues. For example, when the multinational, Starbucks, considers entering a new market, its managers look closely at a wide variety of objective details as they formulate their plans. Technical, diagnostic, and decision-making skills are especially important when practicing the science of management.
The Art of Management
Even though managers may try to be as scientific as possible, they often need to make decisions and solve problems on the basis of intuition, experience, instinct as well as personal insights. By relying heavily on conceptual, communication, interpersonal, and time management skills, for example, a manager may have to decide between multiple courses of action that look equally attractive. In many cases even “objective facts” may prove to be wrong. When Starbucks was planning its first store in New York, market research clearly showed that New Yorkers preferred drip coffee to more exotic espresso-style coffees. After first installing more drip coffee makers and fewer espresso makers than in their other stores, managers had to backtrack when the New Yorkers lined up clamouring for espresso. Starbucks now introduces a standard menu and layout in all its stores, regardless of presumed market differences, and makes necessary adjustments later down the line. Thus, managers must blend an element of intuition and personal insight with hard data and objective facts.
To carry out these management functions properly, managers rely on a number of specific skills. The most important management skills are technical, interpersonal, conceptual, diagnostic, communication, decision-making, and time-management skills.
Technical skills are the skills necessary to accomplish or understand the specific kind of work being done in an organisation. Technical skills are especially important for first-line managers. These managers spend much of their time training subordinates and answering questions about work-related problems. First-line managers must know how to perform the tasks assigned to those they supervise if they are to be effective managers.
Managers spend a considerable amount of time interacting with people both inside and outside the organisation. Therefore, for obvious reasons, managers also need interpersonal skills, and the ability to communicate with, understand, and motivate individuals and groups. As a manager climbs the organisational ladder, he or she must be able to get along with subordinates and peers, as well as those at higher levels of the organisation. Because of the multitude of roles managers must attend to they must also be able to work withsuppliers, customers, investors and others outside of the organisation.
Conceptual skills depend on the manager’s ability to think in the abstract. Managers need the mental capacity to understand the overall workings of the organisation and its environment, to grasp how all the parts of the organization fit together, and to view the organisation in a holistic manner. These skills enable them to think strategically, to see the bigger picture and to make broad-based decisions that serve the organisation overall.
Successful managers also possess diagnostic skills, or skills that enable them to visualise the most appropriate response to a situation. A physician diagnoses a patient’s illness by analysing symptoms and determining their probable cause. Similarly, a manager can diagnose and analyse a problem in the organisation by studying its symptoms and then developing a solution.
Communication skills refer to the manager’s ability to both effectively convey ideas and information to others and effectively receive ideas and information from others. These skills enable a manager to transmit ideas to subordinates so that they know what is expected of them, to coordinate work with peers and colleagues so that they work well together and to keep higher-level managers informed about what is going on. In addition, communication skills help the manager listen to what others say and to understand the real meaning behind e-mails, letters, reports and other written communication.
Effective managers also have good decision-making skills. Decision-making skills refer to the manager’s ability to correctly recognise and define problems and opportunities and to then select an appropriate course of action to solve problems and capitalise on opportunities. No manager makes the right decision all the time. However, effective managers make good decisions most of the time. And when they do make a bad decision, they usually recognise their mistake quickly and then make good decisions to recover with as little cost or damage to their organisation as possible.
Finally, effective managers usually have good time-management skills. Time management skills refer to the manager’s ability to prioritise work, to work efficiently and to delegate appropriately. As already noted, managers face many different pressures and challenges. It is easy for a manager to get bogged down doing work that can easily be postponed or delegated to others. When this happens, unfortunately, more pressing and higher-priority work may get neglected. BOTI’s management training courses, business short courses and leadership classes offer you the opportunity to expand your management skills in all disciplines.
4. Management Perspectives
Assessment of the Classical Perspective
The classical perspective served to focus serious attention on the importance of effective management and helped pave the way for later theories and approaches. Many of the concepts developed during this era, such as job specialisation, time and motion studies and scientific methods are still in use. On the other hand, these early theorists often took an overly simplistic view of management and failed to understand the human element of organisations.
The Behavioural Management Perspective
Early advocates of the classical management perspective essentially viewed organisations and jobs from a mechanistic point of view – that is, they essentially sought to conceptualise organisations as machines and workers as cogs within those machines. Even though many early writers recognised the role of individuals, these management pioneers tended to focus on how managers could control and standardise the behaviour of their employees. In contrast, the behavioural management perspective placed much more emphasis on individual attitudes and behaviours.
