Writing a business plan can be overwhelming – not to mention time-consuming.
The SOAP plan (Strategy on a Page) is not a shortcut, but more a method of focusing on the big picture and the key and core elements for success – rather than on the details. The purpose of this blog is to talk about how you can get your team committing to the heart of your business plan – without forcing hours and hours of extra work on them.
Business planning does not have to be complex. The more focussed your planning is, the more likely you will be to realise your goals.
More than anything, your job as the business owner is to make sure the figurative goal posts are fully illuminated, that measurements or checkpoints for milestone achievements are in place, and that a clear and specific set of behavioral rules is understood. This will ensure company values are adhered to on the journey to success.
If the team achieve your goals in the timeframe you wanted them to – and their behaviour in doing so is in keeping with your business values and ethics, you don’t need to micro manage every detail on the how, and you are free to focus on the big picture.
So what do you need to include in your SOAP plan?
Most importantly – you need everyone on the team to be pulling in the same direction – the WHAT is really important – what are we trying to achieve, why do we exist – what is our over-riding PURPOSE or BIG PICTURE GOAL.
Next is the WHY – WHY are we doing this – what drives us to have this purpose.
Thirdly – your ‘FOR WHOM ARE WE DOING THIS‘ statement – identifying and profiling to a very high level of detail your target audience, what motivates them, what pain are they experiencing and how you may be of service to them – these are the key insights you need to build your strategy & communications plan.
In identifying all of these core factors, you will understand your own goals from a non-clinical perspective and will focus on underlying emotional drivers. Those are what will deliver actions.
You will find your value proposition and statement of purpose fall quite naturally from these top-level strategy points, that your target audience is firmly crystalised not only in terms of who they are but in how they behave and why they need you.
In doing strategic planning in this manner, you give your team extremely clear and meaningful insight and direction on the way in which you want them to move forward.
Interestingly, in providing this very top-most line of the strategic direction, your team will be drawn into a much deeper level of discussion and can collaborate much more fully without your overseeing, micromanaging or doing all the planning work for them.
Once again, here are the fundamental inclusions in your SOAP – Strategy on a Page
1. What is our PURPOSE – why do we exist. This is an internal facing statement
2. What VALUE do we uniquely provide
3. WHOM specifically do you serve/provide value to
4. How will we know when we are winning – Identify time-bound progress GOALS