Do you own a business that is growing fast? Good for you!
But how do you deal with managing different departments? Do you know how to write a compelling development plan for each separate department?
If it sounds like a challenging task for you, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered in this article.
Here you will find a few tips on how to boost your efforts and create department strategic plans that benefit your business a lot.
Define your business goals
As a business owner, you know that to achieve success, you should set goals first, and develop strategy second. So before you start writing development plans for your departments, you should define what results you want to achieve.
Your goals must be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. For instance, if you want to earn more money, your goal may sound like this: “To increase profit after tax (PAT) by 15% till the end of 2020.”
Set department-specific goals
Once you know your business goals, you can analyze the situation in detail and find out how different departments can contribute to these goals.
For instance, if your business goal is to increase PAT by 15%, you may establish such department-specific goals:
- Operations department. Reduce operational costs by 7%
- Purchase department. Reduce supply cost of X and Y materials by 5%
- Sales department. Increase sales of Z product by 10%
Analyze external factors that impact your business
Your business does not exist in a vacuum. So if you want to succeed, you should analyze external factors that affect your business, and then adjust your department plan accordingly.
What is the structure of the industry you work in? What current trends are shaping the industry? Have any paradigm shifts happened recently?
To achieve high results, you should clearly understand where your industry is heading.
Let’s imagine that you work in the insurance industry. You know that AI and big data have a strong impact on the future of insurance. You should set a goal for your IT department to implement AI solutions and to make sure that your company keeps up with new developments.
Current strategies of your competitors
What market positions do your key competitors have? What marketing strategies do they currently use?
It’s important to define the strengths and weaknesses of other companies to understand how you can beat the competition.
Let’s say you know that your competitor runs a highly effective marketing campaign on social media. What should you do in this situation? You should set a goal for your marketing department to design a campaign that will work even better.
Preference of your target audience
Who are your customers? What needs and preferences do they have? What expectations do they have toward your products?
You should test and analyze current consumer preferences to create an ideal product.
Imagine that you sell soap in single-use plastic packaging. You see that the preferences of modern customers are changing and that customers start choosing products in plastic-free, easy to recycle packaging. As a business owner, you should assign your research and development department with the task to design new eco-friendly packaging for your product.
Analyze internal factors that impact your business
The next step you should take is to examine your own company in general and every department in particular. You should answer the questions:
- What are the core competencies and capabilities of each department?
- What are the weaknesses and strengths of each department?
- What are the opportunities and threats that your departments currently face?
- Is there a strong leader in every department?
“As a business owner, you should have a clear picture of what challenges your employees face and how effectively every department works. It will help you to write a perfect development plan and achieve the goals set,” says Avery Stinger, the CEO of Studicus.
Determine areas of focus for each department
After that, you should establish the main categories of initiatives on which every department will focus. It will let employees clearly understand who is responsible for what. Here are a few examples of categories you can use:
- Products or services
- Tools and technology
- Advertising and promotions
- Distribution channels
- Employee training and development
- Business intelligence
Brainstorm initiatives with heads of departments
In fact, you are not the only person in your company responsible for creating strategies for different departments. Heads of departments and team leads should also contribute to plan development.
You should run a brainstorming session, and listen to suggestions that your employees have. Don’t interrupt anyone, and don’t try to impose your opinion. Heads of departments know their work well, and you should respect what they say.
Develop KPIs for each department
With the help of key performance indicators (KPIs), you will be able to track the results and measure progress towards the goals set.
Since every department performs different functions and works towards achieving different objectives, you should develop separate KPIs for every department.
For instance, you can use the total cost of customer acquisition, ad click-through ratio, and brand awareness percentage as KPIs for the marketing department. And you can use accounts payable turnover, cash dividends paid, and cycle time to process payroll as KPIs for the finance department.
Create a draft
Once you have analyzed the situation in detail and determined all initiatives, you can move to the next step. You can assign an owner to each initiative, set deadlines, and define the resources necessary.
Yep, it’s important to ensure that your employees have all the tools and materials necessary to achieve the goals set. For instance, if you want marketers to deliver better results, you should provide them with adequate marketing software.
Show your draft to the heads of different departments and ask their opinion. Review and edit your draft if necessary.
And once everything is ready, you can create a final copy of the development plan for each department.
If you want to write a perfect development plan, don’t rush. It’s impossible to develop a good strategy in an hour.
Take your time to think about what business goals you want to accomplish and how each department can contribute to these goals. Remember that, as a business owner, you should coordinate the work of different departments. You should create a strategic plan that will improve cross-departmental communication and lead your company to success. Apply the tips given in this article, and you will find your way to success.