Climbing, achieving, pinnaclesA 5 minute read

Executing Business Plans – The Importance of Getting the Basics Right 

It never ceases to amaze me that achievement in business often has its roots in business basics – these basis can easily be overlooked when faced with the day to day pressures of running a business. Having the vision is one element as success can only follow if the plan can be implemented effectively.

It is a recognition that drives elements of the Business Plan adopted within Hillyer McKeown and encourages the Management Team to consistently evaluate whether the Firm’s primary management practices are fit for purpose. These same management practices are reflected in the way in which we run our Business Consultancy – in particular HM War Room sessions in which key business decision makers evaluate their plans.

This article is the first in a series which looks at practical tips for business growth, success and expansion.

3 pillars of management practice

The primary management practices of strategy, structure, and employee engagement represent the fundamentals of business practice. They set the foundations from which to develop a business that is capable of executing its plan.

Sadly it is very difficult to generate the deft touch needed to excel in these practices and inevitably there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Crucially those businesses that are good at developing these practices do two things: they hold the importance of them dearly and they regularly review their performance. When reviewing businesses that have impressed me through my career it has been easy to recognise the hallmarks of an effective strategy, a robust structure and an engaged workforce.

These three pillars support an almost effortless ability to implement business plans.

Defining your business strategy

Whatever your strategy, whether it is low prices or innovative products, it will work only if it is sharply defined, clearly communicated, and well understood by employees, customers, partners, and investors.

5 key building blocks for strategy

  1. Build a strategy around a clear value proposition for the customer.
  2. Develop strategy from the outside in, based on what your customers, partners, and investors have to say — and how they behave — not on gut feel, opinion or instinct.
  3. Continually fine-tune your strategy based on changes in the marketplace — for example, a new technology, a social trend, a government regulation, or a competitor’s product development.
  4. Clearly communicate your strategy within your business, to customers and other external stakeholders.
  5. Having defined your strategy — keep focused on your business goals.

Setting the structure to improve success

Managers spend hours agonising over how to structure their organisations (by product, geography, customer, and so on). What really counts is whether structure reduces bureaucracy and simplifies work, resulting in a more successful outcome.

4 steps to setting the structure

  1. Simplify. Make your organisation easy to work in and work with.
  2. Promote cooperation and the exchange of information across the whole company.
  3. Put your best people closest to the action.
  4. Establish systems for the seamless sharing of knowledge.
  5. What does success look like – regular reviews can help identify when your business (and individuals) reaches and surpasses key goals.

Building an inspiring and productive working culture
It is often argued that if you can make the work fun, all else will follow. There is much to be said for that but the culture at work absolutely must also encourage and help attain the highest expectations. Setting challenging but achievable targets throughout the business matters a lot more.

7 elements which can build a positive culture

  1. Inspire all managers and employees to do their best.
  2. Empower employees and managers to make independent decisions and to find ways to improve operations – including their own.
  3. Reward achievement with pay based on performance, but keep raising the performance bar.
  4. Pay psychological rewards in addition to financial ones.
  5. Create a challenging, satisfying work environment.
  6. Establish and abide by clear company values.
  7. Consider regularly measuring employee satisfaction through an anonymous survey which helps to show incremental changes.

A concentration on each of the above will facilitate an ability to develop and maintain flawless operational execution. You might not always delight your stakeholders, but make sure never to disappoint them!

Setting out a clear business plan which includes these business basics is a strong foundation for growth. The three pillars described above have been successfully tried and tested with clients who have experienced a session in the HM War Room, and are being implemented within Hillyer McKeown.

As mentioned, there is no one-size- fits-all solution and businesses which plan, have a clear structure and promote a positive working environment are most likely to experience success.

More information

If you would like an informal discussion about your business plan or booking a session in the HM War Room, please contact Steve Harvey or call Steve on 07801 313617.


The next article in this series looks at corporate culture and why it is important for the success of your business.