It’s often said that most business plans don’t survive the first contact with the enemy. Industries and events can be unpredictable and difficult to forecast. But it doesn’t mean you cannot plan. It just means that you need to have a planning framework that encompasses and allows for this uncertainty. Business Planning Workshops run by one of our excellent facilitators can help you handle complexity and uncertainty.
We help your organisation to waste less time on the dull paperchase that constitutes most business planning rounds. We stimulate fresh, courageous thinking. We help you face into uncomfortable challenges to find the best way to meet them.
An organisation has to work in synchronicity. Not doing so is like running a blindfold 10 legg-ed race with no clear direction to the finishing line. You will pull against rather than with each other. A Business Planning Workshop will help you agree priorities, co-ordinate actions and synchronise your efforts.
Content of a Business Planning Workshop
Every Business Planning Workshop is unique. We start each assignment with fresh eyes and a fresh head. We don’t have a formula or a ready-made but we do have flexible components and methods – it speeds things up and keeps costs down.
Here are some of the things we typically create in a Business Planning Workshop
Identification of Key Drivers in your market
Competitor evaluation and strategic strength/direction assessment
Definition of future customers and their priority needs
Evaluation of performance of each function of the business and priority developments
Identification of the role and objectives for each of three main marketing strategies
Development of new revenue stream opportunities
Prioritisation of improvements to the customer journey and operating model
Growth forecast assumptions and initial estimates
Cost and investment allocation decisions in principle
Ahead of any conversation, we send a Briefing Topic Guide. This gives our customer the chance to think about useful information prior to a conversation. If possible, face to face meetings give the chance to connect and explore.
There are often a multiplicity of objectives from a variety of quarters. We spend time finding out what each of the major customers for the event expect as a minimum and what they would really love to achieve.
High achievers are quick on the uptake. They can get bored easily. Events need to be designed to provide an appropriate variety of engagement methods. Some of the “tricks” of the facilitator are to help groups to get to the point quickly. Want to prioritise growth projects? Give the participants monopoly money to “place their bets” on their favoured options as a shortcut to a lot of conversation. Want to reduce a complex, well-rehearsed argument where participants are stuck? We always think of fun and engaging ways to get to the heart of the matter with honesty and rigour.
Meeting time is valuable. Let’s not waste it consuming information that could easily be circulated before the event. So, very often, we prepare reading packs. These can consist of your internal materials such as divisional reports, market analyses, presentations, financials. They also often include stimulus materials.
For instance, if we know that the group wants to work on improving the customer experience, three or four carefully selected articles or chapters will be provided. Equally, if we are going to use a framework (e.g. Business Model Canvas, Boston Consulting Group Matrix) during one of the practical sessions, providing examples of these in action can be really helpful. Our emails in advance invoke curiosity and remind people to look at the materials.
If at all possible, we like to consult with all members of the group. It builds ownership of the event and makes sure we don’t suffer from excessive filtering or editing that comes from taking a briefing from only once source. More importantly, we discover lots of perspectives and ideas. If there is any difference of view about what the most important topics for the event, we can bottom it out here. Very often, it helps to feedback participants’ views at the beginning of an event. It demonstrates the diversity and the convergence of thinking. The consultation process is excellent at throwing up the key planning dilemmas we must resolve.
We can help you find a venue suitable for the event and your budget. We love relaxed and quirky venues. When commissioned, we provide you with a venue briefing sheet to make sure everything is in place for success.
We don’t do the normal dull talking head presentations. We get active around tasks and questions. There are frequent brainstorm breakouts for small splinter groups to work intensively and quickly on one or more aspect of the plan. There are opportunites for teams to share and talk to others about the kinds of improvements they want to make, new initiatives. There are plenary sessions where we discuss the major cross-functional questions.
As facilitators, our role is to create a vibrant atmosphere and focus the group and individuals into the tasks with optimism and rigour. We ask the tough questions in ways that lead to new insights. We help you make decisions. We help you be more of what you need to be … more practical, more ambitious, more creative, more evidenced, more … Our job is to make the day or days you spend together the most exhilarating and productive they can be.