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Home / News & Opportunities / Blog / October 2016 / SHARON SMITH – BUILDING A BUSINESS PLAN

Date: 03/10/2016

I can’t quite believe it’s been nine months since my last blog! I’m pleased to say that this year has been one of great joy for me personally – I got married in April 2016 and am now Mrs Smith! 

Great news too for the Chamber and all its staff, as we celebrate receiving the Gold status Investors In People award.

As Autumn begins, I am starting a new business planning cycle - this year we will be updating our three year plan, looking ahead to 2020.

A great plan can include a number of different elements and organisations will approach the preparation in many and varied ways. For this blog I thought I would share with you some of the key components of the Chamber’s business plan:

1.    Vision and Mission - The vision is an inspirational, aspirational statement for the organisation. The mission statement sets out the organisation’s core purpose – defining why the business exists and how its purpose will be achieved.
2.    SWOT - (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental). These are well known business planning tools that can be used as part  of a strategic management framework to evaluate internal and external environments.
3.    Strategic Objectives - These are the fundamental building blocks of a strategic plan. They are long term and will align to the vision and mission.
4.    Goals - The business goals will be determined from the strategic objectives. They will always follow the SMART criteria – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound.
5.    Culture - One of the most famous descriptions of culture is from the McKinsey organisation – “how we do things around here”. Morgan (1986) defines culture as a “shared meaning, a shared understanding”. Company culture is hugely important as a way of managing and integrating all members of an organisation.
6.    Value proposition - This will be a new piece of work for the Chamber in this plan. We have previously done a lot of work around our direction and strategies, but with a changing environment, there is now widely more emphasis on value and relevance to customers. This year, we will be using the Business Canvas Model tool to work on our value proposition.

The Chamber’s business plan is written in consultation with its Board, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Area Councils and the internal Management teams and staff. Following planning sessions on the six elements above, each team will also work on their own service delivery or corporate area of the plan, delving down into detail on the team strategies and annual goals. Finally, the plan is finished off with a full budget for the three year period.

Once approved by our Board, our business plan is used as a performance management tool. Managers set annual, individual objectives based on the business plan goals and we also use the goals to manage our performance, both financially and non-financially.

I hope this is of interest to you, and look forward to seeing you soon – perhaps at the Expo on Thursday 6 October?

All the best


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Sharon Smith

Chief Executive

Sharon began her career working in the manufacturing sector in her hometown of Hereford, before moving to work for Business Link and the Chamber in both Herefordshire and Worcestershire.  Sharon's background is primarily finance and corporate service management, including HR & IT.  At the Chamber she is responsible for the management of all commercial contracts and business performance management.  In 2009 Sharon gained an MBA from the University of Worcester and was appointed the Chamber Deputy CEO in early 2014.

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