The behavioural management perspective was stimulated by a number of writers and theoretical movements. One of those movements was industrial psychology, the practice of applying psychological concepts to industrial settings. Hugo Munsterberg (1863-1916), a noted German psychologist, is recognised as the father of industrial psychology. He suggested that psychologists could make valuable contributions to managers in the areas of employee selection and motivation. Industrial psychology is still a major course of study at many colleges and universities. Another early advocate of the behavioural approach to management was Mary Parker Follett. Follett worked during the scientific management era, but quickly came to recognise the human element in the workplace. Indeed, her work clearly anticipated the behavioural management perspective, and she appreciated the need to understand the role of human behaviour in organisations. Her specific interests were in adult education and vocational guidance. Follett believed that organisations should become more democratic in accommodating employees and managers.
The Hawthorne Studies
Although Munsterberg and Follett made major contributions to the development of the behavioural approach to management, its primary catalyst was a series of studies conducted near Chicago at Western Electric’s Hawthorne plant between 1927 and 1932.
The research, originally sponsored by General Electric, was conducted by Elton Mayo and his associates. The first study involved manipulating illumination for one group of workers and comparing their subsequent productivity with the productivity. of another group whose illumination was not changed. Surprisingly, when illumination was increased for the experimental group, productivity went up in both groups. Productivity continued to increase in both groups, even when the lighting for the experimental group was decreased. Not until the lighting was reduced to the level of moonlight did productivity begin to decline (and General Electric withdrew its sponsorship). Another experiment established a piecework incentive pay plan for a group of nine men assembling terminal banks for telephone exchanges. Scientific management would have predicted that each man would try to maximize his pay by producing as many units as possible. Mayo and his associates, however, found that the group itself informally established an acceptable level of output for its members. Workers who over produced were branded “rate busters,” and under producers were labeled “chiselers.” To be accepted by the group, workers produced at the accepted level. As they approached this acceptable level of output, workers slacked off to avoid overproducing.
Other studies, including an interview program involving several thousand workers, led Mayo and his associates to conclude that human behaviour was much more important in the workplace than researchers had previously believed. In the lighting experiment, for example, the results were attributed to the fact that both groups received special attention and sympathetic supervision for perhaps the first time. The incentive pay plans did not work in determining output because wage incentives were less important to the individual workers than was social acceptance. In short, individual and social processes played a major role in shaping worker attitudes and behaviour.
The human relations movement, which grew from the Hawthorne studies and was a popular approach to management for many years, proposed that workers respond primarily to the social context of the workplace, including social conditioning, group norms, and interpersonal dynamics. A basic assumption of the human relations movement was that the manager’s concern for workers would lead to their increased satisfaction, which would in turn result in improved performance. Two writers who helped advance the human relations movement were Abraham Maslow and Douglas McGregor. In 1943, Maslow advanced a theory suggesting that people are motivated by a hierarchy of needs, including monetary incentives and social acceptance. Maslow’s hierarchy is perhaps the best-known human relations theory.
Meanwhile, Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y model best represents the essence of the human relations movement. According to McGregor, Theory X and Theory Y reflect two extreme belief sets that managers have about their workers. Theory X is a relatively negative view of workers and is consistent with the views of scientific management. Theory Y is more positive and represents the assumptions that human relations advocates make. In McGregor’s view, Theory Y was a more appropriate philosophy for managers to adhere to. Both Maslow and McGregor notably influenced the thinking of many practicing managers.
Theory X Assumptions
- People do not like work and try to avoid it.
- People do not like work, so managers have to control, direct, coerce, and threaten
employees to get them to work towards organisational goals.
- People prefer to be directed, to avoid responsibility, and to want security; they have little ambition.
Theory Y Assumptions
- People do not naturally dislike work; work is a natural part of their lives.
- People are internally motivated to reach objectives to which they are committed.
- People are committed to goals to the degree that they receive personal rewards when they reach their objectives.
- People will both seek and accept responsibility under favourable conditions.
- People have the capacity to be innovative in solving organisational problems.
- People are bright, but under most organisational conditions their potentials are underutilised.
Contemporary Behavioural Science in Management
Munsterberg, Mayo, Maslow, McGregor, and others have made valuable contributions to management. Contemporary theorists, however, have noted that many assertions of the human relationists were simplistic and inadequate descriptions of work behaviour. Current behavioural perspectives on management, known as organisational behaviour, acknowledge that human behaviour in organisations is much more complex than the human relationists realised. The field of organisational behaviour draws from a broad, inter-disciplinary base of psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and medicine.
Organisational behaviour takes a holistic view of behaviour and addresses individual, group, and organisational processes. These processes are major elements in contemporary management theory. Important topics in this field include job satisfaction, stress, motivation, leadership, group dynamics, organisational politics, interpersonal conflict, and the structure and design of organisations.
