I like to think of defining flesh and bones as setting the steps. You have a strategy, you’ve got the heart of your business settled, but you want to set it down into concrete steps you can follow and track.

To follow up on a plan and turn it into effective management, you have to have specifics that you can track and manage. This turns a plan into a planning process, and it makes for management. This chapter deals with the specific steps you can take to make things happen. Remember:

Good business planning is nine parts implementation for every one part strategy.

So here’s what’s in this chapter.

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Action Plan: What’s Going to Happen? When? It centers on the milestones table, a simple specific plan for what’s supposed to happen, with start dates and end dates and responsibility assignments.It also includes the following taks:

Basic Business Numbers Don’t miss the opportunity to manage your business by running plan vs. actual analysis on some key numbers. It’s not necessarily the whole big (scary to some) financial forecast, but

  • you should have a sales forecast — that’s really central to tracking progress;
  • you should probably also manage an expense budget — it’s something else you can track to improve management;
  • if and only if you’re starting a business, then you want to have startup costs figured out; and
  • whatever else you’re doing, you should be aware of the cash traps.
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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.