Introduction to "business planning in practice"

Written by
Hannah Gullander
Reading time
1 min

Business planning is something that all organisations need to do, regardless of their size, sector or stakeholders. Perhaps not surprisingly, if an organisation seeks to achieve its objectives, planning is absolutely essential. Planning is also a good method for prioritising existing and future ambitions and for structuring the everyday work of employees. Let’s have a look at how business planning works in practice.

Why carry out business planning?

When carried out well, business planning helps create a clear focus within an organization.  This, in turn, increases understanding of an organization’s vision and builds a better foundation for achieving set objectives and delivering anticipated results.

How it typically works in practice

When your organization’s various departments and teams begin to get involved in business planning, varying methods for processing and presenting information will begin to emerge (each unit will have its own). One department chooses to plan in Word, another in Excel and a third takes care of planning using a template they developed themselves.  Sound familiar? Various planning documents begin to circulate in the organization and you discover at the next meeting that the common thread in the planning process has been lost altogether. Furthermore, the objectives and vision have vanished into thin air.

What not to do

When each of the individual teams work “in their own way” there is an imminent risk that the number of objectives will proliferate. And if they are not connected to the organization’s overall aim, the number of parallel objectives in your organization can multiply rapidly. The focus on business planning disappears and there is no clear break-down of goals. This makes it difficult to create a sense of unity in the organization, and it becomes problematic to establish shared planning objectives among employees because they are working toward their own objectives instead. 

The benefits of having one system rather than several

Since the planning process is carried out in different ways and in different templates throughout your organization means that consolidating planning and documentation is very time-consuming.  Perhaps you’ve come across this yourself? As a result it’s more difficult to allocate responsibilities to individual employees.    

How Aleris took control of its business planning 

In other words, business planning in practice is easier said than done. But before we move on, let’s summarise some of the most common mistakes.

The most common mistakes

  • Several different processes (planning methodologies)
  • Different templates, typefaces and software (Word, Excel, PPT and Outlook)
  • Too many parallel objectives
  • Consolidation takes too long