Assessment of the Behavioural Perspective
The primary contributions of the behavioural perspective relate to ways in which this approach has changed managerial thinking. Managers are now more likely to recognise the importance of behavioural processes and to view employees as valuable resources instead of mere tools. On the other hand, organisational behaviour is still imprecise in its ability to predict behaviour and is not always accepted or understood by practicing managers. Hence, the contributions of the behavioural school have yet to be fully realised.
5. Strategic management and organisational goals and understanding the key concepts
One of the most vitally important aspects of the management process involves strategic management. Strategic management is the process by which an organisation develops and implements plans that espouse the goals and objectives of that organisation. The process of strategic management is a continuous one that changes as the organisational goals and objectives evolve. Small businesses engage in strategic management to ensure that they adapt to trends and external changes such as globalisation. Several key concepts characterise strategic management and the development of organisational goals. BOTI’s leadership training programs for managers, leadership training workshops and leadership management courses will introduce you to the realms of strategic management and set you on your way to understanding this vitally important management concept.
At the core of the strategic management process is the creation of goals, a mission statement, values and organisational objectives. Organisational goals, the mission statement, values and objectives guide the organisation in its pursuit of strategic opportunities. It is also through goal setting that managers make strategic decisions such as how to meet sales targets and achieve higher revenue generation. Through goal setting, organisations plan how to compete in an increasingly competitive and global business arena.
Analysis Strategy Formation
Analysis of an organisation’s strengths and weaknesses is a key concept of strategic management. Other than the internal analysis, an organisation also undertakes external analysis of factors such as emerging technology and new competition. Through internal and external analysis, the organisation creates goals and objectives that will turn weaknesses into strengths. These analyses also facilitate in strategising ways of adapting to changing technology and emerging markets.
Strategy formation is a concept that entails developing specific actions that will enable an organisation to meet its goals and objectives. Strategy formation entails using the information from the analyses, prioritising and making decisions on how to address key issues facing the organization. Additionally, through strategy formulation an organisation seeks to find ways of maximising profitability and maintaining a competitive advantage.
Strategy implementation is putting the actual strategy into practice to meet organisational goals and objectives. The idea behind this concept is to gather all the available and necessary resources required to bring the strategic plan to life. Organisations implement strategies through creating budgets, programs and policies to meet financial, management, human resources and operational goals and objectives. For the successful implementation of a strategic plan, cooperation between management and other employees is absolutely necessary.
A final concept is monitoring of the strategy once it has been implemented. Strategy monitoring entails evaluating the strategy to determine if it yields the anticipated results as espoused in the organisational goals. Here, an organisation determines what areas of the plan to measure and the methods of measuring these areas, and then compares the anticipated results with the actual ones. Through monitoring, an organisation is able to understand when and how to adjust the plan to adapt to changing trends.
6. Strategic plans and the implementation process
Effective implementation of strategic plans is essential for any organisation’s success. Among recommended procedures are getting started early and creating consensus around the goals and objectives of strategic plans.
Effective implementation of strategic plans is essential to the success of any organisation, but it is not as simple as it looks. A 2018 management research study concluded that only 20 to 30 percent of corporate strategic plans are ever completed. For smaller businesses, it may just be inexperience with seeing them through.
Getting Started Early
Broad agreement exists among leadership and management professionals that implementation needs to begin as the strategic plan is created. Getting started early does several things: It introduces implementation language and concepts into corporate life in time for both to become a familiar and well-understood.
Commitment and Consensus
Getting employees, especially key personnel, to buy into the plan – to become fully committed to it early on – is essential. The implementation process begins with communicating the plan throughout the organisation. It needs to be made clear that the plan is consistent with the organisation’s vision and general business strategy and that the plan has broad approval from the board of directors to department managers. A frequent issue with the implementation of strategic plans is that middle managers, absent some clear and timely reinforcement to the contrary, often conclude that senior management no longer cares about implementing the plan. Another issue is that only about a quarter of corporations provide meaningful incentives for meeting strategic plan benchmarks and goals.
Paying the Costs
Nearly all strategic plans come with a cost. Yet, most strategic plans are rolled out without any direct connection to budgeting. An unfunded strategic plan is only a wishlist. Implementation requires an understanding of plan costs and institutional commitment to its funding. Plans need to come with funding in place.
Relation to External Conditions
Every strategic plan is responsive to external conditions, directly or indirectly. Changes in external conditions – the economy, supply costs, labor or other issues – can make the plan’s implementation unnecessary, no longer strategic or impossible to achieve. Acknowledgment of these parameters should be built into the plan’s rollout so that everyone knows that the plan includes responses to external conditions.
