The importance of strategic business planning

Last Friday (7 February) saw over 35 businesses gather at the Worcestershire Cricket Ground to discuss the importance of Strategic Business Planning and also the results of the latest Quarterly Economic Survey.

The general message from attendees was that Businesses have been frustrated about the continued uncertainty in the last few years which has made it difficult to plan. But the uncertainty also provides a perfect opportunity for people to revisit their business plan.

In the most recent Quarterly Economic Survey (Q4 2019) it was revealed that 50% of businesses surveyed did not have a formal written business plan which rose to 60% of SME’s, and only 10% of companies have engaged with their staff on planning. The effect of this means that those people necessary to deliver the plan, are at risk of working blind and 90% of businesses are missing a key opportunity to engage their teams positively.

The event also welcomed Chris Walklett, Partner at Bishop Fleming, who advised four key steps for a company to address when creating a business plan:

  1. Vision – What is the company trying to achieve
  2. Objectives – Defining what the vision means in measurable goals
  3. Controllables – The strategy that will help you achieve your objectives based on what you can control
  4. Behaviours and values – engage your people in the company’s business plan and they will embody the behaviours and values that will result in success.

Businesses also took part in roundtable discussions into what has worked well in their business planning and what challenges that have been faced with. The key themes were: importance of engaging people and thinking about how they work together, the importance of trust, how people’s changing needs (flexible working etc) can be matched to business success.

Dale Parmenter, CEO, DRP Group, said: “Engaging people is one of the key actions needed for a successful business. If people feel they belong, are trusted, listened to and able to have fun they will give their best to the company.”

Communication is the key to keeping people engaged including trusting staff with open, honest messages. Communicating and getting people involved with the vision and purpose of the company will reap rewards. This is particularly important as more millennials join the workforce as purpose and vision are more important to them than monetary reward or recognition. By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials.”

Feedback from attendees was extremely positive and the chance to share ideas with other businesses in attendance was proved extremely useful.

If you would like more information on strategic business planning or the latest QES Q4 2019, please contact our Policy team by phone 01905 673615 or email