Internal business plans are essential for the success of any business. An internal business plan is similar to an external business plan in its overall structure. However, external business plans are designed to secure funding for a business and are presented to banks, investors, and other lending institutions. They contain high levels of detail about financial projections, customer demographics, growth strategies, and much more.
Internal business plans touch on many of the same points, but all the number crunching isn’t totally necessary. Your company’s internal business plan should be structured more as a reference document for employees. It’s different from an employee handbook because it’s not a procedural manual on work expectations.
An internal business plan is more of a guide on how the company will work together to achieve its goals. Your internal business plan should be an iterative document, meaning it changes and evolves as your company grows. It’s crucial to revisit these types of business plans frequently to ensure that it’s living up to its design. If not, changes must either be made to the internal business plan itself or the goals it’s trying to help achieve must be adjusted to become more attainable.
Internal Business plans can have dozens of sections covering whatever topics you feel are vital for your company. However, here are some areas that are commonly covered in almost every internal business plan.
Mission and Vision Statements
Mission and vision statements are found in both external and internal business plans and many other company documents. The vision statement is the ultimate reason you have a business, and the mission statement is the actionable strategy it takes to be successful.
Specific and Attainable Goals
Business productivity can be measured by evaluating the goals outlined in your internal business plan. These goals should be clear, measurable, and broken down into different business segments. For example, what are your long-term marketing goals, and what are the short-term benchmarks your company must reach to achieve them? This is a prime example of why you must revisit internal business plans regularly. Each set of goals for every business segment should execute your mission and vision statements.
The strategies portion of your internal business plan lists out a specific method to achieve the goals mentioned above and benchmarks. You should formulate customized strategies for every business segment. Although some goals may be the same, no two segment’s methods should be the same. For instance, your company’s sales strategy will not be the same as your customer service department. However, they may share goals like “a streamlined and overall enjoyable customer experience.”
Systems and Processes
The systems and processes section of your internal business plan supports both the business goals and the strategy. Suppose you have hard-lined expectations of your leadership or other employees. It should be specified here. You could, for example, clarify that employee reviews by management will take place bi-annually.
This section can also list every role at the company and its scope of work. Internal operating systems and how departments should interact should also be made clear in this section. Much of this information would also be found in an employee handbook, but you can explain why a system or process exists in the internal business plan.
You can create many different business plans for your business, but an internal business plan is a cornerstone for how your company operates. Your internal business plan is a living document and should be reviewed regularly to ensure your company stays true to its original purpose. It’s essential to ensuring that things within the business stay consistent.
Suppose you find that your business isn’t living up to its goals in the internal plan. In that case, it’s better to examine why it’s not performing and try to fix that instead of drastically altering the original plan. It should be a barometer of success, and if you constantly change the plan, you have no standards to go by.
Factors such as changes in ownership, external market factors, and other business mergers or partnerships can be reasons for altering an internal business plan. However, the most successful companies always try to keep their initial vision and mission statements intact.
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