Every plan has objectives, but not all plans contain enough information about achieving them. Two common deficiencies are:
- Establishment of benchmarks
- Establishment of oversight practices
Establishing benchmarks and oversight practices are closely related. Oversight confirms that benchmarks are being achieved according to schedule. The presence of monitoring activities also sends employees a message that the plan is still in place and remains important.
Building in Updates and Revisions
One way of ensuring that a strategic plan continues to be relevant is to build periodic reviews of all the plan’s essential features into the implementation of the plan: goals, benchmarks and monitoring. A plan shouldn’t be evergreen; it needs to be viewed as a contemporary document. Strategic plans work best when they are time-limited, with a major review, often with a new rollout, at least once a year.
- Here are some known issues with plan implementations:
- Lack of reinforcement of long-term goals
- Strategic plans treated as separate from daily operations
- Plans that are overwhelming and need to be pruned to be made achievable
- Insufficient progress reports: Achievement of benchmarks always needs to be noted.
- Employees not given sufficient authority to implement the plan
- Employees not given sufficient means to implement the plan
- Using one of the strategic plan conception and implementation templates available on the internet removes a lot of uncertainty and makes it easier to benchmark and monitor plan progress. Some are free in exchange for your contact information; others have either a one-time fee or a monthly charge.
To increase the effectiveness of new business ideas, you need to have efficient business implementation strategies. Formulating creative business ideas does you little good if you do not have a plan in place to properly execute them. In addition, a business’s organizational structure is strengthened when management spends time analyzing different ways to efficiently put new plans into place.
Get Staff and Management Involved
A business idea can start with any member of the staff, but getting the company to accept the implementation of a new idea requires the entire staff to be involved in some way with the planning. It is not necessary to take input from every individual, but you can get departmental managers involved in the process from the beginning, especially concerning how any major changes will affect their departments. These managers can then reach out to their staff and get the company involved in the implementation strategy, widening your scope and perspective in the process.
Invest in Training
To implement any new business idea effectively, invest in training at every phase of the process. For instance, at least 60 days prior to implementing a new business idea, training should focus on alerting your staff to the pending change then introduce how such changes will benefit the company. Continue training throughout the implementation period, and be prepared to take input from your employees as to how you can make the process smoother.
Consider Outside Factors
Implementing a new idea for your business could affect your vendors or customers. As you plan your implementation strategy, consider how any change, big or small, will affect the entities you do business with. Targeted market research of your clients and vendors can give you an indication of how your changes will affect business before you even implement them. Discuss your ideas with your largest vendors or clients to determine if you need to make any alterations to your plans.
Implementing change is easier if you allow free and open communication within your organization. Encourage employees to give their input about your proposed changes, and maintain an open communication policy throughout the implementation process.
How to create and implement a business plan
Basic guidelines for creating a business plan
1. Write an outline for your business plan. Start with broad sections, such as a company mission statement, product or service description, customer profile, competitor analysis, marketing, financial, staffing and legal concerns. Create sub-headings. For example, under marketing, you will include branding, advertising, public relations and promotions. Under advertising, you can list print, broadcast, outdoor, direct mail, social media and other forms of online marketing and any other appropriate methods. Under financial, include startup funding, cash-flow projections and the details of your budget.
2. Research each section to find expert advice on each. Include information such as how you will conduct market research or develop customer demographics. When creating your market research section, discuss what information you will need, what questions you will ask, how you will ask those questions or administer surveys and what your costs are likely to be.
3. Meet with an accountant to review your income and expense numbers, budget, record keeping and taxes. Meet with an attorney to make sure you address all permits and licenses you will need, and any health, safety or labour laws you will need to follow.
4. Create a dynamic business plan by providing several scenarios. For example, start with the current costs of goods you will need to buy to make your product or service, then add one or two more budgets based on those prices going up. For example, a restaurant might experience an increase in produce if there’s a drought or freeze, or labor, if the worker pool is seasonal, aging or leaving the area. A business plan is not static and should be a work-in-progress.
5. Write an executive summary of the plan and place it at the beginning of the document. This will give potential investors and lenders an overview of the business plan and the results you expect. The executive summary should not contain any support for your statements — save that for the body of the plan.
6. Implement the plan by starting at the beginning and executing the various steps you’ve addressed in the plan. For example, you might need to incorporate your company, trademark your name, secure business licenses and permits, open a bank account, get a post office box and perform many other tasks that get you ready to open your doors. This will include more complicated actions, such as shopping for vendors, hiring staff, developing marketing materials and creating promotions.
7. Review your business plan on a regular basis. Compare budgeted numbers to actual figures of doing business. Determine whether you can keep operating as you are, of if you need to make changes, such as reducing costs, raising prices or increasing marketing activities.